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self-criticism

By Sharon Martin, MSW, LCSW

Self-criticism, or being overly hard on yourself, is usually based on cognitive distortions—rigid, all-or-nothing, perfectionist thinking. And it isn’t helpful or healthy.

By Lucie Hemmen, PhD

Teens are usually unaware of how harsh their thoughts about themselves (and others) can be. Spark awareness by offering your honest feedback: “Wow, Emma. You can be really mean to yourself with your thinking, can’t you?” Emma will likely register mild surprise or curiosity about your reaction. You can deepen her understanding by asking, “If someone you loved was struggling with your situation, how would you treat them?” Teens immediately grasp the incongruence.

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