Throughout the Year 1: Thriving Not Surviving project we heard from lots of newly qualified Occupational Therapists (NQOTs) about the challenges they faced to their wellbeing in the first months of practice. One of the things which came through loud and clear was, ‘I keep beating myself up with negative thinking’ and ‘I often doubt my ability to do something.’ Thoughts like:

  • “Are you sure that’s the right thing to say? Keep quiet”
  • “That client can tell that I haven’t a clue what I’m doing”
  • “Right now, my supervisor thinks I’m the worst NQOT they’ve ever seen”

In coaching terms these kinds of thoughts are often referred to as stemming from our inner critic. A voice that, if left unchecked, will have a significant negative impact on you during your first year of practice. When listened to, your inner critic can have a detrimental impact to your well-being, convince you that your clinical knowledge is almost non-existent or that it’s not worth trying something out because ‘it’s bound to go wrong’.

The thing about an inner critic is that its overwhelming desire is to keep us safe from harm. Therefore when we find ourselves in new and unfamiliar territory or are thinking of taking on a new challenge its voice gets louder.

So, no wonder that during the first months of practice such negative thoughts come to the fore. It’s natural. However, there is something you can do about it.

Quietening Your Inner Critic

One of the pocket guides we created in the Year 1 Project may be just what you are looking for. The Quietening Your Inner Critic guide, is something to help you in challenge your negative thinking. We started with the basics:


  • What is an inner critic?
  • Where do these thoughts come from?

We then created a series of simple exercises designed to increase your awareness of your inner critic thinking and reduce its impact:

  • Recognising your inner critic triggers
  • A playful way of recognising your inner critic
  • Realistic vs Inner Critic thinking
  • What your inner critic is trying to protect you from?

Quietening Your Inner Critic is just one of six wellbeing pocket guides. They all adopt a self-coaching approach and are full of tools that you might find useful. The others are

  • Building Your Network
  • Treating Yourself with Compassion
  • Becoming Your Own Cheerleader
  • Finding Balance
  • Finding Perspective in Tough Situations.

All are free to downloaded from the Elizabeth Casson website.