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October 3rd, 2010 by Robert DePaolo | Posted in Psychotherapy | No Comments » | 860 views | Print this Article

This article discusses possible neuropsychological mechanisms involved in self-talk, as well as its effect on emotional adaptation and experience in general.

An overweight woman has tried every diet conceivable with no lasting results. She finds herself adopting a simple stimulus-response approach to eating, to wit: whenever she is bored, she eats, whenever she is sad, she eats, whenever she is anxious she eats – and of course at meal time she overeats due to the need to manage the anxiety and frustration caused by her inability to control her eating. On one particular morning she is about to indulge in her third coffee roll, but then a sudden impulse crops up. She stops reaching for the roll and says to herself, “I’m not hungry, why the heck am I eating?” She finds that her appetite is diminished momentarily so she continues to cue herself in that way, with frequent  overt “ self-lectures” and finds she can control her appetite more consistently.
A man with insomnia finds himself tossing and turning in the wee hours of them morning. He rolls to one side then another then summons a relaxing thought. An ocean scene. Yet he still cannot get to sleep. It seems each time he invokes a sleep-inducing mechanism it reminds him of the fact that he has insomnia.  Else why think about oceans in the first place? He is caught in a trap. Any attempt to ameliorate his sleep problem reinforces the notion that he has a sleep problem. It is a vicious cycle and he becomes frustrated Then one evening, in a modest burst of anger he rises, looks at himself in the mirror and says: ”This whole sleeping thing is a real pain. I’m sick of worrying about it. So what if I don’t sleep?” At that point he experiences a wave of comfort, finds himself unexpectedly calm. His insomnia is relegated for the moment to an inconvenience rather than a matter of life and death. The next night he has another self-conversation, then another the next night, and a week later he finds his sleep patterns improving.

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April 26th, 2010 by Robert DePaolo | Posted in Psychotherapy | No Comments » | 2,753 views | Print this Article

Test Selection and the Neuro-personality


This article presents a psycho-diagnostic model based on a neurological concept of personality; specifically involving the effect of integration and discrimination functions on normalcy and pathology.

While neuroscientists have yet to determine exactly how the human brain works, more information is being gathered on this subject that will undoubtedly become important, not only in the fields of education and neuro-motor rehabilitation but also to the practice of clinical psychology. At present there is a fairly clear separation between neurobiological and clinical theory. Certainly medications have become a necessary adjunct (some might say alternative) to counseling and there is ample research pointing to the involvement of biological and neurological factors in various psychiatric disorders (McNeill 2004),(Mathew, Coplan et al 2001) (Marije, Mathew et al 2009 ). Yet most models of clinical diagnosis and treatment still remain primarily within the social and intra-psychic domains. Aside from the early work of Eysenck (1957), few organic theories of personality have been proposed, though Millon’s impressive treatise on evolutionary psychology (1990) and its implications for psychopathology certainly went beyond the conventional theoretical parameters.

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Adaptive Anger – a homeostatic factor in psychotherapy

October 29th, 2009 by Robert DePaolo | Posted in Psychotherapy | No Comments » | 3,639 views | Print this Article


This article discusses anger as a psycho-biological adaptation and suggests ways by which to utilize and incorporate it into the counseling process. Anger is further discussed as a homeostatic adjustment by which anxiety, depression and ego diffusion can be temporarily ameliorated in order to facilitate symptomatic improvement and self-restoration for the client.
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August 2nd, 2009 by Robert DePaolo | Posted in Psychotherapy | No Comments » | 2,392 views | Print this Article

In the past several decades the so-called medical model initially espoused by Freud, Jung and others has been called into question (Holt 1986), (Wax, 1986), (Eysenck, 1986). Modern thinking (at least in some circles) holds that psychopathology cannot be classified as a “disease,” nor treated in the same systemic way that a physician might treat a medical disorder; for example by considering not only specific symptoms but overall body homeostasis vis a vis the influence of one organ system upon another. Among the more focal concerns of modern therapists are maladaptive thoughts (schemes) and behaviors that are typically addressed in strict deterministic fashion, e.g…. change the schemes and behaviors and the client is in effect, cured.

In streamlining the counseling process, practitioners of behavioral and cognitive methods have in many instances obtained positive results (Clark & Fairbum 1997) (Grant & Cash 1995) (Rosen, Reiter et al 1995). Just how those results pertain to the highly functional, and arguably non systemic nature of their method is another question. As Just & Varma (2007) have suggested it is difficult to conceive of the mind as being other than systemic. Mayer (2005) has offered a similarly systemic view of the personality. The fact that we use defenses, whereby compensations and adjustments serve to counteract anxiety, depression and other discomforting mood states shows that overall stability is indeed an important aspect of the personality. Consequently, one might expect that in systemic terms, behaviors and schemata would interact with one another in a dynamic way, eventually settling in on stable attitudinal and response systems rather than merely being engaged in functional interactions vis a vis the social environment. Read the rest of this entry »

A Discussion of Psycho-immunity to Depression in relation to Reinforcement and Cognitive-Behavior Therapy

June 2nd, 2009 by Robert DePaolo | Posted in Psychotherapy | No Comments » | 3,340 views | Print this Article


Neurotransmission anomalies and reinforcement depletion are discussed as interchangeable antecedent mechanisms in depression. A possible augmentation to Cognitive-Behavior Therapy is presented in the form of an experience-extenuating life style resulting from a process of continued learning and self actualization

Neurotransmission anomalies and reinforcement depletion are discussed as interchangeable antecedent mechanisms in depression. A possible augmentation to Cognitive-Behavior Therapy is presented in the form of an experience-extenuating life style resulting from a process of continued learning and self actualization

Martin Seligman was among the first to discuss learned helplessness, which he believed was a crucial factor in the onset of depression (1965). He proposed that a historical disconnect between overt or covert behavior and reinforcement could lead to an enduring proneness to response suppression and his thesis was supported by subsequent research (Roth, 1980) He considered response suppression to be the operant correlate of depression and came to believe that a kind of psycho-inoculation against depression could be provided by affording young children clear and voluminous correlations between behavior and reinforcement at crucial phases of development (Seligman 1990). Read the rest of this entry »

How to REALLY Talk to your Therapist: Four Collaborative Steps

June 11th, 2008 by StevenFrankel | Posted in Psychotherapy | No Comments » | 2,740 views | Print this Article

By Steven Frankel, M.D.

People who go into therapy frequently report good experiences where the patient feels understood and well-supported by the therapist, who uses his or her therapeutic skills to facilitate a discovery and healing process.

But what if your therapy frustrates you? What if your therapist is off base and you don’t seem to be making progress? What happens if you can’t communicate with your therapist?

Here are several tips for getting more out of your therapy by learning how to REALLY communicate with your therapist.

#1: Take ownership of your therapy

It’s tempting to believe your therapist has all the answers, and it may seem easiest to let the therapist make all decisions about treatment. You might even feel afraid of asking questions or discussing concerns about your therapy.

Remember that therapists are human beings and have the same flaws as the rest of us. Therapy is a subjective process, and the therapist can only give his or her own subjectively colored opinion, which has been shaped by his training and life experiences. That viewpoint may not always be the right one for you.

As the “consumer” in the therapy partnership, it’s your responsibility to look after your best interests and to be an active participant in your therapy. If something isn’t working, it’s up to you to talk about it with your therapist. The message is clear: Take your therapist off the pedestal and take ownership of your therapy. Read the rest of this entry »