Monthly Archives: July 2018

Hitting a concrete wall: overcoming mental blocks

Do you ever find yourself saying “I’ve hit a mental block”? I think we all do sometimes, whether it’s a task at work, a college assignment, cooking an old favourite dish..

Usually, we can unlock that block ourselves. All it takes is a change of scene, a few deep breaths, or reading something (for example a recipe to refresh our memory about that troublesome dish). However, occasionally a mental block can take a bit more work to overcome.

Recently, a new client came to see me. He was trying to find a job in his chosen field, but had developed a mental block about job searching, and he couldn’t see a way forward. He told me that he felt he’d “hit a concrete block, or wall”.

Where did that wall come from?

After talking with him, I started to feel that he’d built this wall from negative forecasting. As we’ve discussed before, negative forecasting happens when you assume there’s no possible positive outcome. In this case, my client felt that he’d never find the right job, so his brain started to tell him that there was no point searching any more. So, a job hunting barrier started to develop.

He began catastrophising, which means he was always being self-presented with worst-case scenarios. In this situation, negative thoughts included never finding a job and becoming long-term unemployed, or finding a job then not being very good at it, or not getting on with colleagues, or finding the right job, applying for it, then blowing the interview…

This constant negative forecasting creates anxiety, and our primitive brain starts to take over. We enter that hyper-vigilant state where we’re always on the alert for more problems, and these overcome any positive thoughts. When we become overwhelmed by negative feelings, our anxiety increases and that draining vicious cycle begins. As we all know, job hunting requires energy, positivity, and a good dose of optimism. My client simply had to break this problem-focused cycle to break his mental block.

The best tool to break down the wall

We would have to work together to replace these negative thoughts with positive ones. I felt the best way to do this would be through CBT, cognitive behavioural therapy, combined with solution focused hypnotherapy.

CBT is a popular and effective talking therapy that looks at how a person’s thoughts affect their behaviour. In this case, negative forecasting about his career was preventing my client from searching and applying for jobs – his thoughts had a direct impact on his actions. As his therapist, my role was to work with him to challenge these negative feelings: if you can change the thought processes, you can change the behaviour and thus the outcome.

We started to work together on how his thoughts were affecting his feelings and actions. He’s now been coming to me for a month, and we’re already starting to find a door through that concrete wall. My client says he’s already feeling more hopeful and optimistic about his future – and I’m really confident that he’ll find that ideal job.

Let’s open that door

Do you have a mental block that makes you feel like there’s a concrete wall between you and where you want to be? We can find a way to overcome this, working together to replace those negative thoughts with affirmative forecasting.

I’m Debbie Daltrey, the founder of Great Minds Clinic and an Anxiety UK-approved therapist. My clinics are in Timperley, Altrincham, and Manchester City Centre. Take the first step towards unlocking that block, and contact me for a confidential chat.