Therapy That Works...

The Benefits of Having A Spotter - By Chris Gearing

Friday, June 01, 2012

Watch Dr. Sylvia Gearing on YouTube.com explain why a cheerleader or a spotter can help you perform better at work and in life - click here.

If you’ve gone to your local gym recently, you’ve probably seen the droves of weight lifters with spotters to help manage the weight and to yell encouragement. According to a recent study, body builders may be on to something.

The study found that weight lifters who had encouraging partners were able to lift more weight and showed a marked gain in power and focus. The study went on to say that the findings could be applied to business projects, as well. A partner may help you remain motivated and focused on the task at hand. If you’re pulling long hours on a big project, some helpful encouragement from a great coach or cheerleader may be the push you need to get through!

SOURCE:

Men’s Health, Apr 2012 digital edition

Deion Sanders' Public Divorce - By Chris Gearing

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Watch Dr Sylvia on CBS 11 discuss Deion Sanders' divorce and the media's role in public court battles - click here.

Why do celebrity divorces play out in the media?

Dual Relationship: Celebrities have a dual relationship with the media. They insist on having the media work on their own terms, and they also need the media to stay top of mind with the public. However, they are also subject to media scrutiny when things are difficult or ambiguous. That puts a lot of stress on top of an already terrible situation.

Publicity Makes Things Worse: As the conflict is played out in the media, the publicity can only make things worse. The spouses become highly polarized in the glare of public opinion. They hear exaggerated versions of their spouse’s conversations and they can become even more enraged. Divorces that could have been handled effectively explode into battles that are waged in the public spotlight.

Why do divorces like this get so heated?

Fusion Delusion: Many powerful people tend to idealize and then fuse with their partner. The line between each individual partner ceases to exist in this kind of relationship. They only feel good when they are attached at the hip.

Idealization & Devaluation: Strong personalities love intensely and hate intensely. With some people, you will inevitably disappoint them and when you do, there is a sudden fall in affection. The idealized become the devalued. The partner becomes a walking injury to them.

Control At Any Cost: Control is how they lessen their injuries. Anger is a direct result of anxiety and a feeling of vulnerability. Control is the central issue in divorces that are highly conflicted. Each partner wants to win and that means that the other partner has to lose - it's a zero sum game. The partners struggle to remain in control by bullying and intimidating the other person. There is a rush in being the one who calls the shots and who humiliates the person they once pledged to love forever.

Is being married to a celebrity a harder road?

Unrealistic Expectations: Celebrities are usually driven by relentless ambition and vision. Expecting one another to be emotionally present all the time is unrealistic, especially with the demands of celebrity life. The challenge is to remain grounded, stable, and realistic in the marriage.

Strong Opinions and Big Personalities: Being a celebrity usually demands a big personality that often comes with strong opinions and a lack of compromise. People of influence are often stubborn and they want their way.

Failure to Listen: They fail to understand what the other person is saying to them. They talk but they do not listen. Therefore, if there is a disagreement, things can get heated quickly. Partners are bound to clash when inevitable disappointment occurs.

Many of us have very strong personalities in our lives. Any advice for coping with difficult people we love?

Here are a few tips:

1.) Remain aware of your own tendency to buy into the idealizations and devaluations of charismatic people. Guard your own self interest in a healthy way—owning what is true but keeping things in perspective. We are all imperfect and must be forgiven for our shortcomings.

2.) On the other hand, if you are chronically feeling unhappy, devalued and criticized, ask two sets of questions. Are you accurately understanding what they are saying? If you are, then ask if you are with someone you can never please.

3.) Strong personalities often insist on taking their unhappiness out on you, even when you have nothing to do with their unhappiness. You cannot reason with someone who will not listen to your point of view and strive to work it out with you.

4.) Stay away from people who overly idealize you. There is always a price to pay if you are on a pedestal. The higher you sit in their opinion, the farther you will fall when things don't go perfectly.

5.) Remind yourself that the unkindness is not personal in any way. The person striking out at you does not really understand the damage they are doing.

SOURCE:

"Why Is It Always About You?" by Sandy Hotchkiss

Drug Bust At Texas Christian University - By Chris Gearing

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

How big a problem are drugs on college campuses?

Drug addiction in general is increasing exponentially. Over a ten-year period, the number of Americans abusing prescription drugs increased seven times faster than the increase in the U.S. population.

Getting High on Campus: Forty nine percent (just under 4 million) of full time college students binge drink and/or abuse prescription and illegal drugs on campus.

Dependency: Just fewer than 2 million students meet the medical criteria for substance abuse and dependence—2.5 times the 8% of the general population.

Invisible Epidemic: We have been in denial about the severity of this problem. Alcoholism has received the most media attention in the past but those rates have not risen. However, prescription drug abuse has become the most underreported drug abuse problem in the nation. Unfortunately, it is now an epidemic.

