Good Life with Coaching & Learning Good Life with Coaching and Learning with Jennie S. Bev. 2012-09-06T17:24:51Z https://blogs.psychcentral.com/good-life/feed/atom/ Jennie S. Bev, MS <![CDATA[Existential Loneliness]]> http://blogs.psychcentral.com/good-life/?p=142 2012-09-06T17:24:51Z 2012-09-05T20:40:30Z Battered TreeI have been away from this blog for quite awhile due to a health issue requiring surgery and an on-going relationship issue. Both combined is enough to make me think my life over. At this low point in life, existential loneliness is vivid.

I have been questioning:

  • Why do good people experience unfairness?
  • What does love mean?
  • What is my life purpose?
  • Am I the cause of these unfavorable incidents?
In dark hours, we are so restricted with what we can see, think, and feel at that time. Being around friends and relatives who don’t quite understand how things work cognitively might not help because they tend to relate our specific experience with their past experiences, which can be quite different from what we are experiencing.
These incidents occurred in a new environment, which I thought might have been contributed to the overall confusion I experienced. Thus, I have decided to go back to my hometown in Silicon Valley, California, in order to experience the so-called “normalcy.” I believe that a stable environment would provide a neutral backdrop for my search of existence.
In a nutshell, as a study, “existential loneliness” was pioneered by Søren Kierkegaard (1813-1855) and Martin Heidegger (1889-1976), in which they examined and shed light on:
  • Existential Depression
  • Existential Absurdity
  • Existential Meaninglessness
  • Existential Void
  • Existential Anxiety
  • Existential Splitting
  • Existential Guilt
  • Existential Understanding of Death
  • Existential Despair
  • Existential Insecurity
  • Obstacle to Existential Freedom
It is all right that we experience “loneliness” from time to time, for it’s a human thing. After all, life is 50% happiness and 50% sadness. As long as we learn from what we are experiencing, we grow as an individual. In the end, it’s the freedom of knowing and unknowing that would complete us. 
“We are a log in the river. In the end, we arrive at the sea,” Erik Soriano once said. Life is a pilgrimage with unexpected events and results. A big and accepting heart would make the journey more meaningful.
Believe.
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Jennie S. Bev, MS <![CDATA[Myths and Facts of Dissociative Disorder]]> http://blogs.psychcentral.com/good-life/?p=137 2012-06-01T11:59:32Z 2012-06-01T05:44:55Z dance-nation-boomIn certain Southeast Asian cultures, individuals who are experiencing “trance” tend to be regarded as “special” and can “help others” while at the same time enjoying monetary donations, despite their “social calling.”

For someone who was trained in Western wasy of thinking, the notion of such giftedness is a bit too much to chew.

In the study of psychology, an individual who seems to be separated from his or her original self is experiencing memory disconnection between past, present and future. When they are experiencing a major disruption of memory, they are experiencing “dissociation” or “separation” from the rest of their personality, which is basically an accumulation of memories connected from the day we were born.

Depending on the type of memories being disconnected, dissociative disorders known to date according to DSM-IV-TR are: dissociative amnesia, dissociative fugue, dissociative identity disorder, and depersonalization disorder.

Dissociative amnesia occurs when an individual experiences periods of forgetfulness, particularly on events that were traumatic and painful, which can be selective, temporary, or generalized.

Dissociative fugue is experienced when an individual forgets the existing identity, travels to a distant place, and may even adopt a new identity completely separated from the previous one. According to Ronald J. Comer in Fundamentals of Abnormal Psychology, 0.2 percent of population experiences dissociative fugue. This type of dissociation may occur for hours, days, weeks, or months with sudden “awakening.”

Dissociative personality disorder is also known as “multiple personality disorder.” It is experienced by individuals with two or more separate personalities. Each personality has his or her own sets of memories, feelings, characteristics, behaviors and thought processes. Trance is the “switching process” from one personality to another. When the “switch” is done, most likely the personality is completely different.

