Archive of ‘Support’ category

Dispelling Some Myths about Introversion

By: Jill Baumgarner, Pre-Graduate Intern Supervised by Kirby Sandlin, LPC, LMFT

By: Jill Baumgarner, Pre-Graduate Intern
Supervised by Kirby Sandlin, LPC, LMFT

The introverted part of me was something that took me a while to understand. We live in a society that praises and encourages extroverted characteristics; they feel ‘normal’ and we understand them better. I didn’t know why I would feel so exhausted after being social for a few hours. I always needed a “weekend from my weekend”, so to speak. There were times when I would think, “Is there something wrong with me? Why am I not as excited as others to attend large social gatherings?” After doing some research and reading Susan Cain’s work “Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking” and Sophia Dembling’s “The Introvert’s Way: Living a Quiet Life in a Noisy World”, I began to dispel some of the negative things I felt about myself due to my introverted characteristics. Therefore, I would like to share with you a few things I took away from these articles to help you understand your introverted self or loved one a little better.

First, not all introverts are shy and not all shy people are introverts. Shyness is a quality stemming from discomfort and anxiety in social interactions whereas introversion is more about recharging and gaining energy through alone time. This seems to be the number one misunderstanding about introverts.

Second, it’s a common myth that introverts don’t like to be around others. Introversion is not the same thing as misanthropy; introverts just enjoy social interaction in a different way. They may enjoy observations of social situations rather than participation or one-on- one conversation. Quality seems to be more important than quantity for introverts.

Third, it’s a misconception that introverts don’t make good leaders or public speakers. Research has shown that introverts enjoy and excel in roles that involve leading others, speaking publicly and being in the spotlight.

Fourth, some may think that being introverted means that you have a more negative personality. This is usually perceived because introverts actually like being alone. Extroverts, when having spent too much time alone, may feel isolated or depressed and may falsely assume that anyone who spends a lot of time alone must feel that way too. “Different strokes for different folks”.

Fifth, it’s untrue that introverts are more intellectual or creative than extroverts. Again being introverted or extroverted has more to do with how you regain your energy. As Dembling says, “Creativity occurs in an introverted space but that doesn’t mean we’ve cornered the market on it”.

Finally, although you may think the opposite, it’s actually not easy to tell whether someone is introverted or extroverted. Being introverted doesn’t mean that you cannot walk up to everyone at a cocktail party and strike up a conversation, it just means that they will be looking forward to spending some alone time later to re-energize after the night’s events.

I would like to conclude my post to you with a very helpful quote I got from Dembling’s article:

“The description that introverts seem to relate most strongly to is the idea that Jung presented, that introverts are drained of energy by interaction, and gain energy in solitude and quiet, whereas extroverts gain energy in social situations with interaction. It seems to be most strongly an energy thing –- where you get your energy and what takes it out of you.”

 


Public Perception of Counseling and Its Meaning in Society

By: Angelica Beker, LPC-Intern Supervised by Lora Ferguson, LPC-S

By: Angelica Beker, LPC-Intern
Supervised by Lora Ferguson, LPC-S

Do you or someone you know have a negative view of counseling? On the flip side, how many people do you know who have a positive view of counseling? I am guessing the numbers are about half and half. The public perception of counseling is a diverse one and could be due to a number of factors including cultural views, media, age, and experiences – to name a few.

Let’s sort out the different factors one by one.

Cultural views: Each culture certainly has its own views regarding counseling. In some cultures, talk therapy is seen as completely acceptable and almost expected when you have an unbiased individual to listen to your personal concerns. Sometimes, it can be normal to have a therapist, just like it could be to have a personal trainer, doctor, or other common professionals. However, in other cultures, therapy can be seen as a sign of weakness. This can be due to the fact that in some cultures, your personal business stays your personal business. As such, talking to a therapist is not acceptable and you work out your concerns on your own or solely within the home.

Media: As a therapist, I often get very angry with the way that media portrays therapists. Therapists are seen as flowy clothes wearing weirdos, who get personally intertwined with their clients and over-step boundaries (in every which way possible). Too often, movies and TV shows do not show therapists following the ethical practice standards that real-life therapists abide by on a daily basis. As a young adult (putting my title as a therapist aside), I can completely see why media can give therapists are bad representation in that people may not take therapists seriously or trust them with their personal business. They seem like “weird shrinks,” which is not the most inviting to the average human being.

Age: This can certainly be a factor in whether an individual may choose to come to counseling or not. Often times, the trend can be that those of the older generation are less likely to attend counseling, whereas those of the younger generation are more open to the idea. Due to the sensitive nature of counseling, it is understandable that this may be the trend as older generations were raised in a society where personal business was kept personal. On the other hand, the younger generation lives in a time where everyone and anyone can know their personal business, especially with the rise of social media.