Why is prescription drug abuse growing at such alarming rates?

Access to Drugs: We have more effective drugs that are more vigorously marketed to the public ($60 billion annually spent on marketing by pharmaceutical companies). Approximately three billion prescriptions are written annually, and we are all encouraged to take pills to make things better.

Non-Medical Use of Prescription Drugs: We have grown more casual in self-medicating. We also borrow prescriptions from friends and families. One study found that fifty-six percent of pain relief abusers acquired the medicine from a friend or relative for free (National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 2007). An estimated 48 million people have used prescription drugs for non-medical reasons in their lifetimes (National Institute of Drug Abuse) – that’s almost 20% of the U.S. population!

What are the signs that a college student may be abusing drugs?

Remember that addictions are progressive—what you see today started months ago. Here are a few signs to look for:

  • A change in your child's friends
  • Long unexplained periods away from home
  • Lying and Stealing
  • Deteriorating family relationships
  • Changes in sleep patterns
  • Obvious intoxication such as slurred speech
  • Decreased school performance
  • Relaxed and/or a euphoric state

What are the effects on a college student’s future?

We know that young adults are extremely vulnerable to experiences—good and bad—during this pivotal time. The brain in early adulthood is still expanding and refining itself and is not fully mature until age 26. When you introduce drugs or alcohol into a developing brain, lifelong addictions can get a foothold. The dependence on the drug replaces the cultivation of sturdier, more resilient ways of approaching problems in life. Emotional intensity that compels them to escape into a “high” is the solution.

What would you recommend for parents who are concerned about their college age child?

Discuss the Problem: Challenges such as alcohol and drug abuse must be part of the family conversation. Kids who learn about substance abuse from their parents have much lower usage rates than those whose parents never offer to talk about it.

Parents are the Keys to Prevention: Live the lesson you are teaching your child. Do not drink and drive, smoke marijuana or misuse your own prescription drugs and then wonder why your child is confused. Practice what you preach without exception.

High Expectations: Today’s parents are often afraid of expecting the best from their kids. They worry about overtaxing their child with expectations and demands. But on the basics of responsible living--like don’t use drugs-- you have a responsibility to be clear, absolute and emphatic. Step up and make your son or daughter understand the rules.

Source:

The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University

Josh Hamilton's Tragic Relapse - By Chris Gearing

Friday, February 03, 2012

News broke on Tuesday that the heroic Ranger's outfielder, Josh Hamilton, had a relapse in his long battle with alcoholism. Many Rangers fans are wondering why Josh can't kick the habit and what this means for his future.

So, why can’t people just quit the addictive behavior?

All addictions are unintentional and they begin with the decision to use. No one starts drinking with the idea that they will ever become addicted. But addiction sneaks up on you and before you know it, you can be drawn into a world of confusion and torment. Voluntary users become compulsive users and then you bottom out as a true addict when drugs or alcohols define your life.

The real issue is that addiction is not a moral failing or a lapse in will. At the end of the day, addiction is a brain disease. New research shows that there are literal brain changes in the structure and function of key brain processes that are fundamental in handling emotions, exercising self-control, and reading situations correctly. Addicts are stripped of their accuracy in understanding the world.

How do addictions get started and become worse over time?

Internal Shift: The person begins to turn toward behavior that is relieving his stress. Getting high is fun and it changes his mood for the better in the beginning. He denies how dangerous his usage is as he begins to betray others and himself with repeated use.

Lifestyle Change: A behavioral dependency on the alcohol or drug now emerges. Life is now altered to accommodate the addiction even if he becomes reckless and self-destructive. He moves deeper into the self-sabotaging behavior as he builds his life around getting high.

His Life Destructs: The addiction has now taken over. The individual relies on getting high and ignores or rationalizes the destructive aspects of his behavior. At this point, nothing matters to the addict but the acquisition of the substance. The obsession with the addiction causes a trance state. People don’t matter, commitments don’t count, and honesty isn’t even a part of the conversation.

Unstoppable: People become convinced that they cannot stop the drinking. Since there are significant changes in brain structure that are critical to judgment, decision making, learning, memory, and behavioral control, the slide into addiction is accelerated.

How do you know that someone is at rock bottom?

A chronically addicted person tends to psychologically regress suddenly and severely, with no warning. They go down like a stone. Once the addiction switch is flipped, it is incredibly difficult to reverse the emotions and behavior. Insight is gone, judgment is gone, and perspective is shot. If the addictive substance—whatever it is—is strong enough, all bets are off. He begins to destroy every area of his life—his job, his relationships and even his health. Addiction hijacks the mind and better judgment.

What do we tell our children about people like Josh Hamilton who struggle with addiction?

