NYC Therapist News: How to Stop Whining in Therapy- A move to Tough Love

NYC Therapist News is a series that brings you interesting news related to NYC Therapists or stories onlineNYC Therapist news: Whining in therapy pic Whining, as defined by experts—the therapists, spouses, co-workers and others who have to listen to it—is chronic complaining, a pattern of negative communication. It brings down the mood of everyone within earshot. It can hold whiners back at work and keep them stuck in a problem, rather than working to identify a solution. It can be toxic to relationships. (Full Article)

There are lots of therapists who will gladly let you come to their office one (or 3- I’m looking at you, psychoanalysts) times a week to “blow off steam”. The thing is, simply talking about every negative thing that has ever happened to you just keeps you stuck in that negative thinking. As a licensed mental health counselor and marriage and family therapist, I use evidence-based work with my clients to help them recognize how disturbed thinking leads to disturbed moods and behaviors, a type of therapy pioneered by the late Albert Ellis, called REBT or Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy. I think this style of therapy would probably qualify as “tough love”, although like the philosophy of Zen Buddhism, is infinitely compassionate. That means that yeah, as people, we have a tendency to whine when we put conditions on how we have to be (perfect abs), on others have to be (loving us and treating us exactly how we want to be treated…or else) and on how the universe has to treat us (making millions of bucks and reading the WSJ). But the good news is that unlike 12 step, religion, psychoanalysis, et al, you don’t have to rely on some magical “cure” to your issues. There’s no cure. There is recognizing how we largely upset ourselves, and we can probably learn (through a lot of practice) to un-upset ourselves. So a therapist who is going to say “Uh huh, and how does that make you feel?” or “Uh huh, and how was your relationship with your mother”, run the other way. But a therapist who is going to help you put you back in your driver’s seat through active work in the therapy room (and hopefully in a non-judgmental and humorous way) to help you identify faulty thinking and challenge it to replace it with something more rational and less self-defeating will have you in and out of therapy before you can say Freud. Dr. Michael DeMarco

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