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Sport Psych


Crazy-Makers: Dealing with Passive-Aggressive People

Why Are People Mean? Don't Take It Personally!

When You Have Been Betrayed

Struggling to Forgive: An Inability to Grieve

Happy Habits: 50 Suggestions

The Secret of Happiness: Let It Find You (But Make the Effort)

Excellence vs. Perfection

Depression is Not Sadness

Conflict in the Workplace

Motivation: Intrinsic vs. Extrinsic

20 Steps to Better Self-Esteem

7 Rules and 8 Methods for Responding to Passive-aggressive People

Promoting Healthy Behavior Change

10 Common Errors in CBT

What to Do When Your Jealousy Threatens to Destroy Your Marriage

Rejection Sensitivity, Irrational Jealousy and Impact on Relationships

For Women Only: How to Have the Relationship of Your Dreams

What to Do When Your Partner's Jealousy Threatens to Destroy Your Relationship

Making Attributions for a Healthier Attitude

Happiness is An Attitude

Thinking Your Way to a Healthy Weight

Guide to How to Set Achieveable Goals

The Effectiveness of Cognitive-Behavioral Treatment for Anxiety Disorders

Co-Dependency: An Issue of Control

The Pillars of the Self-Concept: Self-Esteem and Self-Efficacy

Catastrophe? Or Inconvenience?


Panic Assistance

Motivational Audios

Mindfulness Training

Rational Thinking

Relaxation for Children

Change Yourself--Don't Wait for the World to Change

Loving Kindness Meditation

Self-Esteem Exercise

Meadow Relaxation

Rainy Autumn Morning

Energizing Audios

Quick Stress Relief

Thinking Your Way to a Healthy Weight

Lies You Were Told

Choosing Happiness

Lotus Flower Relaxation

Audio Version of Article: Crazy-Makers: Passive-Aggressive People

Audio Version of Article: Why Are People Mean? Don't Take It Personally!

Audio Version of Article: Happiness Is An Attitude

All Audio Articles

Kindle Books by Dr. Monica Frank


Why You Get Anxious When You Don't Want To

Why People Feel Grief at the Loss of an Abusive Spouse or Parent

“Are You Depressed?”: Understanding Diagnosis and Treatment

15 Coping Statements for Panic and Anxiety

Beyond Tolerating Emotions: Becoming Comfortable with Discomfort

Emotion Training: What is it and How Does it Work?

How You Can Be More Resistant to Workplace Bullying

Are You Passive Aggressive and Want to Change?

When Your Loved One Refuses Help

The Porcupine Effect: Pushing Others Away When You Want to Connect

What if You Considered Other Peoples' Views?

5 Common Microaggressions Against Those With Mental Illness

What to Expect from Mindfulness-based Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (MCBT) When You Have Depression and Anxiety

Does Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy Lack Compassion? It Depends Upon the Therapist

When Needs Come Into Conflict

What to Do When Anger Hurts Those You Love

A Brief Primer On the Biology of Stress and How CBT Can Help

50 Tools for Panic and Anxiety

Coping With Change: Psychological Flexibility

Breaking Up is Hard to Do: Ending a Bad Relationship

I'm Depressed. I'm Overwhelmed. Where Do I Start?


Building Blocks Emotion Training

Hot Springs Relaxation

5 Methods to Managing Anger

Panic Assistance While Driving

Autogenic Relaxation Training

Rainbow Sandbox Mindfulness

Mindfulness Training

Riding a Horse Across the Plains

Cityscape Mindfulness

Change Yourself--Don't Wait for the World to Change

The Great Desert Mindfulness

Tropical Garden Mindfulness

Thinking Your Way to a Healthy Weight

Lies You Were Told

Probability and OCD

Choosing Happiness

Magic Bubbles for Children

Lotus Flower Relaxation

Cloud Castles for Children

Hot Air Balloon Motivation

All Audio Articles

PsychNotes April 2016

PsychNotes Index

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April 14, 2016       

Exploring Possibilities for Identity Achievement

by Monica A. Frank, Ph.D.
My 13-year-old granddaughter expressed distress that she didn't know what she wanted to do with her life. Starting high school, she was required to choose an occupational track that couldn't be changed easily. I was aghast! With everything we know about psychology and development, how can children be expected to make a commitment to a certain occupational field?

We need to teach children how to open themselves up to experiences. In high school, students need to have a variety of courses to help them learn about possibilities. Without such experience young people have less opportunity to find what is satisfying and fulfilling for them. Achieving an occupational identity isn't about having it identified for you at an early age. Nor should it limit you later on.

I didn't know I would be a psychologist in high school. When I didn't want to be a rock musician, I wanted to be a linguist—I wanted to learn languages and be a translator traveling the world. Even in college as a nontraditional student and mother of a young son I didn't know precisely what I wanted. It wasn't until my senior year when I was standing in the hallway talking with other psychology students about our future plans that I even knew I would apply to pursue a Ph.D. in clinical psychology. Each student, in turn, said they were applying to graduate school and when they looked to me, I said, “Yeah, that's what I'm going to do, too” because I was embarrassed to say I wasn't certain.

Even while in graduate school I was more interested in becoming a researcher than a therapist. But then during my post-doctoral fellowship I experienced using cognitive-behavioral therapy with people who had severe anxiety disorders. Again, my path diverged from what I planned.

One thing, though, I was certain about was that I didn't need to worry about making a choice for life. I knew that I could do many things and didn't have to settle for just one career. In college I also minored in writing and wrote for the college newspaper because writing was always a love of mine. What's more, I never knew that my interest in technology and computer science would eventually allow all these interests to converge and create Excel At Life.

This path unfolded because one thing clear throughout was being open to possibilities. Being open means pursuing a path but then allowing yourself to consider side paths when they present. Through these experiences you allow yourself to discover the purpose for your life. You don't have to have it all figured out in advance. However, this also doesn't mean to let yourself drift without a plan and wait for something to present. Pursue your interests but remain open to the possibilities.


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