Early Behavioral Theories
By Deborah Beasley
The groundwork that laid the early theories for our current understanding of treating, and parenting children with emotional, psychological, and developmental disorders is about 60 years old. [ctt template="5" link="9SWqh" via="yes" ]In the last thirty years, research in the areas of trauma, stress, PTSD, and the child’s developing brain has intensified through the dedication of the superstars of the world of trauma, children, and affect-regulation @parent_coach[/ctt]
Noteworthy names include:
• John Bowlby and Mary Ainsworth, for their work in early parent child attachment. (Download John-Bowlby link for PDF.)
• Allen Shore for his extensive contemporary work in affect-regulation
• Peter Levine, Bruce Perry, and Bessel van der Kolk for their unstoppable research and discovery in the effects of trauma on the neurobiological and social-emotional development of children.
Their collective, groundbreaking, work is the sound philosophy of this training, backed by the science of neurobiology and neuropsychology.
[ctt template="5" link="RK_37" via="yes" ]We now know that the healing path for children and families with emotional and behavioral difficulties rests on the firm foundation of these principles: @parent_coach[/ctt]
1. Healthy relationship and attachment between the parent and child as its pivotal point.
2. Understanding affect-regulation and brain development as the fulcrum of healing in the family.
Our relationship-focused model combines the best strategies and methods of all other approaches. The results we seek in this coaching/parenting model are
• To support and maintain a healthy relationship between the parent and child and unity in the family.
• To respect the unique cultural differences in family composition, and
• To identify and build upon the individual strengths and qualities of parent and child.
This model uses the best practices of current behavioral, cognitive, sensorimotor and interpersonal approaches, as well as traditional wisdom and related modern science, to create a path to healing which best fits the circumstances and behavioral needs of individual families. We use what is usable within the context of a healing relationship and discard the rest.
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Mindset is about how you think and use your mental focus. The term emotions refer to your feelings, and each affects the other. -Emotion intertwines with mood, temperament, personality, disposition, and motivation.
Emotions and Strength
Want strength, then rile up your emotions like Norse warriors of long ago. The warriors were so called because they created fist of anger before entering the battlefield. They caused adrenaline to pump to prepare to win a war. In this agitated state, they felt invulnerable and accomplished feats of incredible strength.
Under extreme stress or emotional overwhelm, your body produces excess amounts of testosterone, adrenaline and cortisol. These hormones increase you heart rate, focus, awareness and muscle tone for the extra strength.
Use Your Emotional Strength for Calm, Collected Focus
Calm, collected focus is about creating and being in a "flow state."
We also call flow by several descriptors:
- Being in the zone or fully immersed mental state.
- Feeling of energized focus
- Full involvement
- Complete absorption of in what one does
- Results that are focused, engaged, maybe losing track of time.
A flow state is a feeling of calm, focused bliss, like in extreme sports when athletes persofrm effortlessly.Or like in music where the melody or the rhythm moves a person to sing or to dance.
No fear. No doubt. No bursts of anger or unwanted emotion.
You do your best work in a flow state. This is when we are happiest.
Do you try to live your life as much as possible. The problem is that you may have anxiety or stay overly busy with chores and things we need to do. These limitations leave you stressed, anxious or busy and they take you out of the moment. You face a challenge when your body and mind cannot possibly be in-sync when you are worrying.
Entering flow means being in the moment which not only makes you happy and confident, it also makes you unstoppable. You take control over your emotions.
So how do you take back control over your emotions?
- Check into how you feel, especially if your energy is low, or you you are distracted or even in a bad mood.
- To change your mood, I suggest Full-Wave Breathing to change your physiology in the literal sense.
- If you learn to breathe correctly (using belly breathing to fill the lower portion of the lungs, then the upper portion). If you use slow, controlled breaths, then you will be able to lower your heart rate, blood pressure, and calm your entire body.
- This will change your parasympathetic tone, taking you out of ‘fight or flight’ and into ‘rest and digest’. Try it the next time you feel overly stressed, overly competitive or worked up after an intense workout – your heart rate will slow and your mind will grow calmer.
- For your mental framework, another tool to use is called CBT---‘Cognitive Behavioral Therapy’ and this is a popular form of psychotherapeutic intervention used to treat phobias and other anxiety disorders.Take the intention of CBT strategies to look at the content of your thoughts. The self-talk that you give yourself to work yourself into a panic, or to calm yourself down. If you are thinking things like “I’m worried I might fall off that ledge” then of course you are going to be scared. If you think things like “I’m grateful for my friends” then you will be less likely to feel unhappy with where you are in life. You can use CBT to challenge long-held beliefs and to break negative self-talk habits by challenging your thoughts and testing your hypotheses. This is called ‘cognitive restructuring’.
