Tag Archives: Misconceptions

So what??

What is your first reaction when I say a “So what?” attitude?

Was your reaction quite negative or positive? (Assuming that it can’t be totally neutral)

What if I say, it’s an attitude the grandfather of cognitive therapy, Albert Ellis, said we shall all adopt? Yes, he said we shall all live with a “So What?” attitude.

What do you think?

(I started all 4 paragraphs with the letter “W”, so what?)

I can’t do this, so what?

I look so anxious, so what?

I can’t sleep, so what?

I failed my exam, so what?

Nobody likes me, so what?

What do you think? How would you benefit from adopting such an attitude?

I might not benefit from it, so what?

Seeing clients and students in the west (including those Asians who have lived in the west) vs those who live in Asia (mainly Chinese, Malaysians, South East Asians), I noticed that the first receipt of such an attitude can be quite different, although eventually all accept it and see and experience how much they benefit from having such a “I don’t care” attitude.

But for many Chinese and Asians, their first reaction is almost like, “this is rude”, “this is not what I would do”, “this is wrong”, “this is not part of our cultures/values” etc

Of course we are not talking about people should not care about their life, their studies, their family, their hygiene, their job etc. But it’s when you care too much and it doesn’t help (and often this care makes things worse). This is especially so in social situation and interaction. We worry too much about what others might think, how we look like, we stop being in our experience and connecting with the environment and the world because we focus internally worrying too much.

Try to apply the lens of “so what” in your social interaction and see how it goes?

Is being a perfectionist good/bad?

She’s only 15, and has been doing great academically in all the subjects all her life. It’s probably not wrong to say that she is one of the top students in her country, that’s also why she received a scholarship to receive better education in a different country.

Now being in one of the top colleges in the world, she is struggling to still be the best. But she doesn’t give up. She sacrifices her sleep just so she can catch up. After all this is a very different education system from the ones she was in.

After 6 months of persistent trying, she still doesn’t see much of any results. She cries. She feels like a zombie. She wants her family to be proud of her. She needs to be the best. She wants to be perfect, in all subjects, in her writing, in her presentation, in every piece of work that she produces. But it’s not happening…

She told me “I never see perfectionism a bad thing. I always thought it’s good. Why is it bad?” She believes she’s where she is today thanks to her perfectionist trait, or she wouldn’t have worked so hard and strived so hard.

But over time she starts to see that this trait is pulling her down, is creating a lot of self-doubts and criticisms in her mind, is affecting her work, is stopping her from functioning properly, is preventing her from enjoying studying that she always loves, is making her depressed and feeling hopeless.

I guess for many of us, we were all once there, weren’t we? I remember how I was like in high school, the lucky thing is I managed, and that’s mainly because I wasn’t studying in the top school in the world. But many students who do very well but come from an underprivileged background struggle when they receive scholarship and get into a top school. It’s hard for them to see that being top in their country might not mean anything once they are here. Some people give up, some people try persistently; some people see some results, some never.

Most people are usually rewarded as a perfectionist, at least initially, like in the first one or two decades of their life. So it’s natural that we see and experience the benefits and sense of achievement being one. But it’s either now, or later in the university, or when we are in the society, that we see how academic results don’t matter, how being a perfectionist alters your worldview and reduces how you could have enjoyed life and things along the way.

For the perfectionists, only the results matter. But life isn’t like that, because the ending of life is always the same, life is about the processes. Still, you can strive to be excellent, strive to become better than yourself yesterday, but not to be flawless…

But, will young students see that?





我经常向他们解释,只要我们相信,我们就可以通过催眠实现很多事情。确实,头脑的力量是巨大的。但是这个目标是唯一的例外。不幸的是,我们的思想和记忆并没有像我们期望的那样发挥作用。它们与书橱上个别存储各种文件的文件夹不同,可以经常参阅和置放却不会被影响(就像您在动画 Inside Out!中看到的那样)。




是的,就创造虚假的记忆而言,催眠是一个很好的工具,这是有大量科学研究根据的。您可能会在催眠过程中“回忆”一些比真实感觉更真实的东西,但是那不是真实的……您可以在以下视频中观看更多:为什么您的记忆不能被相信 (需要的话,你可以点选中文字幕自动翻译):


但这并不意味着催眠治疗师或心理治疗师将无济于事。 我实行循证催眠疗法,我可以使用催眠治疗来帮助您学习接纳这个人或记忆或婚外情等作为您“人生历史”的一部分,让它对您的影响变小,学会与之共处并继续前进,而不会干扰您的日常生活。 我也可以使用催眠来促进适当的总结这段关系,告别这段关系和记忆。 试想想,如果它不再对您的生活造成多少影响,对您来说仍然是一个问题吗?

I want to forget someone

As a hypnotherapist (to be exact, cognitive behavioural hypnotherapist, or Hypno-CBT therapist), I get clients with this sort of goal every now and then. Usually they want to forget a specific someone, a relationship, totally get rid of a piece of memory (again usually to do with a specific person).

Naturally our rational mind would tell us this is actually not possible, based on science and what we already know about human mind, right? Yet when it comes to hypnosis and hypnotherapy, people generally “lost their senses”, everything that seems impossible elsewhere, seems possible when it comes to hypnosis.

