Daniel* came to see me about his nerves in job interviews. “The last couple were terrible – I was either babbling or sitting there in silence” he told me, “and the last promotion that came up work didn’t give me an interview – twenty five years I’ve been there and now they don’t value me either.”
The ‘either’ caught my attention, and Daniel told me that he’d separated from his wife the previous year. He was still very bitter about what had happened, and blamed his ex-wife for his not seeing their two grown-up daughters. He felt that he had been “tossed aside and thrown on the scrapheap” by them, and now it was happening at work as well.
The circumstances around Daniel’s separation weren’t as cut and dried as he suggested, and talking to him it became clear that how he had seen and thought about some things might not necessarily be right. Those ways of seeing and thinking about things had affected his mood though, and behind the problem with job interviews was a loss of self-esteem, and changed and sometimes difficult behaviour at work.
“I see now” he told me in one session “how it’s affected everything – how I am with the girls, the pressure I put myself under at work, even how my golf has got so bad – although that’s hardly important”. I think that if people mention something then it must in some way be important to them, so I asked Daniel to tell me more about how his golf had been affected. Golf was his only interest outside of work, and the basis for nearly all of his social life. His bitterness and anger about life had caused a vicious circle of his failing skill making him frustrated, and his frustration affecting his game.
What made the breakthrough for Daniel was getting him to imagine taking the bitterness and anger out of himself in a tight little knot, placing it on the tee, and hitting it out of sight. This let him experience how much better he felt without those feelings, and successfully letting them go. At the same time he also mentally rehearsed his golf, and saw himself making fantastic shots time after time.
Daniel started to see improvements in how he thought about and dealt with things, and in his golf. These reinforced his feeling better about himself, improving his social life and letting him start to look at his relationships in work, and with his daughters.
Daniel’s real identity has been protected, and he is happy to share his story.