Monday, February 15, 2021

Helping our patients break their limiting beliefs to open them up for more possibilities

For a brief moment, I felt like Mr Miyagi from Karate Kid when I caught a fly with my hand this evening at dinner. It was trying to eat my food.

Was it a fluke? Probably.... But it made me think about “limiting beliefs”, and how important it is to review and break them at times, to open us up to more possibilities. 

Certainly the best way to break a “limiting belief” is to prove that it’s wrong through exposure, action, and success.

That’s why experiential avoidance is so problematic as it reinforces the “limiting belief”, and part of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), is to challenge that through exposure therapy, or graded exposure.

“Limiting beliefs” are like our handbrakes in our cars. There may be nothing wrong with the car or the driver’s skills, but if the handbrakes are on, it’s not going to go anywhere too fast.

Letting the handbrakes go will open us up to many possibilities rather than limit us. Of course, some “limiting beliefs” are there for our safety just like the handbrakes, but a regular review of its use is important from time to time.  Do we need the “handbrakes” in this situation is an important question to ask. 

But the real question is, do we or our patients have “obsolete limiting beliefs”?

I suspect so. We are only human.

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