In certain cultures, those experience trance regularly, are also considered “mediums” for the departed, thus people like to ask them questions as if they were “from the past” and “knowing-all” entities.

The interesting thing with such “trance” phenomenon is: it can be experienced simultaneously within a group of people.  When it occurs, it becomes a social phenomenon and a similar socio-economic pattern can be observed: repressive environment. According to psychodynamic perspective, when our survival mechanism, which suppresses unpleasant experiences, is excessively used, we tend to sweep them out into another “garbage can,” which is the other subpersonality. Thus, when a group of people experience “trance” at the same time, it is a strong indicator of social repression in the environment.

Another perspective that can be used to analyze dissociative personality disorder is behavioral view, in which a behavior is a learned response through “conditioning.” When an individual forgets something, what does he or she learn? Does he or she feel better afterward? If it does make him or her feel better, it is a reinforcing conditioning factor? Self-hypnosis may also be a factor, which may have started during childhood, in an age that children go in and out of state of hypnosis.

The mind is a mysterious and powerful territory. Human beings haven’t tapped into its entirety and we’ll keep being fascinated by how human minds work. In advanced societies, science is the preferred path for explanations of any “mystery.”

In the land where time stands still, all kinds of ghostlings often become the “answer” to a “mystery.”[]

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Jennie S. Bev, MS <![CDATA[Childhood Disorders]]> http://blogs.psychcentral.com/good-life/?p=130 2012-05-04T14:16:05Z 2012-05-04T06:48:01Z ADHD (Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder) is a common disorder among children. ODD (Oppositional Defiant Disorder) and CD (Conduct Disorder), are less common, but many children have them.

Ten percent of children have CD at one point in time and 75 percent of them are boys. Eight percent of children have ODD. What are ODD and CD? What are the behavioral symptoms? What should parents do about their children with ODD or CD? What treatments and interventions are available to them?

In general, misbehaving does not cause long-term adverse effects. A child may cry himself to sleep and is likely to forget the incident on the following day. In children with ODD and CD, however, the behaviors are hostile and defiant, not only disobedient.

For instance, it is quite normal for children to feel miserable temporarily, but not for a prolonged period, after being scolded for breaking a plate. A child with ODD and CD, however, would be deeply angered and feel enormous resentment by breaking more plates deliberately or doing other destructive acts.

A child with CD (Conduct Disorder) is likely to resort to extreme measures when they are angry over a misbehavior or disappointment. They would harm people (both children and adults) and animals, including making threats to kill them or even act upon killing small animals.

A child with CD might steal, or break into a property and rob it, symptoms of bullying behavior. Children with CD are likely to show significant judgmental impairment and most of them show the symptoms of ADHD.

A child with ODD and CD may impose a burden on society later on. Some of them may advance as rapists and murderers in adolescence and adulthood. Without early intervention and proper treatment, the society (including parents, educators and psychotherapists) will fail them. When their behaviors advance significantly in adulthood, it may be a case of too little help too late, especially when there are victims involved.

Causes of ODD and CD include biological and genetic factors, being conceived and raised in a drug abusing household, and exposure to a violent community and traumatic incidents. Lacking social support at home, where parenting is inadequate, also contributes to the disorder. Thus, it is crucial for parents and teachers to identify whether their students are among peers who live in families with adequate parenting and good parent-children relationships. The risks of having ODD and CD are more prevalent among families with low-income, single parents, schizophrenic and drug abusing parents and low education.

Prevention, of course, is preferred over treatment. “At risk” youths can be encouraged to join mentoring programs, sports and other positive activities. The stress level that they experience should be brought down, so they can feel worthy and enjoy positive activities.

