Therapy That Works...

Courageous TV Anchor Responds To Bullying - By Chris Gearing

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

Watch Dr. Sylvia Gearing on CBS 11 discusses the courageous response from a TV anchor to her bully - click here.

Why would someone write an email like this?

This is a classic example of workplace bullying. This man was shaming, disrespectful, and embarrassing to this woman. His comments emphasized the imbalance of power—he could reprimand her from a distance without direct response. I doubt if he ever dreamed that she would respond live on the air.

This is the pattern that we see in online bullying. Bullies feel like there are no consequences. I can slam you and lie about you without any consequence for me. In a fair fight, the victim gets a chance to respond, but this man chose to humiliate her anonymously over nothing except his own prejudice.

What about her response?

It was a masterful, eloquent statement that directly discredited his attack. She pointed out what all women know—we come in all shapes and sizes and they are not only acceptable but beautiful. She did the right thing by speaking up since silence perpetuates injustice. Injustice then builds helplessness, and this anchor was by no means helpless. She used the very tools of her own professional success—her verbal agility, on air presence and organizational skills—to make this man look ridiculous. A great lesson for children in America.

Why was she targeted?

We live in an epidemic of eating disorders. Around 40% of college aged women engage in some sort of eating disorder behavior. Being thin is sadly linked with being powerful or attractive, and this myth has gathered momentum over the decades. Appearance is still too defining of our worth as women. But change starts with us. Women need to refuse to buy into silly prescriptions of who we are and how we should look.

Is this kind of bullying increasing or are we just more aware of this kind of harassment?

I think both statements are true—bullying is increasing AND we are more aware. With the infiltration of technology and social media into our lives, we all go online to express our opinions and to share with the community. However, such access to others can turn ugly, as we see in this case. A shot at another person, especially a woman with notoriety and power, is easier to do than ever.

Remember that bullying flourishes in an environment of anonymity. This man hoped that she would internalize what he said and feel badly about herself. He tried to offload his own prejudices onto her and she refused to take it. Good for her and good for all of us!

A generation ago, we lived in a society that was more accountable. There was a community that reinforced that accountability. Now with the Internet, you can be savage without your community really knowing how poorly you behaved.

What can women do to support her?

Please support women who choose to stand up and speak out about this kind of prejudice. Refuse to be a victim of others who tell you how you should look. Remember that there is nothing more beautiful in this world than a woman who knows who she is and refuses to be silent about her gifts.

SOURCES:

www.APA.org

Depression or Dehydration? - By Chris Gearing

Monday, June 04, 2012

Watch Dr. Sylvia Gearing on YouTube.com explain why you don't need to buy energy drinks, all you need is a drink of water - click here.

Millions of Americans spend countless dollars every year trying to perk themselves up. Whether it’s through a pill, a coffee at the neighborhood coffee shop, or an energy drink, most of us are looking for a silver bullet to pick us up out of our slumps and give us the energy to finish the day.

According to a recent study, you may be wasting your money on drinks and pills. If you’re dehydrated, you may show higher signs of depression, anxiety, fatigue, and loss of vigor. Make sure to drink plenty of water throughout your work day and you might save yourself a load of coffee money.

SOURCE:

Men’s Health, Apr 2012 digital edition

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

Team Players Are Better Players - By Chris Gearing

Monday, May 28, 2012

Watch Dr. Sylvia Gearing on YouTube.com discuss why team players are actually more effective overall - click here.

The business world can be a cut-throat environment. Many people resort to all kinds of back-stabbing and finger pointing just to protect their career.

However, a new study from the Journal of Sports Sciences has found that team players enhance not only their team’s performance, but also their own performance. The study found that if you focus on your team’s strength and utilizing everyone’s skills to achieve the goal, you will often feel more confident and less anxious. A great team atmosphere can lead to less wasted time, higher levels of focus, and ultimately higher performance! Team players can really draw out everyone’s abilities so that the team can really impress the boss. Truly, a win-win.