- In the short term, you can use CBT techniques in order to more honestly assess your state of mind and your emotions and to then change the way you feel about a situation.So if you were stressed that you had a deadline you couldn’t meet and it was ruining your evening, then you might use cognitive restructuring in order to assess the thoughts making you stressed and replace them with more productive ones.For example, you might consider:
- What is the point of being stressed? Will it make matters better?
- What’s the worst case scenario? Would it really be that bad to tell the boss you can’t finish work on time? Are they expecting too much of you anyway?
- When was the last time you did this?
- Are there other ways you could lessen the blow?
- What would you rather pay attention to right now?
Combine this with controlled breathing and bring your focus to the thing that is most useful to you right now.
In the long term, you can use CBT in order to bridge the gap between your thoughts and your physiology. You see, your physiology and your emotions are designed to drive you toward desirable states: sex, food, shelter, love, success, social acceptance.
Clarify Life Coaching
Recently, this coaching topic has been the target of a lot of jokes and demeaning cartoons. Many people have no realistic notion of what it is all about. Life coaching is more than assisting people to set and attain personal or professional goals.
As a life coach, my definition of life coaching is: catalyzing in others personally-desired changes they will make to create a lifestyle of their dreams...one that will work better for them.
In order to effectively do my job described above, I regularly make inquiries about the client. There is a difference between "questions" and "inquiries." The former can be answered immediately after they are asked.
[tweetshare tweet="Inquiries however, are designed to be thought about, deliberated upon and regularly reviewed by the client." username="parent_coach"]
Some of the best inquiries a qualified life coach can make are described below.
What would you like to gain by working with me as your life coach? In order to assist a client to attain their desired outcomes, it becomes important in life coaching to know what those outcomes are
How can you modify your thinking and behavior so that you increase the probability those outcomes occur? One definition of "insanity" is engaging in the same behavior over and over while thinking the outcomes will be different.
What new thinking habits, emotional habits, behavioral habits or social habits are you willing to develop that will increase the likelihood your lifestyle will be different three months (six months, a year, 10 years) from now? If you want to learn and practice new habits, you need to practice them regularly for at least 3-4 weeks in order to make them "unconscious."
What can you think, do or say today that will give you practice at strengthening those chosen new habits that replace the old ones? You can never "unlearn" the habits that created your current lifestyle. You can only learn and strengthen new habits that will replace engaging in the old ones! Th.is is the heart of life coaching.
What are some new choices and decisions you can make that will move you toward creating and enjoying the outcomes/consequences you want to incorporate into your new lifestyle? ? Despite making mistakes and engaging in unskilled behaviors, you might as well risk making new choices that you will enjoy.
With what kind of people will you surround yourself to be supportive of you as you create this new lifestyle? No one ever accomplishes important lifestyle changes without the support of others...even if such support is indirect or out of your awareness.
What are your current strengths, talents and abilities you can use or strengthen that will assist you in attaining your desired outcomes? If you are still alive, you already have some personal abilities that are useful in creating a modified or new lifestyle.
What new habits will result in:
A lower stress level;
A new sense of accomplishment;
A positive redefinition of negative experiences;
An ability to focus internally and lessen your "reactivity;"
An increase in your awareness of the consequences of your choices;
A lessening of your fears and anxieties;
Developing beneficial and enjoyable social and interpersonal relationships;
Developing your happiness and enjoyment about being alive.
If you would like to explore the above inquiries, you just might want to receive assistance from a qualified and experienced life coach...despite all the jokes you may have heard.
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Dr. Thomas is a licensed clinical psychologist and certified life coach. He is on the faculty of the International University of Professional Studies. He is the co-author of the book, "Total Life Coaching: 50+ Life Lessons, Skills, and Techniques to Enhance Your Practice...and Your Life" (W. W. Norton, 2005). He leads seminars/workshops on: Cognitive Behavioral Therapy; Life Coaching; Business Coaching; Creativity; Academic Excellence; Creating High-Quality Relationships; Effective Communication; Effective Leadership and many others.
- Lloyd J. Thomas, Ph.D.
- 3421 Polk Circle West
- Wellington, CO 80549