Friday, June 26, 2009

Basic Learning Principles Help Marriage Counseling Practices

Here is another short article about Why Do I Do What I Do as a Marriage Counseling Professional?
An effective Psychologist, Relationship Advice provider, Life coach and Marriage Counseling practitioner (which means: help to bring a change), should always remember the first year in college, where the basic psychological principles were presented. Not all wheels could and should re-invent themselves. What do I do and why as a Marriage Counseling professional has a sound foundation, once basic Principles of Learning are applied.

Stage One - How It All Began:
Most human emotion and sex related interactions start due to an environmental condition that elicits a reflex response. A reflex is a simple unlearned response to a stimulus. In psychological textbook terms: once upon a time, when the two first met, there were: (1) an unconditioned stimulus—a stimulus that elicits a response without any prior learning, and (2) an unconditioned response—an unlearned reflexive reaction to that unconditioned stimulus. Using Psych 101 terms: everything started with a Classical Conditioning event: a neutral stimulus (i.e.: smell) that elicited an unlearned natural response (i.e.: attention and erotic sensation) was paired with a new stimulus (i.e.: her or his real face). As a result, the new face came to elicit a new response (i.e.: attraction, dating, sexual fantasies) that is identical or very similar to the natural reflex.
The best Marriage Counseling mission therefore is to lead the couple back into such a stage.

Stage Two - The Building Blocks:
Positive reinforcement is any of your behavior that leads to an increase of your partner’s behaviors. Marriage Counseling therefore has a lot to do with inventory check: what are the actions of each of you that lead to an increase of your partner’s behaviors that are desirable by you? Are they positive (i.e.: you ask something and your spouse razes some difficulty about it; you smile and ask again, so eventually your spouse accepts it) or problematic (i.e.: you ask something and get your spouse’ reservations; you then use loud and abusive tone so your spouse agrees with you, hoping to calm you down)?
Using Psych 101 terms: Marriage Counseling has a lot to do with Operant Conditioning:
learning from the consequences of our behavior. Many times the counseling meeting takes a form of a study session, as the counselor teaches the concept of Timing: reinforcements should be given within a short amount of time following the desired response. The greater the delay between the response and the reinforcement, the slower the learning of your partner would be.

Another basic concept within any Marriage Counseling process that involves sexual difficulties is Shaping: the method of successive approximations. Behaviors that are successively more similar to the desired behavior are reinforced.

Stage three - Targeting The Marriage Counseling Long Term Goals:
Classical conditioning usually involves reflexive, involuntary behavior that is controlled by the spinal cord or autonomic nervous system. This is how the Chemistry of Love is constructed. The more therefore you blend your life with erotic features that fit your spouse’s taste, the more you increase your chance to get to the promised land of continuous mutual attraction.
Operant conditioning usually involves more complex, voluntary behaviors that are mediated by our cognitive system. The more you identify appropriate reinforcements and link them to your spouse’s behaviors which you like, the more you increase the likelihood of achieving a pleasurable marriage life for yourself.

Dr. Joseph Abraham, Director, Center for Human Growth and Business Insights, Mechanicsburg, PA Tel 717-943.0959 Online Counseling on Behavioral issues and Small Business Advice Provider regarding efficiency and effectiveness.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

What and Why I Do What I Do As a Marriage Counseling Practitioner

100 Years of Marriage Counseling Theory and Practice

What Do I Do and Why as a Marriage Counseling Professional? In order to be a creative and effective Psychologist, Life coach and Marriage Counseling practitioner (means: help to make a change), I am also required to be a student. Not all wheels should re-invent themselves. What do I do and why as a professional Marriage Counselor has a 100 years of theory history.

Sigmund Freud (1856-1939) claimed that the roots of psychological problems are innate motives (sexual and aggressive) and that conscious mental processes have trivial importance compared with the unconscious mind. Since his time, the topics of sexual gratification and the need to control (a form of aggression) are the core issues in most marriage counseling cases.

B.F. Skinner (1904-1999): A strict behaviorist who commanded us to deal only with measurable and overt behaviors and expect behavioral changes as a result of reinforcements or sanctions. His ideas are the core of all structured learning and un-learning tasks of marital communications and role functions. ‘Shaping’ is the name of the game.

Albert Bandura (.. 1925.. ): his Social Learning Theory emphasizes the processes of learned behavior through observation and imitation of significant persons in our environment. Most undesirable behaviors, in regards to marriage harmony, like verbal, physical and substances abuse are well explained by his theory. Understanding the source is many times followed by treating and healing.

Humanistic Psychology (..1950-70..) takes for granted that human being possess an innate tendency to improve and determine their lives by the decisions they make. Abraham Maslow (1908-1970) theorized that we all try to achieve positive self esteem and to search for self actualization. Theses powerful motives explain both wide spread human habit to get married as well as many ‘bad marriage behaviors’, such as infidelity or divorce. Carl Rogers (1902-1987) developed the Unconditional Acceptance therapy method, which helps marriage partners to achieve a ‘second chance’ attitude, both from therapists and spouses.

Virginia Satir (1916-1988) helped to understand the required Change Process Model, which works well for two person’s team as well as for entire organizational change wave. She also trained the profession to pay only little attention to the “presenting issue" or the surface problem, since this is seldom the real problem; rather, to understand, and later change, how people cope with the issue, since their behavior at that point creates the problem.

