The Candid Counselor

Helping individuals overcome anxiety, depression, and life's issues

Dr. Julia Becker


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Licensed Psychologist
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Serving the greater Waco, TX area, including Woodway, Hewitt, Lorena, Bellmead, Robinson, and China Spring.

Beyond Time Management: Breaking the Procrastination Cycle.

Posted by Dr. Becker Tuesday, September 20, 2011 0 comments

 time_management

“I’m just lazy.” 

“I just don’t want to do it.” 

“I don’t know why I don’t get things done.”

 

These are common statements I hear when counseling people who procrastinate.  Procrastination is often misunderstood, and it is often labeled as laziness.  Many people do not realize why they procrastinate.  Here’s what often happens during a typical cycle of procrastination:

 

Procrastination occurs when the task seems overwhelming and stressful. People avoid the task, and they experience immediate relief.  When they think of approaching the task again, they become more anxious.  Avoiding the task again produces a feeling of relief.  This feeling of relief occurs each time the person avoids the task. This relief is a positive reinforcement for the procrastination behavior. The longer a person procrastinates, the more difficult it becomes to take care of the task.  Procrastination also reinforces a person’s belief that they cannot handle the task because it is too big or stressful.

 

How can people stop this destructive cycle?  The answer involves gaining awareness of thoughts and feelings that cause procrastination.  For example, Jill had been avoiding writing her English paper.  When she thought about writing it, she felt anxious and irritated.  After reflecting on her thoughts, Jill recognized she was having the following thoughts:

 

                    I’m going to fail this anyway.

                   I’m a terrible writer

                    This is going to take way too long.

 

By avoiding writing the paper, Jill was able to temporarily avoid her unpleasant thoughts and her feelings of anxiety.  Jill began to work with her counselor to battle these negative thoughts.  Through counseling, she gained self-confidence and realized she could succeed, and that she did have writing skills.  She also learned how to break the task down into smaller pieces so that it felt less overwhelming.

 

Think about your own life.  What tasks do you routinely avoid?  What negative thoughts do you have about such tasks?  Challenge these thoughts by coming up with evidence that does not support these negative thoughts.  Talk to friends about these negative thoughts to help you gain perspective.  If you’re still struggling, consider talking to a counselor.  Procrastination may be a symptom of low self-confidence.  Psychologists routinely help people improve their self-confidence so that they may lead happier, more productive lives.

 

Please visit Becker Counseling and Psychological Services for more information.

Surviving and Thriving in College

Posted by Dr. Becker Wednesday, September 14, 2011 0 comments

 

university College is a time for students to develop independence, try new things, and discover what they want to do in life.  Although it’s commonly referred to as “the best years” of a person’s life, college comes with many challenges.  Anticipating and preparing for these challenges can help students be successful and happy during their college years.  To survive and thrive in college, consider the following:

  • Talk with your roommate early on about important issues.  Important things to consider include: How will chores be divided?  How does each person feel about having friends visit or spend the night?  Will roommates share food or buy their own groceries?  Can all the roommates agree to talk about problems they have with each other, rather than letting resentment build up?  These are common concerns that come up in college students, and these issues have been discussed multiple times in counseling.

  • Don’t feel pressured to quickly choose a major.  You’re not expected to know what to do with your life when you’re 18 years old.  Visit the career center, try out different classes, talk to professors, and volunteer at places you find interesting.  Use these experiences to figure out what you want to do with your life.  If you’re still having trouble choosing, talk to a career counselor or psychologist about your ideas.

  • Get involved, but not too involved.  There are so many activities and social clubs on campus.  Think about what you really want to be involved in.  It’s okay to try out different activities during your first year before you commit to any.  It’s important to have free time in college to relax, study, and spend time with friends.  Being over involved in activities can increase stress and lead to burn out.

  • Get a day calendar and use it daily.  Go through your syllabus at the beginning of each semester and mark tests and assignments on your calendar.  Use your calendar to keep track of daily assignments, reading, and plans.

  • Stay healthy.  Eating right, exercising, getting enough sleep, and avoiding excessive alcohol will help you stay healthy and perform well.  These behaviors are not practiced enough by most college students.

  • Know when to ask for help.  Parents, friends, professors, and counselors are great resources for college students.  It’s normal to need guidance and advice during college.  Asking for help early on can help prevent a difficult situation from becoming much worse.

Please visit Becker Counseling and Psychological Services for more information.

Happiness and Motivation: Ingredients for Success

Posted by Dr. Becker Monday, September 5, 2011 0 comments

 

presentation Motivation is a necessary ingredient of success in work.  Many people say they would like to accomplish more or be more motivated, but they often do not know how to do this.  One important thing missing may be a sense of care and meaning in the work.  Research shows that people who don’t care about their jobs show up less consistently, are less productive, are less creative, and have lower work quality. 

 

Although conventional wisdom suggests that pressure and negative feedback motivate people to perform, research shows that happiness and fulfillment are better motivators. Happiness results when workers find their work meaningful, and they achieve progress in meaningful work.  The result of this happiness is harder work and greater productivity.

 

Managers often do not recognize how important meaningful progress is as a motivator.  Instead, managers tend to use less effective incentives, such as raises and bonuses, or they may try to use fear or criticism as motivators.  Due to budget cuts and other limitations, many workplaces do not try to foster a sense of meaning for employees. This means that employees may have to work harder to find meaning on their own.  This can be done by thinking about work in different ways.

 

Consider the following:

  • Think about your own workplace.  Are there parts of your job that are meaningful and important to you?
  • What do you think you are adding to your workplace?  How is your work benefitting others?
  • Think about what makes you smile at work.  At the end of the day, what makes this a “good day”?  How can you add more of these positive things to have more good days?
  • Focus on the good parts of your work.  There may be many unpleasant aspects of your work.  Focusing on the good will help you strengthen your sense of meaning and positive feelings about your work.
  • Understand why your work is important.  Learn more about the company and how it benefits your community.  Work to understand how your role benefits the company as a whole.

Please visit Becker Counseling and Psychological Services for more information.