SOURCE:

Men’s Health, March 2012

How To Catch A Liar, Part 4 - By Chris Gearing

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Most of us think that there are skilled liars and not-so-skilled liars, but professional lie catchers have many methods to detect a lie from almost anyone. Here are three more tips to help you tell whether someone is lying or not:

1.) Liars rehearse their stories before they have to say them. They are usually so locked into their story that any distraction can reveal the truth. While they are telling you what happened, try interjecting with “Why should I believe you?” Liars will usually calmly pick up the story where they left off whereas truth tellers will usually get angry and say “Because I’m telling the truth!”

2.) Another way to check on whether a story is true or false is to have them tell you the events backwards. Most liars rehearse they lies from beginning to end, but they have a much harder time telling the story in reverse.

3.) A final clue to whether someone is lying to you or not is how much body movement they are displaying. Like I mentioned before, liars are usually so locked into telling their story that they don’t act normally. Most of us use gestures or we act things out with our hands when we are telling a story – what Dr Paul Ekman calls “illustrators”. If someone is completely still for the duration of their story – they may be lying to you.

SOURCE:

Men’s Health, March 2012

The Work of Dr. Paul Ekman

Chewing Gum Could Help You Work Better - By Chris Gearing

Monday, May 21, 2012

Everyone has their own ways of waking up the office – maybe it’s a cup of coffee or a trip outside for some fresh air. However, new research from Japan has found that chewing gum can not only make your breath smell better, but it can also improve your mood and help you focus. When workers chewed a piece of gum for at least five minutes twice a day, they cut their rates of depression and workplace fatigue by half!

The researchers thought that the lift in mood and performance came from the repeated act of chewing. They found that chewing increased blood flow to the brain and other parts of the body and it can even reduce the levels of stress hormones in the blood!

SOURCE:

Men’s Health, March 2012

Mega-Millions Mania! - By Chris Gearing

Monday, April 02, 2012

Watch Dr Sylvia Gearing on CBS 11 discuss the Mega-Millions mania and how lotto fever can go too far - click here.

Profile of the Ohio School Shooter - By Chris Gearing

Monday, February 27, 2012

Watch Dr Sylvia Gearing on CBS 11 discuss the tragic Ohio high school shooting - click here.

With the tragic news of a school shooting at an Ohio high school this week, many Americans are shocked that shootings continue to occur in a post-Columbine world.

Since the tragic Columbine shootings in April 1999, psychologists have assembled a list of common denominators between school shooters.

Teenage Males: They are usually Caucasian males between the ages of 11 and 18 with the average age being 16 who are engaging in their first act of lethal violence. Boys between the ages of 13 and 19 commit about 1/3 of violent crimes.

Rural Settings: School shootings usually occur in the rural or suburban areas outside larger cities. The kids are from a blue collar or middle class backgrounds.

Seasonality: Time of year has a lot to with this kind of crime with most of them occurring between December and May (usually in the Spring).

Tough Home Life: Family background is usually highly dysfunctional and attachment to the parents has been compromised in some ways. The family often looks fairly normal to the community and people are often surprised that the child becomes a murder. Discipline is overly harsh and applied inconsistently.

Cold Blooded: Premeditation is a central part of the crime. Smuggling a gun or guns into a school takes forethought and cunning. There is a plan that has been carefully constructed somewhere along the way. Acquisition of firearm—almost always from the home-- is necessary as is the requisite clothing to hide the firearms as the enter the school.

What would push a teenager to engage in this type of lethal crime against his peers?

Vengeance is the primary motive for almost all of the school shootings and again, this teenager has a history of being bullied and being socially isolated. The second motivation is to achieve notoriety.

The shooters are often perceived as nerdy and physically unattractive and are the common targets of ridicule from other children. Anger and resentment build up over time.. Suddenly there is a precipitating event that forces them to lose control and to lash out in a murderous rage.

If the target is a school official, then a teacher or a principal has had to take disciplinary action against the child.

If the targets includes peers, those who are deemed responsible for the torment are targeted almost exclusively. Many of the kids who have been shot in the past are the more popular or successful kids who are perceived as having wronged the shooter at some point in time.

