Monthly Archives: October 2018

Stop it!!

A (very short) “counselling session” by the American stand up comedian and actor Bob Newhart. Do watch it!

I came across this video while learning thought stopping techniques. Seriously, sometimes I think this is simply and exactly what some people need.

Notice the thought and stop the thought, accept whatever you are feeling, focus on the present, use your sensation, pay attention to the external environment (as opposed to the internal), and do what you want to do!

Remember, only present exists! Everything else is only in your mind.

Also remember, you can’t stop the thoughts from popping up, but you can decide how you react to them!

介紹書:<親愛的,其實那不是愛>

這本書是蠻久以前在大眾書局買下的,一直放著沒看。到那天決定翻一翻,覺得其實也還蠻不錯的,適合一些處於不健康關係裏頭的人,學習如何識別和認清自己處於怎樣的關係,如何面對、一步一步走出所謂的偽愛關係,給自己療傷。

sunxuanhui

生活中不難發現處於這種關係的人(並不只是一種,作者蘇絢慧理出十二種),有時候因為孩子、有時候因為已付出的青春、有時候因為年紀、有時候因為家人或外界的看法等,而讓自己呆在不只是不快樂,而是甚至已經在一點一點腐蝕自己生命的關係裏……

如果心裡真的有許多的疑問和不確定,不妨看看這本書,又或許看完了,反而更確認自己現有的關係了呢!

Safety Seeking Behaviour

(This is my 200th post!! Well done, Hui Bee!! It’s been 4 years writing here.)

There is a tribe who believe that to make the sun rise, they have to build a bonfire each night and dance around it till dawn. Because of this belief, the tribe spends most of their time collecting wood and preparing for the night (Wells, 1997). They are exhausted. This ritual has taken over their lives, but they can’t stop this as they are obliged to make sure the sun rise again for the world the next morning.

A safety seeking behaviour is something a person does to stop a feared catastrophe from happening. But safety behaviours actually make the fear stronger especially in long-term by preventing the person from discovering that the disaster is not going to happen anyway. Overcoming anxiety involves having the confidence to tolerate that anxiety whilst dropping these behaviours.

Some clinical cases

Little Alan believes that if he plays badminton, he will not sleep at night. So he has completely stopped playing badminton that he used to enjoy.

Ms Stephy has panic attacks and agoraphobia, so she shops online, and avoids shopping malls and crowded places at all cost. Now she barely gets too panic, but her life is so limited.

Mr Patrick has social anxiety. He avoids social interactions and social situations whenever possible. Even when he speaks to others, he avoids eye contacts and keeps the conversation minimal. People find him uninteresting, aloof and weird.


So, back to the tribe sunrise ceremony. How would they discover that whether or not the ritual really makes the sun rises?

How would Little Alan know whether playing badminton really lead to insomnia?

How would Ms Stephy know whether the crowds lead to her panic attacks? How can she live a more fulfilling life?

How would Mr Patrick knows whether avoiding social interaction and eye contact help with his problems?

(You might notice that they all pay huge cost in long-term in order to ease their anxiety in short term. “Short term gain, long term pain”)


It seems that this is part of us human, when we do things like “touch wood” or knocking the door before entering the hotel room. For many with OCD and anxiety disorders, it is highly important to identify their safety seeking behaviour, and do some psychoeducation around it to make them willing to drop them, or test dropping them (behavioural experiment).

More importantly, there are also times when we therapists teach them certain coping skills (e.g. abdominal breathing), and it ends up being used as safety seeking behaviour “as long as I focus on my breathing, I will not get panic attack and faint here in the mall.” So, the intention (beliefs) behind these behaviours is important. Why do you do this? Is it as a way to cope (coping strategies), so that you can continue shopping, or is it as a way to avoid a disaster you think might happen (safety seeking)?