Experiences: Some people have been to therapy before. Some have not. Maybe those who have been before had a negative experience, which can understandably negatively shadow their views on counseling. Those who have never been may have no idea what to expect, which can naturally raise anxiety levels and make one less likely to see a therapist due to the uncertainty.

What comes up for you?

Counseling is a very vulnerable experience. It is understandable that counseling may not be for everyone, but it can and has changed lives. Because April is Counseling Awareness Month, I challenge you to take a moment and think about any of the above listed points. Do any of them stand out to you? Do you relate to any? If so, in what way? Counseling may not be for everyone, but open mindedness can be such a positive factor when considering whether you are in need of talking to a helping professional. There are times when having someone listen to us vent can be a very relieving experience! Society can have a big impact on our perceptions, but it is important to take a moment to dig deep and think about what you as an individual are in need of.

Until next time, be well!

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Getting The Love You Want: Part One

“FREUD, SHAKESPEAR and ROMANTIC RELATIONSHIPS”
“A pair of star-cross’d lovers take their life;
Whose misadventur’d piteous overthrows
doth with their death bury their parents’ strife.”
This classic quote alludes to an age-old question; “Why do we fall in love with the people we do?” Many parents of teenagers may find themselves in the same predicament as Juliet and Romeo’s parents did, lamenting the romantic choice of their daughters and sons. We may even surprise ourselves with our own romantic choices. We vow never to return to a relationship like the one we just ended and then to our dismay, one day we realize our current partner has many of the same characteristics as the last! Beyond biology and evolution, which contribute to a foundational understanding of why we find certain people more attractive than others, many professionals in the field of psychology found themselves stumped as to why individuals tend to repeat certain relationship patterns (i.e. entering into the same relationship with one person over and over or have a certain type of relationship style with different people).

Jill Baumgarner,  Pre-Graduate Student Intern Supervised by Kirby Sandlin, LMFT, LPC

By: Jill Baumgarner,
Pre-Graduate Student Intern
Supervised by
Kirby Sandlin, LMFT, LPC

Hendrix Harville, Ph. D., discusses this subject thoroughly in his book “Getting the Love You Want: A Guide for Couples”. Essentially, as we were socialized from a young age, our parents sculpted what type of adult we would become, what type of characteristics we would possess and what type of personality we will have. Sounds obvious, right? The problem is that as a child’s identity is sculpted by parental influence, and not allowed to manifest on its own, there is resistance and pain. All of those parts of ourselves that we exhibited but were not allowed to be were discarded and became our “lost self”. A sad and common example of this is with male children who are not allowed to express their vulnerable side because his parents shamed him whenever he cries. Therefore, “vulnerability” would become a part of the “lost self”.
How does this fit into our search for a partner, you might ask? Harville explains that the “lost self” contains the characteristics that you will be drawn to in a romantic partner. By being in a relationship with someone who possesses the certain traits we, as children, were not allowed to have; we can experience“wholeness by proxy” and no longer need to feel the pain of being deficient.
Ask yourself- “what part of me do I find deficient in some way?” Maybe you are clumsy? Maybe you are socially awkward? If you found yourself in a relationship with a person who is especially strong in this area (i.e. gracefully, the life of the party) you may find yourself surprisingly complete, rather than envious or more aware of your perceived shortcomings.
The tricky part is that we are not conscious of what characteristics make up our “lost self”; they have been pushed away from awareness because they were not conducive to our childhood. Through socialization and by learning how a child must and must not behave we rejected the parts of ourselves that were not accepted and believed society’s lie that we ever possessed those traits. Luckily, a way to discover the characteristics of our ‘lost self’, and in turn discover the traits we are attracted to in a partner, is by meeting and identifying our “false self”. It is the set of characteristics that camouflage our repressed parts (i.e. the lost self) out of awareness and protect us from further injury. They do this by presenting as the exact opposite of the characteristics that make up ‘lost self’. Ok, let’s look at an example to see this more clearly. Picture a man playing basketball with his friends. Someone makes a comment about how he “throws like a girl” and all of the sudden he is enraged that someone would embarrass him and be so offensive. Although it may sound like an exaggeration, this happens more than we know. Little triggers are hit and we react only later to think, “Why did I get so upset?” “That’s not me!” Perhaps the man in this example has developed the characteristic of ‘masculinity’ in his ‘false self’ to protect him from the ‘femininity’ in his ‘lost self’. In truth, we know our false self already, even though you may not be aware of it, because this is the part that appears when we are criticized, shamed, embarrassed, angry, or need to feel as though we need defense.
In the next portion of this blog series, we will continue to discuss how we are unconsciously undermining our relationships and what the ‘Imago’ is!

 


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