The Dangers of Positive Thinking

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An Opinion Piece by Dylan Kerr

15th August 2020

I must firstly state that I’m actually quite a private fan of positive thinking. I can attribute books on positive thinking and self-esteem to giving me a much needed boost when I was in the midst of severe depression. However, they aren’t for everyone and they  are certainly are not for every situation!

I’m sure since you’re here, reading a blog on psychology and addiction, you may very

illuminated neon sign

well have heard of the “study” where boosting prisoners in custody with self-esteem actually leads to worse offending behavior and less rehabilitation? Well it wasn’t as cut and dry as that, doing psychological long-term investigations on prison populations can be incredibly flawed.

Self-esteem boosting is sometimes a much needed aspect of a person’s on going therapy, and it can works wonders .

“The dream has gone but the baby’s real” The Smiths- This Night Has Opened my Eyes (1984) Hatful of Hollow


I couldn’t be anymore sicker of the word “COVID” than I could possibly ever imagine.  I have withdrawn a lot from social media  and entirely from facebook. I consume very little other media now because this recent crisis. Covid-19 has come at great personal cost to me and my family, incurring job loss, and huge financial losses. As well as major disruptions in finances, it has strained relationships, and cause huge uncertainty in the future of my visa status in Thailand – In brief, very bad, in every-way.

Before the Worst of it

Before the worst of it struck every nation, destroying pensions, savings, schools, futures and lives. There were a number of memes floating about the internet,  in particular meme was a misappropriated poem that was shared by Opera Winfrey. The main jist of the poem that this was a whimsical time for people to return home to their families and cosy up for two weeks and then reemerge healed and restored. The poem when on to social media to be shared around by many people as a poem from 1918 Spanish Flu, it turned out to be fake and had also appeared under the guise of coming from the Potato famine too:

So Why is Positive Thinking Bad?

Positive thinking can really let your guard down. This situation with COVID is terrible. You shouldn’t sleepwalk through this moment of your life if you have ever been prone to mental health issues -or are vulnerable towards them – they are not likely to get any better by themselves! You should start to really plan how you are going to manage this.


The Fight is on

It’s very fair to say this is a fight, this is a war where you are not going to have those other things around you that kept you afloat before, relationships may be more strained, mental health practitioners less available, sleep disrupted, more time on your hands, less money, very little opportunity…. these are indeed awful times and you may very not make it unless you start doing something different.

People are Dying from Mental Health Issues Now

A few of my friends are in the Armed Forces. One of them posted to facebook recently

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that a couple had killed themselves due to lack of support during COVID-19. A married couple who had both served their country had found their PTSD and the COVID situation too much more to bare and committed suicide:

The UK is notoriously non-caring when it comes to mental health issues, governments don’t view mental health patients or service users as voters and therefore only serve to marginalise against them at every given opportunity by cutting back on services and discharging them. Or even worse handing them over the the ministry of justice to be chewed up by police and prisons. Even people who’ve served their country or suffered tremendous personal loss for the country are kicked to the curb.

Never rely on mental health services in the UK, if you need help always seek help from a private therapist, unless you are in immediate distress such as suicides/emergency…etc.

What’s the Solution?

Well it’s important to never lose sight of hope still, but it isn’t going to land in your lap!

If you want to overcome this setback , manage emotions and build the ability to deal with difficult situations I highly suggest you seek professional help now online : If I can’t help you I will refer you to someone that will.

If you are unable to seek professional help I highly suggest these following self-help books:

The Resilience Workbook – By Glenn Schiraldi

Recovery Zones – Patrick Carnes

Follow the other basis steps of helping yourself:

  • Limit Social Media time – especially facebook, which is proven to boost feelings of depression
  • Limit time spent reading news
  • Take up some form of exercise – but exercise is not the be all and end all
  • Read forms of self-help
  • Use the internet less
  • Share thoughts and feelings with people who you are secure with
  • Write a gratitude list
  • Try to meditate
  • Use CBT TOOLS to explore how you are responding to a situation
  • Write plans of coping down

Published by Dylan Kerr BA ACAT FDAP DipHE MBABCP

Mr Dylan Kerr Addictions Counselor Bachelors in Clinical Counseling (Hons) Advanced Certified Addictions Therapist Member of the British Association for Behaviour and Cognitive Psychotherapist Member of the Federation of Drug and Alcohol Practitioners HeDip Health-care HeDip Psychology of Addiction Dip Counselling Diploma in Arts Therapy Diploma in Transactional Analysis CSAT III Dylan Kerr is a Certified Substance Abuse Therapist who is qualified in Counseling, Psychology of addiction from Leeds University and Healthcare from Birmingham City University. Dylan Kerr has been a senior Therapist at the River Rehab, Lead Therapist at Lanna Rehab in Chiang Mai and Head Counselor of Hope Rehab in Siracha. As well as working in Thailand for 7 years, Dylan has also been the on-tour counsellor for the the Rock band ‘The Libertines’. Dylan is now resident counsellor at an Asian rehab. Dylan has experience of working within the music industry supporting acts in therapeutic needs. As well as working around the world Dylan has over 13 years experience delivering substance use disorder treatment at various agencies around the UK. He is skilled in motivational interviewing, CBT, RET and guidance around 12 step philosophies. Dylan has worked with a broad client base and establish the rapport needed to effect change and sustainable progression. Dylan wishes to start this blog to help educate people on his observations within this field and debate the nature of work in the addictions field.

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