When a child with ODD or CD is identified, clinical psychotherapists are likely to introduce sociocultural and child-focused treatments. In a sociocultural treatment, the whole family or the parents are likely expected to get involved actively in parent-child interaction therapy and parent management training. Parents are trained in how to interact with their child positively, using positive reinforcements, and establishing proper boundaries. The child with ODD or CD will be trained in how to cope with negativity and their urges to respond negatively with problem-solving skills and anger coping skills.

As parents and educators, we should always keep our eyes open and be alert of seriously defiant behaviors that border or may advance to criminal acts. If an angry child is behaving like a villain, they are likely requiring our serious attention immediately. It is better to be safe and intervene while they are young and treatable.[]

Reference:

Comer, Ronald J. (2008). Fundamentals of Abnormal Psychology. New York, NY: Worth Publishers.

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Jennie S. Bev, MS <![CDATA[Social Power and Stages of Relationship]]> http://blogs.psychcentral.com/good-life/?p=124 2012-04-25T14:16:29Z 2012-04-25T05:24:10Z Footsteps in the SandIn social relationships, consciously and subconsciously, we are playing “tug-of-war” with others. Exchanges of energy occur at various levels; those with higher social power tend to “steal” energy from those with lower ranks.

By taking energy from those with less social power than us, we actually make them less secure and less trusting. Such abuse of power occurs in any direct and indirect subordination relationships, such as parents-children, governor-governed, manager-managed, employer-employee, etc.

In an ideal world, we all live with mutual respect and don’t “steal” each other’s energy, despite the direct and indirect subordination relationship. This explains the importance of good parenting, good management, and good governance.

The more respectful and equal our relationship with others, the more harmonious and peaceful world we live in. This contributes to the on-going evolution of the natural world.

In general, there are four stages in a relationship, according to Shippensburg University professor Toru Sato in The Ever-Transcending Spirit: The Psychology of Human Relationships, Consciousness, and Development.

First, mutual interest. It is an important stage, in which curiosity and mutual respect color the journey from the unifying point to the early “getting to know each other” stage. Exchanges of positive energy are expected in various “honeymoon” activities.

Second, power struggle. It is another important stage in which individuals try to find out “who has more power” between them. Conflicts and arguments tend to occur. In evolutionary psychology, various alert systems are turned on at this stage, allowing the individual to “fight for power,” which is necessary for “survival.”

The honeymoon phase has ended and negotiation, bargaining, and compromising occur to save or to continue with the relationship. If the individuals shared positive energies, they may take it to the next level and allow the relationship to flourish. If more negative energy was shared, the relationship may not survive.

Third, codependence. It is the stage where exchanges of energy occur in creating a balanced relationship. Giving and taking are necessary to make the relationship less insecure and more respectful. Negotiations are still apparent but an overall picture of mutual understanding has been laid as the foundation.

Fourth, mutual respect. Deep respect has been reached and no “stealing” energy is involved, or at least significantly minimized. The energy level between individuals is balanced and both are unified with the same or similar long-term goals in preserving the relationship.

We may not realize that as we become more powerful in the society, the more powerful we are in our capacity to “steal” other’s energy. Our employers and the government have the most power to “steal” our energy. When stolen energy has reached an extremely high level, we can expect to see catastrophe.

Keep an even level of energy exchanges and don’t let your energy get “stolen” by those with higher social power. Let’s create mutually respectful relationships.[]

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Jennie S. Bev, MS <![CDATA[Consulting, Therapy and Coaching: Demystified]]> http://blogs.psychcentral.com/good-life/?p=117 2012-04-19T14:26:48Z 2012-04-19T11:46:54Z Human Behavior Research Conference - 1How do you define and introduce yourself? Are you a consultant, a therapist, or a coach?

Sure, if you are trained as a psychologist in a university, then you’re likely a “therapist.” But some positive psychologists also claim that they are “coaches.” And other psychologists who specialize in organizational behavior call themselves “consultants.”

So, what are the differences of these three terms? Are there any overlaps?

Here are the differences according to Start it Up! Start Your Successful Coaching Business by Erik Bowman.

