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Enough with the Whining

Julie de Azevedo Hanks

Some therapists are so sick of clients whining they are using tough love to get people to stop complaining and take action to solve their problems, according to this article in the Wall Street Journal.

One of the therapists the newspaper interviewed was National Association of Social Workers member Julie de Acevedo Hanks, MSW, LCSW, who runs a practice in Salt Lake City.

“A lot of whiners don’t know they whine,” Hanks said.  “I want them to ask themselves, ‘Would I want to hang out with this person?'”

Hanks encourages clients not to dwell on issues they whine about a lot, such as their mother or their ex. She has even recorded some sessions on audio so clients can hear how much they whine.

Hanks says whining often masks a deeper emotion, such as fear. For instance, a person may whine about their boss because they fear their career has stalled.

“Whining is just a powerless complaint,” she said. “Understand this and you can get to the root of what is wrong.”

Hanks was nominated for a 2012 National Association of Social Workers Media Award for best website. To visit her website click here. And to learn more about how social workers help clients overcome mental and emotional hurdles visit NASW’s “Help Starts Here” Mind and Spirit website by clicking here.

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3 Comments

  1. People who tend to whine a lot, do it because they want to either be heard, or they want people to feel sorry for them. Most of the time, as they whine, it gets so easy to do it, it just comes naturally. When you tell that person to stop whining, they think that you are not respecting their feelings or that you are just plain rude. But, in the end, they will do exactly the same if in the same situation. There are times when you whine about something, but it is something that you can do nothing about. That makes it a lot different, seeing as there might not be anything real you can do to change that circumstances. But then, of course, there are things that you whine about and you know for a fact that you can actually do something to change it, but you feel that it is just easier to keep whining about it. That way, you do not have to actually deal with it face to face. It is natural for people to whine some time in their life, it all depends on the circumstances. If you do not plan to do something to better your circumstances and just keep on whining, people tend to stop listening.

  2. This article is idiotic. Part of the reason individuals go to therapy is to talk to a trained professional about their personal problems. It’s called “talk therapy” for a reason. Many people find it cathartic to verbalize the issues that have been festering inside them for a period of time. It’s not “whining”, it’s releasing pent up negative emotion.

    If someone continues to whine about a parent of a broken relationship, it’s obvious that the individual is still traumatized by past experiences with that person. A therapist’s job is to listen and help empower this person to overcome such problems, not make them feel even more insecure. People come to therapy as a cry for help, oftentimes because their loved ones have stopped listening, caused further emotional damage, or have given poor advice. To dismiss their problems as “whining” is counterproductive and entire defeats the purpose of talk therapy.

  3. This article shows you that there is a clear difference. Ofcourse therapists are there to listen to one’s “whining”, but a therapist also tries to get to the root of the problem by trying to help you stop your whining. One goes to therapy for a reason, and that is to get help. Does one sit in therapy and just whine or does one discuss their problems? You discuss your problems and you and your therapist try to solve any unresolved issues that might be causing you to whine about whatever it is you are whining about. This article basically tries to teach people that constantly whining about something, is not going to make it better. You have to do something to resolve the issue, and the first step is by going to therapy. Now someone wants to sit in therapy and carry on whining? No, it does not work like that. A therapist can only help someone if they want to be helped and costantly whining about something, just shows everyone, including your therapist, that you do not want anyones help, but your own. So, sometimes, some tough love is required to get to the root of the problem. A therapist breaks you down tobuild you up again. That is the only way, you as a patient, can get the help you need, and get better so that you can live a wonderful life once more.

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