Monthly Article Archives: September 1999

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

A number of years ago I received a draft of an article about disciplining children. One phrase in the article especially caught my attention. The author wrote that many people have a “praise deficit.” As I read the words “praise deficit” I immediately thought about an experience that had occurred years earlier when I was a psychology trainee, an experience that had a marked impact on my life. As a trainee I was asked to present at my first clinical Grand Rounds. This was the beginning of my career and I was not accustomed to speaking to large audiences. To be honest, I was a nervous wreck. I thought of all of the things that could go wrong, which of course served to heighten my anxiety. Fantasies of forgetting what I wanted to say, of losing my place, of sweating profusely, of collapsing on stage pervaded my thinking. Adding to my anxiety was the fact that most of the people in the audience were staff and trainees I would continue to see every day. While some might say that having familiar people in the audience should lessen one’s anxiety, all I could think about was that if I really fell

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