 

Consulting:

  • Results oriented
  • Strive for specific outcome
  • Deals with future outcomes
  • Organizational focus: work on finding remedies and solutions to problems
  • Provide assessments and specific steps to be taken to solve problems

Therapy:

  • Treatment oriented
  • Strive for personal insight
  • Deals mostly with the past
  • Retrospective focus: dealing with conscious-unconscious
  • Use cognitive and behavioral methods to analyze problems

Coaching:

  • Goal oriented
  • Strive for personal achievement
  • Deals with present days and future outcomes
  • Prospective focus: work on finding untapped potential
  • Use a large variety of methods to help others define goals and ways to reach those goals
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Jennie S. Bev, MS <![CDATA[Our Brain on Fiction]]> http://blogs.psychcentral.com/good-life/?p=107 2012-04-09T03:18:37Z 2012-04-09T02:30:06Z Paris 2012I admit that I don’t read romance books that much. I read detective and science fiction books, but none of them contain much romantic plot. A practical person by nature, anything “overly romantic” is corny to me.

An article by Annie Murphy Paul in New York Times on March 17th, 2012 titled “Your Brain on Fiction” shook my core.  Perhaps I should read more romance fictions, or well, at least, more fiction books.

Cited from Paul’s article:

Researchers have discovered that words describing motion also stimulate regions of the brain distinct from language-processing areas. In a study led by the cognitive scientist Véronique Boulenger, of the Laboratory of Language Dynamics in France, the brains of participants were scanned as they read sentences like “John grasped the object” and “Pablo kicked the ball.” The scans revealed activity in the motor cortex, which coordinates the body’s movements. What’s more, this activity was concentrated in one part of the motor cortex when the movement described was arm-related and in another part when the movement concerned the leg.

The brain, it seems, does not make much of a distinction between reading about an experience and encountering it in real life; in each case, the same neurological regions are stimulated. Keith Oatley, an emeritus professor of cognitive psychology at the University of Toronto (and a published novelist), has proposed that reading produces a vivid simulation of reality, one that “runs on minds of readers just as computer simulations run on computers.” Fiction — with its redolent details, imaginative metaphors and attentive descriptions of people and their actions — offers an especially rich replica. Indeed, in one respect novels go beyond simulating reality to give readers an experience unavailable off the page: the opportunity to enter fully into other people’s thoughts and feelings.

The novel, of course, is an unequaled medium for the exploration of human social and emotional life. And there is evidence that just as the brain responds to depictions of smells and textures and movements as if they were the real thing, so it treats the interactions among fictional characters as something like real-life social encounters.”

Thus, reading fiction would be useful to stimulate parts of brain that we don’t use or stimulate that much. Reading fiction is just like having real-life social interactions and those who have limited opportunities to interact with others may gain some benefits. Reading fiction is a good way to balance our brain chemistry without having to experience it in real-life.

A book of fiction is a laboratory of life packaged with a lot of fun. If you read about love, then love will fill your heart and brain. It’s pretty cool. []

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Jennie S. Bev, MS <![CDATA[Psychological Abnormality Defined]]> http://blogs.psychcentral.com/good-life/?p=101 2012-04-07T17:13:22Z 2012-04-07T05:31:22Z Going Somewhere Sometimes we ask ourselves, “Am I normal?” I usually double-check whether I’ve closed and locked the door or not, which seems like I may have the so-called Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder.  I’m also considered “arrogant” by Asian standards as I always speak my mind, thus some people consider me “narcissistic.”

From time to time, I wonder whether I’m “normal.”

What’s normal enough?

The question is: by whose standards are you “normal” or “abnormal” ? Depending on the society we live in, a behavior can be considered either normal or abnormal. In Japanese culture, honor is taken seriously, thus any incident that hurts one’s pride is worthy of self-killing or suicide. In the United States, however, the first thought that comes to mind whenever someone kills himself is: clinical depression.