This is a prime opportunity to teach kids about addiction and the inevitable struggles of recovery. Remember these points:

Teachable Moment: Make stories about addiction struggles a part of the conversation. You want your child to be armed with knowledge of addiction so he is never start the cycle. Remember that the child who stays away from drugs, tobacco, and abusing alcohol until age 21 is virtually certain to steer clear of these substances forever. Teens who learn about the risks of drugs or alcohol from their parents are much less likely to try them.

Still A Good Person: Most kids already know what addiction is, since Americans consume two thirds of the worlds’ illegal drugs. Celebrities who have struggled with addictions are always in the news so a lot of kids understand that you can be a talented, good person and still have an addiction.

Constant Battle: Break the addictive behavior down into understandable language. Explain that alcoholism is a disease and that it is a lifelong struggle to overcome it. Tell them that relapse is a part of recovery and that all that matters is how the alcoholic handles their next choice.

There’s Always Hope: Teach them to believe in recovery, believe in the person’s ability to fight against this illness, and to celebrate the gains that people show as they power on to a better tomorrow.

Mavs Win! - By Chris Gearing

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

How Resilience Makes the Difference

The Maverick’s historic win of the NBA championship reminds us that winning even against long odds is possible if you have the right formula for success.

So what does this championship win teach us about success?

The Mavericks victory shows us again that attitude is everything in achieving success. They remained optimistic when they failed and they showed unyielding persistence when things got tough. Coming together as a team with no grandstanding by individual players incentivized everyone. They won the championship because the group moved together to win.

Most people consider talent, luck, good looks and even hard work as key ingredients for success in life. They want a quick win without having to earn it over the long haul. But psychological science tells us that it takes at least 10 years of hard work or practice to become successful at any endeavor. Just look at Michael Jordan's championship record and see how long he had to wait!

The Maverick’s victory shows us that using perseverance, even when things can be discouraging, makes all the difference in the world. They were not an overnight success but they were a resounding success because they fought through an intimidating series of games against a team that had some of the best players in the league. It would have been easy to give up and to compromise their game.

Even though we've heard all the stories and seen all the movies, so many of us give up when things get tough. Here's why:

How you handle failure has more to do with where you end up in life than how you handle success. It’s easy to stand tall when things are going your way. However, the outcome of your life has more to do with the determination you exhibit during the hard times. Everybody falls short sooner or later and its up to us to pick ourselves up, to dust ourselves off and to get back on track. Otherwise the setback defines who you become and where you go from here. Everybody faces challenges but not everyone comes back from them. The Mavericks demonstrated that we should never stop believing in ourselves or in our goal even when we fail.

Here are a few keys to success that I recommend to my clients:

Passion and Belief: Two of the most important factors in succeeding are passion and a belief that you can create a great outcome. If you are enthusiastic, dedicated and absorbed by your mission or interest, you will go to any length to see it through. You will be single minded in pursuing all steps to achieve the goal. There is definitely something to be said about "blind faith."

Emotional Investment in Winning: Many people are convinced that they just need to focus on the steps alone to achieving but there is another factor that’s even more important. You must envision the achievement with your emotions. By constantly rehearsing the emotions of success you will maximize the chance of succeeding.

Self-Control and Self-Discipline: Almost every achievement in the world requires hard work. The ability to work at something relentlessly means sacrifice and sustained effort. But to achieve, you have to delay gratification and you have to sacrificing short-term pleasure for that long-term goal. Self control creates success. The Mavericks are a prime example of this principle.

Optimism: The ability to remain upbeat in the face of setbacks, frustrations and outright failure is important in any endeavor that requires work. If you are negative, you’ll get in your own way.

Patience and Staying the Course: The repetition of effort patiently delivered accumulates over time. Almost all scientific discoveries, works of art and literature and athletics are fueled by a basic sense of patience and staying the course.

Focused Specialization: Too many people apply their energies in a variety of endeavors without focusing on one specific goal. They neglect what they should accomplish because they are so talented at so many things. If you want to create a masterpiece, find the one thing you are good at and stay completely focused!

Know That Failure is Inevitable: Every successful person from Abraham Lincoln to Picasso has failed miserably at some point along the way. Learn to accept setbacks as a natural part of the climb upward in life.

Dallas parents have a prime opportunity to show their children that hard work in the face of intimidating odds can pay off.

The Mavericks were a model of self-discipline, teamwork and persistence in winning and kids need to learn the same things. Our children are surrounded by celebrity examples of quick wins and dumb luck.

Teachable Points for Kids:

Parents need to break down the steps to self discipline, teamwork and persistence so that their kids can apply them to their own lives.

Most of all, they need to teach their kids not to quit when its tough. It is tempting to abandon a marriage, a career or even a dream when things are discouraging.

Truly successful people never give up and are dedicated to the vision of winning in the end. They never allow the present set of circumstances to define how they feel about themselves or their efforts toward winning in the end.

And from all of us at Gearing Up - Congratulations Mavericks and Dirk! We can't wait for next season!


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