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Critical Inner Voice

We all are probably familiar with that critical inner voice that tells us that “we’re not good enough, we don’t measure up to others, or we will never succeed”.  We all have these negative thoughts about our self to some degree. Some of us more so than others.

Negative thoughts about self or our critical inner voice generally starts when a person is a child who is developing Emotional Defenses, or self coping skills to use when feeling hurt or frustrated. A way to cut off the emotional pain of feeling neglected abandoned, smothered or helpless.
For example, a child needs their parents  or caretaker for their survival. Therefore the parent cannot be in-perfect in the child’s mind or the parent will not be able to care for the child. So the child may blame them selves for a lack of their needs being met, i.e. ” I’m too needy or clingy, I’m just not smart enough “.

Or sometimes the shaming, blaming, mean spirited, inner critic is a direct  result of a parent who voiced blaming and shaming comments to a child, such as “your worthless, you’re no good, you’ll never amount to anything  you certainly didn’t get the smarts in the family”. Or fill in the blank with whatever message has become your self- defeating montra.
 This inner-critic whatever its origin, can be diminished, and evolve into a self-care guide.

The therapeutic approaches that I use in my therapy practice to identify, accept and transform these self-defeating messages range from CBT, Mindfulness, and EFT or “tapping “.
CBT for example, uses a technique called ” self- distancing ” that replaces the first-person pronoun I with a non-first-person pronoun such as you or he/she, they, when talking to themselves. We would most likely not talk to someone else the way our inner-critic talks to self.  This helps to distance or detach one self from  the emotional response of shame. 

One mindfulness technique that can be used is to imagine oneself as talking to an image of themself as a child, say at age 5.  This would be part of a meditation. The idea being we would not like to be talked to like this as a child nor would we want to treat a child like this.  With mindfulness or meditation we are able to get a fuller picture or image of the impact this behavior can have on us. The harmful, hurtful feelings it can evoke.
EFT ( Emotional Freedom Technique), uses a combination of exposure therapy and energy therapy. Exposure therapy exposes the problem. It states what the promlem is. For example:  speaking the problem out loud, ” I think I am unwanted  or I am unwanted ” and combines this approach with energy healing or ” Tapping “.After the intensity starts to diminish,  a turnaround statement is used to incorporate self-love, self-care, while continuing to tap on pressure points of the bodies energy field or meridians. 

And last but not least is Humor Therapy!  We can create a name for this inner critic such as “The Punisher or Droopy Dog”. And every time the inner critic comes up we can imagine what this character looks like and address it by its name i.e,  Hey Droopy Dog come to spread the joy again?  
Sometimes laughter can be the greatest relief from negative thoughts or feelings. 

So if you find yourself plagued  by critical  Inner thoughts or a negative self-image call, text or email me to make an  appointment.

Thank you,  Dana Massi  LMHC, LADAC
Licensed Mental Health Counselor
Licensed Alcohol and Drug Addiction Counselor

Contact:  (508) 353-8901 dmassi9@comcast.net