Looking more closely at ‘Can’t’
Let’s suppose I’m really scared about that presentation at the team meeting. When discussing my difficulties with making the presentation it’s tempting to say “I can’t do it, I just can’t…”
My performance at the meeting may be a source of real worry. Here’s an idea that can move things on a little. It’s not, by itself, a complete way through, but it does reframe the problem in a way a therapist may approach it.
Is it possible to contact two different parts of an ongoing dialogue;
- One part that says “I really have to/need to/should do that presentation”
- One part that says “I feel scared”
No wonder this presentation is taking up so much psychic energy! There’s a really tiring battle going on between these two parts of me.
Now ‘can’t’ implies that something isn’t possible. Here is a list of the types of people who really would find it impossible, who really can’t do the presentation at your team meeting;
- People who have had extensive throat surgery (and are left with no voice)
- People half way around the World (because they wouldn’t be able to get there in time)
- People on life support….
…OK, you get the idea. It’s more accurate to say “When I have a presentation to give, a part of me feels scare” than “I can’t do a presentation”. Of course this isn’t a complete way through the problem, but it begins to get some accuracy about what’s going on.
If there are two parts of you battling with a ‘can’t’ then each of them really needs to be heard in full. That way you can begin to work towards a resolution.
Getting support with feelings
Remember that everyone is different and any self-help process can only offer ideas in general terms. It may be that resolving the conflict between these two parts of yourself means working with someone who is qualified to support you.
Why not book an initial assessment session with a counsellor/therapist who is registered with a nationally recognised professional body (such as BACP or UKCP in the UK)?