Be an individual and ditch the label!

People love putting each other in boxes. Resist the label!

What’s wrong with a label?

diagnostic criteria labelsHypnotherapists see lots of labels. People seem to absolutely love them. Here’s a disorder, there’s a syndrome, here’s a disease, an imbalance, a problem.

Sticking a label on something, or someone, makes it so much easier to manage. Doesn’t it?!

Sometimes people like being labelled too. Sometimes it’s far easier to be an alcoholic if it’s a disease instead of the consequence of circumstances and choices. Labels can be convenient for everybody concerned with mental health.

I’m not always very found of labels. I often use hypnotherapy in Reading, London, Oxford, Wallingford and Thame to help people cut them out of their lives.

I recently picked up a second-hand book on the use of words. A hypnotherapist likes words; each one has a special meaning and can do a lot of good for a client if used properly.

It seemed, from its cover, to be a good read and so I paid the pound and took it home. Learning more about words and how they can be used couldn’t hurt, after all.

Anyway, I had a look at this book last night and it turned out to be one of those management books from the 1990s – the kind which tells you how to be a better leader and manager. If only I’d had a better look before buying it. Oh well, it was only a pound and inspired this post. 

Mistakes can be educational!

Labels, boxes, categories…

I had a quick thumb through and every page instructed the reader how to give people a label. There are, so it says, proactive types and reactive types. There are “sameness with exception” customers and “difference people.” Oh yes, there are “co-operative employees” and the “independent”, “no/my” characters and “me/your” people.

Other management type tools will divide people into ‘plants’ or ‘finisher-completers’.

Trace all such attempts back to their origins and you’ll find that Carl Jung is unwittingly to blame. He coined the terms ‘introvert’ and ‘extrovert’ and so began a whole industry of giving people labels.

People are separated out from one another and their differences artificially coralled into boxes. Everybody is different and this book will teach you how to slap a label on each and every one of them.

What a load of crap. Sure, some people may fit into those boxes some of the time but are we all so consistent as that? Can we not learn to move between boxes or even float effortlessly outside of any given category?

If Carl Jung were alive today, to see what others have done with his work, then he’d be spinning in his grave. 🙂

Your label needn’t define what you are

I suspect that attempting to slot people into pre-designed categories says rather more about those who try than about those who are being categorised. The modern obsession with “personality types” began with Jung, who thought of people as constantly moving between introversion and extraversion.

He never, however, intended for people to be permanently labelled with one or the other and would be horrified to see how his idea had mushroomed into a thousand rubbish ways of keeping management “gurus” employed. How many days, as a teacher, did I waste on being taught how to identify myself as a certain type via Myers-Briggs assessments? 

The answer was different every time I took that test.

Perhaps labels aren’t fixed, permanent, forever.

Good psychotherapists see people, not labels

individuals and hypnotherapyGood hypnotherapy and hypno-psychotherapy works with an individual.

There may, for example, be occasions when you feel a little introverted. Perhaps you’re tired, have been drained by a day of constant meetings or are simply in a bit of a low mood.

At other times you’ll be quite the opposite. On a good day, with the sun out and a spring in your step, you can be the life and soul of the party.

Often you’ll be somewhere inbetween. There may be times when you’d rather sit back and let others get on with things. There will be times when you sit up and take control.

Why do some people feel as if they have to pin a label on every behaviour, thought pattern or trait? 

Perhaps these boxes are merely part of a spectrum and some people will go through the whole range whereas others will be a little more restricted in the variation of behaviour, thought and feeling. 

How will I work with a client?

I want to work with you as you are, not as something I can squeeze into a box and slap a label on. This is why I never use scripts.

You’re not a “smoker” or a “depressive” or an “OCD type.” You’re a human being with a thousand different parts which make you unique from anybody else. Meeting such uniqueness, every day, is why I love my work and it’s why I look forward to meeting you.

Don’t give yourself a label just because others offer it to you

Whether you come to me or go and visit somebody else, please don’t give up on yourself. You’re not ‘ADHD’. It doesn’t define you.  You aren’t ‘generalised anxiety disorder’ and being given this label doesn’t excuse you from the need to take responsibility. I’ve seen and helped plenty of people with GAD and they can and do recover. A label isn’t a prison sentence and neither is it a cast-iron excuse. They can be escaped and binned.

Do you have to just live with a label?

It’s not a life sentence, it’s not a definitive statement, it merely exists for the convenience of those professionals who employ them. It enables them to prescribe a pill with confidence.

You can leave it behind and you can do anything which anybody else can do. It’s not an excuse for others to treat you badly and it’s not an excuse for you to give up. I look forward to helping you to rediscover your potential so that the label can be left behind.

You’re certainly not ‘asperger’s syndrome’. It may be with you for life but this means nothing.

You can go on to achieve a great many things. You don;t have to be defined by a ‘triad of impairments’. You can live a happy and fulfilling life.  You mustn’t fall victim to the belief that you are limited in what you can expect or achieve in life.

Hypnotherapy could help you to free yourself from the confines of a label. People in Thame, Wallingford, Oxford, Reading and London have done this. You could do it too. Give me a call and we can discuss how hypnotherapy could help you.

Labels, badly applied, can be dangerous

I occasionally see clients who have been diagnosed with ASD at a young age. When I meet them there’s the odd occasion when I can see nothing remotely autistic about them.

I have encouraged a few sets of parents to have their children reassessed and the psychologists gave them the all clear. The damage this label had done was sometimes enormous. Their self-esteem was shattered. No more, their labels have gone and they feel a whole lot better about themselves, their lives and worlds.

aspergers hypnotherapy

Recognise this painting?

Labelling yourself can be so destructive. Telling yourself that you have an anxiety disorder, that you’re an alcoholic or that you’re a clinical depressive is hardly going to help. It’ll just make the whole thing appear more difficult to escape.

It’s for this reason that I don’t use or like labels. Besides, everybody is unique in their experience of a particular problem. Labelling psychological problems doesn’t do justice to the individual nature of your experience.

Do you recognise the painting above? Have a think. Ever heard of Iris Grace?

No joy? Well, it’s probably because the artist is unknown. It’s possibly because she’s only five years old. She’s also on the autistic spectrum. I don’t think that ‘autistic’ is a sufficient label for such a talent.

You are capable of great things

My clients, whatever their labels, are capable of great things and I adore helping them to find out what these might be. You may not feel as if your goals are possible, yet, but you could learn to see both your ambitions and your own self rather differently. You certainly don’t need to restrict yourself to being nothing more than a list of  diagnostic criteria. 

You can be sure, that when you visit me at Resolved! Hypnotherapy, you’ll be treated as an individual. Your therapy will be all the more effective in consequence. I help people in Reading, London, Oxford, Wallingford and Thame to escape the consequences of their labels. You could escape the consequences of a poorly applied set of diagnostic criteria too.

Find out how it works. Contact me here and call for your free consultation.

Best wishes

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Paul 12.2.12

 Resolved! Hypnotherapy offers hypnotherapy and hypno-psychotherapy in Reading, Oxford, Didcot, Wallingford, Pangbourne, Henley, Thame, Wokingham and in all surrounding areas of Berkshire and Oxfordshire. A skilled hypnotherapist can help you to make real and lasting changes to your life. Home visits are available on request.