Attention Seeking is OK

During my time as a mental health nurse, I often heard, “Attention Seeking” used as a derogatory term and indeed during my early days of this part of my NHS career I was encouraged in this way of thinking. However I would like to ask everyone reading this a few questions. Do you like to be liked? Is positive attention something that makes you feel good? How do you get this positive attention? It doesn’t matter what the behaviour that elicits this attention is but that behaviour is Attention Seeking!

When the phrase is used in a pejorative way, what is meant is usually I would suggest attention seeking behaviour that is not liked by the person describing it as such. This behaviour may be merely something that goes against our social expectations or it may be self harm, for example cutting or taking an overdose, it may be violence either verbal or physical.

This does not mean I see these things as acceptable or condone them, rather the understanding that we all have attention seeking behaviours lets me concentrate when working with them on why this behaviour and not something that is more acceptable by either myself or society?

Reasons for this vary widely. Most often it is a belief that the socially acceptable ways of getting attention don’t work. Often for the person involved this is true. They live in a family or with others who do not recognise the cues and respond to their needs unless they are presented in a more extreme way.

Another common scenario is that they have grown up in conditions as outlined above and even on leaving the situation where they could only get the attention they needed by extreme measures they continue to use them because they have not learned alternatives.

I do work with some clients to whom this applies, both in my Cambridge Aromatherapy Practice and in my work every four weeks at Huntingdon Youth Centre.

Essential oils that I use typically include Frankincense, Rose, Rose Geranium, Citrus oils and German Chamomile.

The massage I do with these clients varies from a simple hand massage to full body. (excluding breasts, pubic area etc.) Also excluding any part of the body the client is not happy with my seeing it or massaging it. The client being in control is vital in this.

If you want to know more about how I work do get in touch, particularly if you have been hurt by having this label used against you in the past.01