Posts tagged with ‘psychotherapy’

02 aug

When Negative = Positive

MaricleHow Negative Thoughts Can Lead to Success

You wish you could make a change, but feel stuck. How do you move forward? One way is to tune into your doubts and negative thoughts. We don’t do this very often. Most of us get stuck in a cycle of criticism, “What an idiot. I did it again,” or we make excuses: “I’m just not that kind of person.” Periodically that inner voice that believes in us might speak up and say, “Wow, you could do that!” but once we hear that inner doubt, we get discouraged, and give up.

Rather than begrudging these negative thoughts, why not invite them to say more? Find out what’s driving all this negativity. When you say you “meant to eat better,” one part of you is on board, but another is not. (Hence the empty box of donut holes on your desk.) So what do those negative thoughts have to say?

Write it out:
Sit down with paper and pen (or computer if that’s your style). To get yourself internally focused and centered, close your eyes, take a few moments to breathe deeply, and focus on your breath.

1. In one sentence, write down the change you want to make. If there were no boundaries, and anything was possible, what would you do?
2. Now write down all the negative thoughts that come up in response to that idea on the left side of your paper. (i.e. You don’t have time. You won’t do a good job. You aren’t attractive enough.)
3. On the right side of your paper: Each statement conveys a belief about yourself and the world? What is it? Can you challenge these beliefs?
4. Looking at the right column, do you see any valid roadblocks? How can you address them? Start brainstorming and researching how others do it.
5. If you have concluded that the negative voice is just speaking out of fear of failure, rejection, or not being good enough: What would it look like if you asked this part to take a back seat and let the positive part(s) take action?

How I Used Negativity to My Advantage
For years I had fantasized about having a private therapy practice – a large art studio where folks could come to explore the contents of their hearts with humor and grace. However, as someone who thrived working as part of a team, I was anxious about a solo practice. I vacillated between visions of feeling fulfilled, independent, and effective with clients, and seeing myself feeling dazed and overwhelmed. This was my problem: part of me saw myself as the “type of person” to have a private practice, and part of me did not.

When I began to entertain the idea of starting my own business, I knew that in order to move forward, I needed to explore my doubts and negative thoughts. Using the questions above, I defined some key roadblocks and came up with creative ways to clear the path to success.

I realized that feeling “alone” was my biggest concern. A key part of my research into building a private practice was identifying how to build contact with other professionals. I joined two local clubs, subscribed to professional blogs, signed up for weekly clinical supervision, set up regular peer supervision meetings, and began inviting other professionals to networking lunches. I have been surprised by how satisfying all this is, and how much I enjoy the time I am working “alone.” Without having tuned into those negative voices, I would not have cleared these obstacles and would never have had the courage to pursue my dream.

Have you surprised yourself recently by reaching a goal you never thought you would? Has tuning into a doubting voice helped you get un-stuck? Tell us about it in the comments section.

Amy Johnson Maricle, LMHC, ATR-BC is a psychotherapist and art therapist in Foxboro, MA. She loves helping teens and adults find ways to live happier, healthier, and smarter. You can find out more at:

DISCLAIMER: This information is not a substitute for professional psychological advice, diagnosis, or treatment. All content provided by Maricle Counseling and Amy Maricle, LMHC, ATR-BC is intended for general information purposes only. Never disregard professional medical or psychological advice or delay seeking treatment because of something you read here.

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Posted by Amy Maricle on August 2nd, 2013 in New Directions | No comments Read related posts in , , ,