Thus, culture determines whether one’s behavior or suspected “psychological pathology” is abnormal or not. “Milder” and “somewhat accepted” bizarre behaviors, for instance, may be called “eccentric” instead of “abnormal.” An artist who paints with his own saliva, for instance, may be considered “eccentric” instead of “abnormal.”

In general, the four common features of an “abnormality” are: deviance, distress, dysfunction, and danger.

Deviance. Any deviation from accepted norms in a society (or a culture) is considered abnormal. For instance, in western countries, talking to one’s self is enough to raise a red flag. However, in eastern countries where mysticism is considered an important part of life, talking to one’s self or appearing to have a different personality may be considered “the residence of a spirit in the body of a medium.” In psychological term, interestingly, the person is experiencing dissociative personality disorder. But in certain cultures, he might be considered a successful shaman.

Distress. Acting unusually doesn’t automatically make one “abnormal.” For instance, a solo world traveler rides his bike to 100 countries worldwide. We may think it’s “abnormal” but as long as it doesn’t give distress to the individual and others around him, it is simply “eccentric” instead of “abnormal.” When interviewed, the solo bike rider may even feel proud of his achievement as the first person who travels the world on a bicycle.

Dysfunction. Another test of “abnormality” is whether a behavior causes a dysfunction in everyday activities. Grieving may take a while to pass, but a clinical depression doesn’t seem to pass and the person is likely to withdraw from everyday activities and to stop communication with family members and friends at some point.

Danger. Whenever an individual poses a risk of danger to herself or others, then it’s most likely that she is “abnormal.” However, this variable doesn’t occur in every case of “abnormality,” as many psychological pathologies don’t result in suicide or homicide. Though it’s an exception instead of a rule, any threat to “kill” or “harm” one’s self or others is definitely a vivid red flag.

By understanding what constitutes an “abnormal” behavior, we should be able to observe ourselves and others in light of living the Good Life.[]

Reference:

Comer, Ronald J. Fundamentals of Abnormal Psychology. New York, NY: Worth Publishers.

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Jennie S. Bev, MS <![CDATA[Perfectionism: Virtue or Vice?]]> http://blogs.psychcentral.com/good-life/?p=92 2012-04-06T02:28:12Z 2012-04-05T02:30:54Z Path to perfection“You are such a perfectionist,” may sound like a compliment. But is it, really? In working on any project, it would be nice to have a tinge of perfectionism to ensure an excellent result. However, too large a dose of perfectionism may become more of a liability than an asset.

According to Flett and Hewitt, perfectionism can be directed inwardly or outwardly. Inward perfectionists tend to ruminate on the slightest idea of imperfection of themselves. Outward perfectionists are directed at others, which explains why they are tough on others and become frustrated of others’ less-than-perfect stance.

Perfectionism can also be directed on all domains of life, which is “generalized,” or directed on specific domains of life or “situational” perfectionism.

In addition, perfectionism can be categorized into primary and secondary, in the former its pursuit of perfection is the beginning and the end and in the latter is a means to an end. Whichever type it is, perfectionism pivots around approval, reflection and control. Researchers Million and Davis called it a conscientious compulsive variant of OCPD (Obsessive Compulsive Personality Disorder).

In short, perfectionism deals with an all-or-nothing state of mind, in which a failure is always fatal and total, never lightweight, never negotiable, nor partial. A perfectionist sees the world as either going his or her way or not going anywhere. A perfectionist always doubts and is prone to bouts of depression. They scrutinize themselves and others; they are never satisfied with whatever they have because when things go awry, they would start feeling completely inadequate and lost. And things will go awry, naturally, because it is just the law of nature to change and everything comes in cycles.

