• Jane Craig

My Father's Voice

Updated: Oct 21, 2019

Welcome to the blogging section of my new website. I intend to build on this initial blog by adding to it each month.

My father – a poet and a journalist – used to say the only writers worth reading were Shakespeare and Ezra Pound. Everyone else was a waste of time. Hardly surprising then that I have some trepidation about writing a blog for my website. What do I have to say? How well can I say it? My father is long dead, and I myself am pretty old. Yet it would seem that even now, after all these years I carry many of his attitudes and opinions. They are alive in me and can effect my behaviour.

It seems that most adults contain – to a greater or lesser degree – at least some negative parental influences. Sometimes they can get in the way of living, making a life less than it could be. They may contribute to mental health problems, such as anxiety and depression. For example: the man whose parents urged him to do better, rather than praise him for what he had achieved.

This is where therapy can be useful. Working together, therapist and client can locate the origin of the client’s unhelpful thoughts and behaviours, begin to modify them and ultimately bring about change: ‘B’ was a high achiever at school yet his parents complained if he did not get the top marks. Consequently, he never believed he was good enough, in spite of the fact that now, as an adult, he was very successful. His dissatisfaction drove him to work harder and harder until he burned out, and had a nervous breakdown. Work with his therapist enabled him to identify the drivers behind his extreme behaviour – the internalised voice of his parents – and achieve a better work/life balance. Therapy may not totally obliterate negative voices from the past. The internal voice that tells B he is not good enough, can resurface from time to time, but B knows where it come from and does not let it affect what he does. That’s the difference.

So, when I am not feeling confident, I may ‘hear’ my father’s negative voice, but I am able to override it and carry on. I wrote this blog, didn’t I?

©Jane Craig 2021

Jane Craig is a registered member of the Health & Care Professionals Council
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Jane Craig | Clinical Psychologist | Lewes