The key to helping any person is to be able to relate to them in a manner that is satisfying and gratifying. This is an enormous task for not only must you have some basic understanding of their worldview (their beliefs about themselves, of other people including what they believe other people believe about them, and their expectations for the future; you must also know thyself. People perceive what they expect to perceive: angry people expect to see offense, etc. Too often we supply the very fodder to assure people with problems in living that they are right to be angry, anxious, or sad. Use these concepts as a means of expanding your own thinking: develop a ‘beginner’s mind’. Nothing is quite as it seems – can you allow the process of change to develop?
The natural mental process of judgement tends to reject new thoughts as not productive and inhibit the ability to get to more creative thoughts. If we are to innovate we need to develop methods to overcome this characteristic in formal ways.
What is the relationship between sin and punishment? We believe there is a cognitive connection. In fact, there is reason to believe that faith brings serenity because it provides a focus on positive thought that results in positive behavior that results in positive outcomes that results in reward and reinforcement.
One of the criteria for changing the way we think is to identify different ways to think about a common subject. This is a quick outline of the allegorical roles that might be assumed to help you change the way you think.
No amount of skill or quality of technique is sufficient to help people with problems in living, unless there is a trust relationship that sanctions the Mentor to give help. It is impossible to simply invent such a relationship; it pivots on who you are much more than what you do. However, even people with character sometime make mistakes in relating which destroys this critical path to helping.
The goal of every helper must be to first understand the person whom they serve. This requires a process of engaging that person in a kind of communication in which the person can and will share their innermost thoughts from which you can infer in a kind of retro engineering of their inner logic. Once the helper understands the inner logic of the person they are serving, they become capable of helping that person either change the inner logic or find better behaviors to serve their goals.
The traditional approaches to people with thoughts and behaviors that cause them problems in living tend also to increase the problems. Delinquency is often punished rather than rehabilitated, and mental health “controls” through chemical or physical restraints. Both procedures are easily interpreted as unhelpful, if not downright hostile. Despite the poor prognosis and stability given by the mental health professionals, all is not lost. For our cognitive structures and even the unconscious contexts, are open to conscious consideration and decision-making.
School behavior plans are often just a statement of how the educator wants the student to behave with rewards for production. This fails by a wide margin in being effective. When seeing such plans which are predestined to failure, it occurs that there are a few thoughts about how to better prepare.
What is the underlying problem that generates the symptoms that define the problem statement? Answers such as mental ‘illness’, bad schools, bad home environments, etc., are not the answer. Attempts to resolve the problem by covering the symptoms with pharmaceuticals or ‘blaming’ parents, teacher, human services workers or the children themselves are simply acts of ‘shifting the burden’.
There is danger in being an expert for in the mind of a beginner there are many possibilities, but in the mind of an expert there is only one. Professional clinicians need to discover the essence of their client’s ‘inner logic’, but often fail. All of the historic material given to you about the client’s past performances and the observations of other professionals combines with your own expertise to create a barrier to understanding. More importantly, perhaps, you have to watch as well as listen.
A functional behavior assessment is virtually mandatory whenever one works with a child’s behavior. The intent is to make a hypothesis about the function of the behavior. Knowing that, we can test the hypothesis and then find alternate ways that the child may reach those goals. Finally, we can then teach new skills to reach the goals more appropriately. Embedded in this description is of course, thought.