Monthly Article Archives: October 1999

Helping Others to Feel Special and Appreciated: Overcoming a “Praise Deficit” – Part IIRobert Brooks, Ph.D.

In my last column I noted that I had read an article in which the author wrote that many people have a “praise deficit.” These words prompted me to think about an experience I had when I was a psychology trainee, an experience that exemplified someone practicing the opposite of a praise deficit. I had been quite anxious preparing for a presentation at Grand Rounds since I was not accustomed to speaking to large audiences, but when I finally spoke, things seemed to go well. Afterwards, my supervisor left a note in my mailbox that I had not expected. It read, “You did a great job today, Bob.” That note set a positive tone for my entire year as a trainee and was a great boost to my confidence. It also demonstrated that my supervisor cared about me. The concept of praise deficit is tied to my belief that one of our purposes in life should be to help others feel special and appreciated. Given this belief I began to ask my audiences of parents, educators, mental health professionals, and business people to consider such questions as: “Do you lead your personal and professional life in a manner that contributes

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