Tuesday, August 20, 2013

ABC Is As Easy As 123

Dr. John Norcross is a Professor of Psychology & Psychiatry as well as an expert on changing human behavior. With over 30 years of backed research the "Stages of Change" have been developed and have helped thousands of individual see sustainable personal/professional change. 


Stemming from research based out of my undergraduate alma mater, University of Rhode Island, the "Trans-theoretical Model" became the go to formula for successful change.

One aspect of change is to conduct a little detective work in identifying what may be wrong and why it is happening in the first place. This is commonly referred to as your "Behavioral Chain". 

Behavior, Antecedent, Consequence, Change, Behavioral Chain

A Little Bit About the ABC's

  • Occurs prior to the event and may trigger you to act a particular way. 
  • Can include your environment, the people around you, the interaction with the individuals with you, and your mood. 
  • Some detective questioning could include; Who are you with when you experience this behavior? What mood are you in when this behavior presents itself (sad, stressed, happy, bored, anxious...etc)? What time of day does this behavior typically come out (morning, day, night)?

  • The problem behavior
  • Also, the healthy alternatives to the problem behavior.

  • Occur after the problem and usually rely on what the specific problem is. 
  • *BEWARE* Short-term consequences can be very rewarding (taste good, relaxing...etc)
  • *BEWARE* Long-term consequences can be painful and destructive (heart disease, stroke, cancers, obesity, diabetes...etc)
  • We favor instant gratification rather then delayed gratification.
  • Recording long-term consequences is just as important as recording the short-term.

A few tips on how to use the ABC's to change your behavior
  1. Explore the antecedents to your behavior and find healthy alternative environments and social groups to prevent triggers that promote your problem behavior.
  2. Create new healthier alternatives and substitutes to meet your need for variety, fun, and freedom. Learn a new relaxation technique or coping skills to get you through triggering antecedents. 
  3. Reverse the consequence to your problem behavior and work backward through the ABC's to see what new antecedents and behaviors are necessary to end up with this new outcome. 

Check out this great worksheet for your 
ABC's and behavioral chain:

Secrets to Change, Socrates, Beliefs

*Derived from Changeology By: John Norcross, PhD

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

The Insight Fallacy

Have you ever explained something to a friend or family member and their response is, "I know, I know, I know"? They seem to fully grasp the idea, concept, or reason for something that is happening around them all too well. 

Have you ever seen that same friend or family member that "understood" what and why something was happening, never change anything about it? Well, there's a name for that.

In the field of Psychology it is referred to as the "Insight Fallacy". 

Insight Fallacy: The belief that understanding a problem will solve the problem.

When gaining insight into a problem it may help us by,
  1. Providing comfort, security, and safety in understanding what is wrong.
  2. Assisting in the development of new problem-solving strategies. 
  3. Giving meaningful new understanding which will create harmony between our thoughts, emotions, and actions.

However nice this may sound, insight alone will not change the problem. In order to take effective steps in changing the problem, you must first identify a few things by answering these questions.

  • Is there a problem at all? If so, what is it?
  • Have a tried changing this problem in the past 6 months?
  • Do I plan on doing something about this within the next 30 days?

If you have not identified a problem, you are most likely not going to do anything about it, besides saying "I know, I know, I know". If you said "YES" to there being a problem, you must start thinking about how you are going to try and change it. Take a look at the "Stages of Change" and get a feel for where you may be. 

Stages of Change, Jim Prochaska, Transtheoretical Model, Change

For each stage there are different tasks to complete, so make sure you are honest in which one you may be in. Being in the wrong stage at the wrong time will lead to frustration, relapse, and a decline in confidence. 

Take it one stage at a time, be patient with yourself, and know that there will be bumps in the journey. 
You got this.

Friday, August 2, 2013

What Am I Missing?

Recently, I came across a TED talk video that featured a mother and father (Roberto D'Angelo and Francesca Fideli) who were happily married in 2002 and gave birth to their beautiful son, Mario, in 2011. For many parents, children are a continuation of themselves, their lives, their ancestry, their story. Parents truly feel as though they have produced a miracle and a thing of absolute beauty to be cherished for many years to come. 

What happens when the same beauty, child, and miracle has a stroke?
stroke, perinatal stroke, brain, brain injury, head injury

Mario experienced what is known as a "Perinatal Stroke" at only 10 days of age. He was unable to control the left side of his body. While Mario lost some control in his newly formed life so did his parents while they were ambushed with a flood of emotions ranging from the feeling of failure, anxiety, depression, and confusion. What can a parent do in order to instill a sense of certainty, security, and safety? 

Mario's parents worked hard to help their child recover. They began a pilot program for Mirror Neuron Rehabilitation

As D’Angelo explains, “The theory of mirror neuron says that, in your brain, as you watch me do this, you are activating exactly the same neurons as if you do the actions.”

The goal for this program was to show Mario items, demonstrate how to pick them up, and use them. This would in turn be mirrored by Mario himself. What they discovered was that Mario was paying just as much attention to his parents emotions as he was to their body movements. 

Following this discovery Roberto and Francesca thought, what are we missing?

What am I missing? What is wrong? 

These questions come up quite frequently for parents and their children. Fortunately, Roberto and Francesca made the necessary shift in mindset to help their son Mario, but many people stay stuck in the "What is missing?" head game. 

What Mario's parents did, and what I encourage you to do RIGHT NOW is restructure that thought of "What is missing?" to "What can I offer?".

What is missing? vs What can I offer?

Stroke, Roberto D'Angelo, Francesca Fideli, Milan, Mario, Perinatal Stroke, Brain Damage, Hope, Confidence, Mirror Neuron, Neuron, Mirror Neuron RehabilitationAsk your self important questions such as, "What do the individuals that know me best think I have to offer?" and "What can I offer to other people, my environment, and this world?"


From now on, when you are faced with the question, "What am I missing?". Ask yourself,"What can I offer?"

Look at little Mario now!