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4 Comments

  1. Patricia B.
    August 6, 2014 @ 6:28 pm

    Hmmm… it says here that you posted this on April 11 and I just got it on my facebook page.
    Nevertheless, I think that in this culture we have a tendency to take things way too far. Bigger and faster are not necessarily better, and taking something to the “umph” degree can be harmful.
    I did engage in positivism for a while, but then reality (like gravity) asserted itself. Lessons learned, could have been worse.
    The key word here, in my opinion, is “discernment”. I like the “useful beliefs” concept that Alan postulates, and your “helpful and appropriate”.
    I am grateful for therapists like the two of you who can help us get clarity so we can exercise discernment.

    Reply

    • Patricia Morgan
      August 6, 2014 @ 9:35 pm

      Hi Patricia,
      Your Facebook page is working just fine. Periodically I place a link to an old article/blog.. . and I am glad I did as you have now added some value to this blog. Thank you for sharing, for your comments and adding the idea of exercising discernment to our decision making.

      Reply

  2. Alan Allard
    April 10, 2014 @ 9:57 pm

    Hi Patricia,

    You raise some good points.

    As a former psychotherapist and the author of Seven Secrets to Enlightened Happiness, I think this is an important discussion. I also think that whatever our understanding of “positive thinking” is,how we define it, will determine what conclusions we draw about “positive thinking.”

    I never used the term “positive thinking,” in my psychotherapy work and don’t use it now in my coaching or consulting work. Why? Because I never know what meaning someone attaches to those words.

    In my book, I talk about the wisdom of being honest with ourselves, not only about our circumstances, but also how we feel about them in the moment. There is nothing healthy about pretending that everything is great, when clearly it isn’t.

    I have worked with many women and men who were sexually abused–and I never said to a client, “You need to be more positive. ” However, I did help my clients to make shifts in how they viewed themselves, their past and their future.

    I am for having “useful” beliefs–beliefs and thinking that will help us deal with challenges and even tragedies and beliefs that enable us to create a life we want to wake up each morning to live.

    Reply

    • Patricia Morgan
      April 11, 2014 @ 12:12 am

      Welcome Alan,

      Thank you for taking the time to acknowledge my thoughts and adding your comments.

      In particular I like the concept of encouraging those who might be struggling to consider if their beliefs are useful or not. For years I encouraged parents to consider their children’s behaviours as not good nor bad . . . but to use words such useful, helpful and appropriate.

      I too have provided therapeutic support for men and women survivors of sexual (plus emotional and physical) abuse. To put a positivity spin on their experiences would have been a violation of decency, professionalism and human respect. Yet, I believe I have used and still do use, a form of positive thinking. Regardless the client’s story, in my head, I affirm, “You are lovable and deserving”. That thought supports me being in the present moment, not taking on the pain, deepens the feeling of compassion along with keeping open hope for the possibility of client healing.

      Please accept my appreciation, Alan, for this meaningful dialogue!

      Reply

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