Hell is full of good intentions.
Saint Bernard of Clairvaux (1091-1153)
I just wanted to help.
I thought that you'd like it.
I really meant it for the best.
It seemed like such a good idea.
I did it for the sake of the children.
Consequences of Good Intentions & Wistful Thinking
While well-meaning and considerate actions are essential
to a humane society, but being nice can sometimes hurt or damage people
and / or yourself. You can take on too much, you
might try to rescue self-destructive friends ... and much more.
Do you know how to replace negative emotions and self-defeating habits? If your intentions feel good and right ... why should you change? Why not just criticize
and blame the rest of the world for not living up to your ideals and your standards?
Here are a few tips:
- Accept imperfection in yourself and others.
- Ask for permission before you help someone.
- Offer useful information rather than
- Be kind and honest, and tell people what
you want from them.
- Learn how to say "No!" ...
and avoid feeling overloaded and burned out.
We help people to manage their emotions and solve relationship problems.
Good Intentions at Work
We have seen leaders damage effective teams with their good intentions.
Some managers want to be substitute parents to a work group ...
they may help people who don't want to be helped. Some
managers want to be powerful and push productive people to produce
more ... perhaps pushing those people out of the team. Some
managers want to be one of the group, but sabotage their
leadership with too much camaraderie.
We are often asked by executives: What should be in our mission
statements? A common mistake is to make mission statements into
a smorgasbord of good intentions and positive thinking.
When we coach people to create or redefine mission statements, we
ensure that those statements become clear and succinct reflections
of the organizations' reasons for existing.
A useful mission statement incorporates meaningful and
measurable criteria about such things as the organization's ethical
position, target market, public image, products/services, the
geographic domain and expectations.
Good Intentions in Therapy and Counseling
Many helping professionals use similar methodologies with
different degrees of success. Their success often depends on their ability
to select clients or patients, diagnose accurately, provide useful tools
for change and develop trusting relationships.
Minds can sometimes be described as rational and
sometimes irrational. We may describe the rational mind as intellect, and the
irrational mind as emotions. We primarily study relationships.
Psychologists often specialize, for example in educational
psychology or marketing. Most clinical psychologists aim to reduce
distress and enhance wellbeing.
Psychiatrists, broadly speaking,
practice two kinds of treatment - physical and conversational. Physical
treatments are used to affect minds through bodies, using drugs or electric
shocks; and conversational methods are used to affect minds directly, without
medication or physical intervention. See
Evolution of Good Intentions.
Psychotherapy could be described as structured conversations
aimed at changing behavioral and emotional habits through verbal communication
- much like parents talking to children. Psychotherapy does not include
chemical, biochemical or electrical coercion. Psychotherapy is people
talking to people.
Helping professionals can explain:
- What they do if a person is in a crisis.
- Their offers and plans for initial sessions.
- How they schedule and cancel appointments.
- The cost of each session and payment methods.
- How and under what circumstances the relationship will
Coaching Competence of Helping Professionals
For us, competence starts with helping people define what they want and then exploring how to get what
they want and then making change happen. We:
- evaluate relationships
- define goals and objectives
- create trusting relationships
- solve objections and conflicts
- communication skills
- improve partnership
- manage identity loss
- provide short-term coaching
- provide long-term mentorship
- manage abuse and/or trauma
Many helping professionals realize that it’s not
profitable to cure people ... it's more profitable to
sell drugs, even if many drugs do little more than hide emotions
or mask symptoms. Even the best of intentions can take second place
to personal profit.
The drug industry provide free samples and gifts
to the doctors and psychiatrists who prescribe their drugs. They often
reward doctors who write the most prescriptions for their products -
for example with free holidays and bonuses. In 2009, Pfizer, the
world’s largest drug manufacturer, was fined
$2.3 billion for illegally promoting drugs.
Some drug addicts go doctor-shopping, seeking health
professionals who have descended to being drug dealers.
Some doctors become addicted to the drugs that they prescribe - drug abuse by medical professionals is
an old story.
Good intentions can damage your health
Maturity, emotional stability and competence may be essential
qualities of a helping professional, yet these qualities are not
selected by universities nor professional organizations. Ability to pay and a
knowledge of statistics are
more important. Deficiencies in the caretakers' own emotional stability and
competence seem to be primary sources of damage to
clients, patients ... and to the professionals themselves.
Certificates are not enough. As few universities or training
organizations will test or vouch for the character or
stability of the people they graduate or certify, seek evidence of
both competence and maturity,
Contact us to resolve success, emotional and relationship
Online Help, Relationship Counseling & Soulwork Therapy
I thought you were just
another therapist - but you were not just. Not even. Not only.
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© Martyn Carruthers 2009-2017 All rights reserved