Dr Jennifer Guttman is a cognitive behaviouralist, from New York City, who also specialises in mindfulness. She has branded her own type of therapy, Sustainable Life Satisfaction (SLS) working with children, adolescents and adults.
Jennifer sees Cognitive Behavioural Therapy as a way of changing peoples thinking so that their moods do not negatively impact their behaviour. You can do something about your moods in the way that you talk to yourself. And the more effectively you talk to yourself the more effectively you can function in your life.
‘Self talk’ helps programme your mood. Jennifer is amazed at how diminishing some peoples’ self talk can be! People sabotage themselves by the very nature of their inner voice. When you unpack what people are really thinking about themselves, many are self deprecating and reliant on the external world, which is fickle and unreliable. The external word doesn’t give people the feedback that they are looking for in order to enforce their self image, so they can become extremely despairing.
When people start talking negatively about themselves, ask ‘what’s the evidence for your thinking?’. People often have a hard time coming up with this evidence as their comments are often built on assumptions rather than evidence.
If people are not sure how to give themselves the reinforcements that they need, they may feel that they are perpetually failing in terms of their performance, if they are not receiving the feedback that they are taught through life to need. With Oscar and Grammy awards, the world is set up to be looking for external feedback for performance, which may not be readily available to most. This can cause problems in how people evaluate their performance and how it impacts their mood and resilience when things don’t go to plan.
For example, there could be a person working in business A and another working in business B, both working equally hard doing the same job and the same hours. Business A has a different board of directors so that it is able to give a bonus and raise to its staff, this makes the worker at business A feel that they are successful. The worker at business B does not get a raise or bonus, they may feel unsuccessful even though they are doing the same job. This feedback loop of reward and bonus is not helpful to everyone. This can be true at work, in social situations, in family situations and all aspects of life.
External feedback affects peoples’ views of themselves unless they learn to look within themselves to evaluate.
‘People pleasing’ is a challenge, as people try to control people, situations and outcomes. Even if they could, controlling people doesn’t control the outcomes. If Jennifer can relinquish people from this belief and help them improve the belief of their own authenticity, it can be highly liberating. As people start to belief in their lovability, build self-confidence and security – social and work relationships improve and less resentment is brought into relationships when you don’t feel that you are being taken advantage of.
Jennifer believes that if someone is trying to please another person, they do not own their truth. As they seek for others to like them, they hide aspects of themselves so they can be endorsed by others. We must believe that we are lovable regardless of whether someone may like or dislike a particular behaviour, then we will be able to own our authentic selves.
People know when you are and are not being authentic. Authenticity brings consistency in behaviour and makes us feel more secure. Authentic people tend to be more self confident, quieter, they post less on social media and don’t have to argue their point because they are so comfortable and don’t need passing approval or reassurance.
Jennifer has developed 6 videos to share her Sustainable Life satisfaction (SLS) concept, to bring contentment to peoples lives. It draws from her own experience, scientific theories and research to bring about change and lasting impact:
- Starting is easy, closing is hard: Learning the importance of closing tasks-not just starting. It’s imperative not just to start, but to also finish and close.
- Decision-making: Feeling confident in decision-making, without fearing mistakes or ramifications improves self-confidence and in turn improves chances for “closing.”
- Facing fears: Do not be afraid to be afraid. Use your fear as positive motivation to propel and compel you to move forward.
- Reduce people pleasing behaviours: Avoid situations of co-dependency and enmeshment. Learn to live an authentic life without living in “service” of others. Watch people pleasing behaviors which secure feelings of indispensability while averting fears of abandonment.
- Avoiding assumptions: Avoid making assumptions about what other people think or feel about you. Your actions should be based on fact and not assumptions. Making decisions about how to proceed in a given situation based on guessing instead of facts is a dangerous exercise.
- Active self-reinforcement: Providing tangible self-reinforcement for “closing” or a job well done. Make a cognitive shift from aspiring and needing reinforcement and praise from others to be willing to accept self-praise.
The videos are being launched on YouTube. Jennifer plans to release a book to further explain how to implement these techniques in order to have Sustainable Life satisfaction and a lifetime of contentment.
You can find out more about Jennifer at www.guttmanpsychology.com