Present Perfect, a book by psychotherapist Pavel Somov, offers a new way in looking at perfectionism. The old notion of perfectionism involves rejection of reality and self-rejection, while in the new concept of perfection, it involves acceptance of reality and self-acceptance. Somov further recommends for perfectionists to cultivate these seven habits: making own meaning, noticing ordinary perfection, being in the present moment, making conscious choices, accepting self, accepting uncertainty, forgiving and performing compassionate acts.

Perfectionism may sound like a virtue, but it may not be so, unless you turn it into acceptance of reality and self-acceptance instead of rejection of reality and self-rejection.[]

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Jennie S. Bev, MS <![CDATA[Reflections as I Reach Early Middle Adulthood]]> http://blogs.psychcentral.com/good-life/?p=85 2012-03-30T02:20:40Z 2012-03-30T00:46:02Z sunny roseMarch 30th is my birthday. This year, I’m reaching the milestone of middle adulthood. Being in my early 40s brings both joy and a reason to reflect. In these four decades, I have met many interesting people, traveled to many beautiful places, and done many useful things.

In this reflection, I have decided to give more weight to the positive things instead of the negative ones. I have succeeded and I have failed, yet both experiences are useful and make me the way I am today.

Both the positive and the negative experiences are positive in the end. Because our default state is positive; we give valuable meanings to every experience; and every single meaning adds up to the pile of “life experiences.”

Carl Jung once said that midlife serves as an important preparation for late adulthood, “the evening of life.” He was right. I have been thinking about how I’d like to spend retirement years with loved ones, visiting places I’d love to remember, and meeting special people whom I admire. To achieve all these, I need to prepare myself for some changes: reinvesting time and resources for better purposes, and learning things that would be useful mentally and emotionally in later stages of life.

I may be in my 40s in chronological age, but I may not be so in biological, psychological, and social ages. And every stage in an age brings new opportunities, hopes, and wishes. Despite the fact that I’ve missed some opportunities, didn’t pursue several things that I had wished I did, lost a few extremely valuable lifetime achievements, and was disappointed by others, I still believe that the second half of my life is going to be better than the first half.

I believe that I have accumulated enough wisdom, skills and resources to be able to handle any hardship that is coming my way. Of course, every struggle is simply going to magnify and confirm my ability and value in life and society.

I’m happy that I’ve reached this stage in life and looking forward to experience more exciting things in the future.[]

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Jennie S. Bev, MS <![CDATA[Why I Decided to Study Psychology]]> http://blogs.psychcentral.com/good-life/?p=79 2012-03-27T11:24:08Z 2012-03-26T14:41:19Z Mother and daughterI studied law in college, business and education in graduate school, and now am studying psychology. I have several reasons for why I decided to pursue the study of the human mind and behaviors. The most personal reason that I hold very dear to my heart is: I’m confused with people’s “erratic” and “unpredictable” behaviors, and I’d love to understand them.

There are always physiological, cognitive, cultural, social, humanistic, and other perspectives behind a particular behavior and why-and-how our mind works. The many schools and viewpoints of psychology have opened my eyes to see that a single act may have been the result of accumulated past experiences, which come with “good” or “bad” shades.

Traumatic experiences, for instance, give a “bad” foundation for the future self, which may require some therapy to cope with. And each experience, be it joyful or traumatic, is experienced and recorded differently in every individual.

I find studying psychology a good way to understand myself and people around me, and to help them heal, whenever possible. It also allows me to better understand psychological profiles, what might have occurred to them in the past, and what we can expect at some level.

For instance, a narcissistic individual may have been raised with superfluous positive rewards and praises by his parents. And as a narcissistic individual, we can expect him to treat his friends in a way that would confirm his superiority and others’ inferiority.

By studying psychology, I learn many types of psychopathology, types of personality, and skills inventory. Such knowledge and understanding bring me closer to understand myself and how I can make a difference in the society.

Trained in a helping profession also makes me more aware of people’s feelings and how they reciprocate and react to my and others’ presence based on their profile. This alone is priceless.[]

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