Dr. Joseph Abraham, Director, Center for Human Growth and Business Insights, Mechanicsburg, PA Tel 717-943.0959 A Psychologist, Online Life Coach, Marriage Counselor and Relationship Advice provider. Psychologist and Life Coach and Marriage Counseling and Small Business Advice

Saturday, June 6, 2009

The Modern Psychologist and the Old Relationship Advice Tool: Your Dreams

Yes, it is true these days too: Relationship Advice and Marriage Counseling processes do benefit from your dreams...

In order to understand how and why, let us first explain the first term: 'Day Residue'. A large part of the content of dreams is related to occurrences going on in our lives during the day; they referred to as Day Residue.

And now to the second term: 'Dream Interpretation'. Modern theories of dream analysis frequently focus on the person’s interpretation of the dream rather than on the inherent symbolism (Freud) or the expression of archetypes (Jung). From this view: dreams are an internal replacement for external stimulation.

However, for Freud: dreams are the “Royal road to the unconscious”. Manifest content: refers to the overt story of the dream. Latent content: is the hidden, usually unconscious, message. According to Freud, these messages were expressed indirectly because they were threatening or shocking to the conscious personality. This assumption is the link between the traditional Dream Theory material and current modern counseling processes.
Dream interpretation is therefore a valuable counseling component since it can pinpoint to the larger framework: the roots deep in the psyche or within daily life. Dream images and associations are most instrumental in personal problem solving. Since every person is responsible for their own growth, progression, and health the solutions are many times inside their mind or spiritual domain.

The meanings of dream symbols and themes can be common or complex; will cross cultural, social and interpersonal boundaries and have distinctly different interpretations for each dreamer. Freud suggests that the main and common subjects and issues in our dreams are: human body and persons within our surroundings, parents, children, siblings, birth, and death. The main and common messages: a male is often represented as a building with regularly shaped sides. The female is represented as a building with porches, cupolas, wings, etc.; these are appendages for grasping onto and holding close. The birth experience is usually represented in water. Death is often represented as a journey.
As is true of the theory in general, Freud used most of his symbols to represent sexual ideas and objects. The number 3, for example, is a substitute for the male genitals.
Words that indicate penetration may also indicate penises—i.e., knives, swords, or tools. Any object or event that fights against gravity symbolized penile erections.
Female genitals, on the other hand, were represented by objects that enclose a space: pits, caverns, boxes, jars, luggage, pockets, mouths, and shoes, for example.

But… in order to be a good counselor and a responsible client we always remember Freud’s warning: “Oftentimes a cigar is only a cigar.”
Small Business Advice
Room and Efficiencies Rental
RideShare Commute

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Do Poor Relationship Have a Chance to Improve?

Do Poor Relationship Have a Chance to Improve? What Do We Know (so far) about Human Behavior that Allows an Answer?

Here are some basic facts and agreed upon assumptions that have a valuable impact regarding relationship advice, therapy, online counseling and traditional modes of counseling: they all do have a chance! Once we take a special look at the ‘Intimacy Factor’, we may declare the following positive statement: Poor relationship has 66% chance to be fixed.

1. Human beings are biological creatures – our biology determines our behavior to a grate extent, but we are not rigidly programmed by it.
2. Every person is different, yet much the same – our personalities, intellects and interests differ, but we are similar in our capacities to think, feel, remember and so on.
3. People can be understood fully only in the context of their cultural, ethnic identity and gender identity – since beliefs about right and wrong, food preference, language usage, religious practice, as well as male or female essence are influenced by the socio-cultural forces.
4. Human lives are a continuous process of change – because of the biological tract that leads us from infancy to old age, and because of life events and experiences.
5. Behavior is motivated – and helps us to meet our needs. However, not all our motives are simple or easy to reveal.
6. Human are social animals – and not only in order to accomplish things that single individuals cannot. We need company. We suffer when we are lonely.
7. People play an active part in creating their experiences – the human nervous system interprets the outside world and creates the reality for us.
8. Behavior can be adoptive or maladaptive – and each direction could be changed.

The following traits were isolated, along with the estimated percentage of the inherited trait:
• Extroversion (mixed easily, likes to be the center of attention): 61%
• Conformity (respects tradition and authority; follows the rules): 60%
• Worry (easily distressed and frustrated; feels vulnerable): 55%
• Creativity (tendency to become lost in thought and abstraction): 55%
• Paranoia (feels exploited, thinks “world is out to get me”): 55%
• Optimism (confident, cheerful, upbeat): 54%
• Cautiousness (avoids risks and dangers; takes safe route): 51%
• Aggressiveness (tends to be violent; has a taste for revenge): 48%
• Ambitiousness (works hard to achieve goals; perfectionist): 46%
• Orderliness (plans carefully; tries to make rational decisions): 43%
• Intimacy (prefers emotional closeness): 33%

The basic known facts and agreed upon assumptions about human behavior creates a valuable impact regarding counseling and therapy. Once we put together all we know about human nature, the optimistic point of view must capture our horizons.
The conclusion is both simple and impressive: we all are capable to adopt and change; relationship advice, therapy, online counseling and traditional modes of counseling do have a chance!


Dr. Joseph Abraham, Director, Center for Human Growth and Business Insights, Mechanicsburg, PA Tel 717-943.0959 A Psychologist, Online Life Coach, Marriage Counselor and Relationship Advice provider. Psychologist and Life Coach Online Counseling and Small Business Advice