This is right and wrong at the same time. Indeed we can achieve great things with hypnosis, we live more confidently, we become more assertive, we are happier, we confront our greatest fear, we live more according to value, we quit smoking and bad habits, we enjoy life better, we reach our fullest potential, we handle crisis and stress better, we can manage pain that we couldn’t bear before, we … forget someone?

I often explain to them, we can achieve a lot of things with hypnosis when we believe we can. Indeed the power of the mind is great. But this goal being the only exception. Unfortunately our mind and memories don’t work the way we want it to be. They are not like folders on your shelves that are stored individually, and can be accessed and discarded separately without affecting each other (just like what you saw in the animation Inside Out!).

In “Inside Out”, memories are stored individually as if documents on the shelves.

Our mind, body, emotions, feelings, behavour and thoughts are all interconnected, and so are our memories. Each time you take out the memory of “first day in school”, you changed some part of it (depending on the mood and condition you are in when you think about it etc), and you strengthen some related links connected to it and weaken some other.

Imagine if you want to forget this boyfriend or an affair or a lost child, and I’m able to take it away just like that, what about other memories and people and events connected to it? What is going to fill up the emptiness of these years? Perhaps I can make up something there…?

Yes, hypnosis is a great tool in terms of creating false memories. There have been plenty of research showing that. You might “recall” something during hypnosis which feel more real than what’s real, but it just isn’t real… You can watch more about it here in this clip: Why your memories can’t be trusted-

So right, we can’t remove the memories, and it’s unethical for us to create false memories to replace them (after all hypnotherapists are not god, who are we to decide your life stories and simply change it? But undeniably there are some hypnotherapy approach that do that, and we shall discuss this perhaps next time).

Yet it doesn’t mean we can’t help. I practice evidence-based hypnotherapy, I can use hypnosis to help you learn to accept this person or memory or relationship as part of your history, let it affect you less, learn to live with it and move on without having it interfering your life. I can also use hypnosis to facilitate proper closure and goodbye for the relationship and memory too. So, is it still a problem for you if it no longer has so much an impact in your life?






“可是你看,這麼巧先發病的國家是他們,但….,有可能咩? ” 或者 “這麼巧出現第三波,然後國家進入緊急狀態,所以…,好像很奇怪喔!”




想想也是不難解釋的… 只是很多時候這些陰謀論的信徒,卻很篤定自己就是因為“批判性思考”才會相信陰謀論… 你覺得呢?


在中国做培训的时候,发现学生蛮常喜欢问关于“创伤” (trauma) 相关的问题。过去几十年,创伤是心理学里一个很“夯”的课题,许多抑郁、焦虑、人格障碍 (personality disorder) 等心理与精神疾病,都会被与创伤事故做联想,并以此角度去谘商与治疗--这其实没有太大问题(虽然在认知行为的角度,我们更多去关注“维持因素”,而不是问题的起因)。可是随着心理知识通过网络、自助书籍等的普及化,现在连一个7、8岁的孩子,到没有受过高等教育的70、80岁的长者,都会开始说自己“受到了创伤“。换句话说,“创伤”这个词,开始被“滥用”,不适当的应用。这就有些类似好多年前开始,“忧郁”被滥用一样,后来“我有点强迫”也开始被普及化,然后现在,“创伤”也是。

当然对我来说,心理知识,尤其有科学依据的心理学知识的普及化,一点问题也没有,它增加了社会对患有心理相关问题的意识、的关注,并能让人们提前寻求帮助,以及减少偏见和歧视等,这并没有问题。问题在于,传统上,弗洛伊德派系(Freudian) 的理论,相信人们的大脑在经历重大创伤事故时,会启动防御机制(defense mechanism),比如抑制(repression),把不合理的信念、痛苦的记忆等,在你无意识、不自觉的情况下隐藏它们,以期完全忘记它们。


我想不少心理学家都会异口同声说:“当然存在!” 以前的我也是。可是这里,我想提出几个“疑点”,让把它看成理所当然存在的人,稍微的再考虑一下下…

(一)以过去许多经历较为重大事故(如:战争、被性侵强奸、地震、911事件、恐怖袭击、攫夺等)的人过后出现闪回(flashback)、失眠等症状而被诊断为创伤后应激障碍(Post traumatic stress disorder, PTSD),这些事故其实被更强烈的记住,并不断在脑海里“重播”,所以才会导致情绪激动、焦虑等症状。这似乎显示:经历创伤事故的人,是会更强烈的记得这些事故,而不是忘却它、压抑它?


(三)与(二)相关,婴儿遗忘症(infantile amnesia),显然也不是“被压抑的创伤记忆”。因为在我们未懂事以前,几乎所有经历都没有被编码 (encode) 进入我们的长期记忆 (long-term memory),那就没有所谓的无意识压抑了。虽然其实近几年有些研究似乎发现,学语言以前长期记忆的编码方式,与逐渐掌握语言后的编码方式不同,而导致我们在学会语言后,无法“复取”(retrieve)旧有编码的记忆。