What are these kids like emotionally and psychologically?

Socially Withdrawn: Most of the time, school shooters are emotionally immature, isolated and socially withdrawn. The emotional centers of the brain are not fully connected to the logical analytical parts of our brain that tells us that “no injustice is worth taking someone else’s life.”

Violence Unites Them: If they do have friends, the friendships generally revolve around their dark view of the world—militaristic, violent, “dog eat dog” kinds of views that justify their social isolation and bond them to one another. They enjoy bragging about their interest in violence and killing and are fascinated by the weapons of violence—guns, bombs, knives, and online or media depictions of violence or death.

Hypersensitive to Criticism: Cognitively these kids are very rigid and simplistic in how they view others. They don’t examine their judgments of others and are quick to assume that others are criticizing them. They are distrustful and view themselves as victims of others. Hypersensitivity is common and they anticipate rejection. They do not usually trust adults.

When does the child cross the line to violence?

Prior to the crime, the child begins to:

  • Feel justified to kill
  • Perceive few or no alternatives
  • Believe that the consequences will be worth it

Here are some warning signs if you are concerned about your child:

Learning to predict violence is the first step to preventing violence. Remember that most of the time, these crimes are well rehearsed. The school shooter fantasizes about revenge against those who are perceived to have harmed him. They often have protracted mental and behavioral rehearsals of their acts of violence in which they carefully select the victims, the time, location, means of killing and how it will play out.

Remember that their violence is calculated--it is not a crime of impulse or passion. It is a crime of intentional revenge.

Here are some warning signs of school shooters:

  • Lack of Conscience
  • Angry Outbursts
  • Depressed, Sullen Behavior
  • Tendency To Follow "Leaders" No Matter What
  • History of Oppositional Behaviors
  • Actual Threats—Written or Spoken
  • Past Acts of Violence
  • Access to Weapons
  • Past Suicide Attempts
  • Family History of Violence or Bullying
  • Cruelty to Animals

Sources:

The Gift of Fear by Gavin de Becker

The Classroom Avenger by James P. McGee Ph.D. and Caren DeBernardo, Psy.D.

Do You Have A Bad First Name? - By Chris Gearing

Friday, January 20, 2012

Watch Dr Sylvia on YouTube explain what to do if your first name is holding you back in life - click here.

A recent study in the Journal of Social Psychological and Personality Science found that your first name could have unintended ill effects on your future life! The effects were felt in everything from job searches to the dating scene!

With findings like that, many people are wondering how to change or downplay their names. I have seen three trends that work:

Abbreviate: Abbreviate your name and make it more common and traditional in social settings. For example, you can use your initials or part of the name as a handle.

Adopt Your Last Name: Use your last name as your nickname or use a similar name such as substituting Jack for John. People who have pleasant last names can shorten it and add a “y” to the end – names like “Sully” and “Scotty.”

Give Up on Your Name Entirely: The final option is to change your name completely -- sometimes people despise their name so much that they lose the name. They legally change the name to one that reflects who they are now. If a dramatic name change is done in adulthood, it can be unsettling for the parents. However, putting up with a name you can’t stand is unfair in the long run.

Sources:

Parent Magazine

“Generation Me” by Jean Twenge

“Freakonomics” by Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner

Why Your First Name Is More Important Than You Think - By Chris Gearing

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Watch Dr Sylvia Gearing on YouTube describe why your first name may be more important than you think - click here.

A recent study in the Journal of Social Psychological and Personality Science found that your first name could have unintended effects on the rest of your life! The effects could be felt in many different arenas from your love life all the way to your job search!

Here’s why your first name may be more important than you think:

Typecasting: Remember that your name is the first impression that you make on someone. It sets the stage for how people will view and treat you because like it or not -- people have preconceived ideas about names, both good and bad.

Generational Names: Because names are so generation based, many people have preconceived notions about you based on what generation your name came from. For example, Barbara gives a very different impression than Emerson.

Target of Bullying: Kids can be cruel and children with odd names often have an extra burden in the classroom and on the playground. Your name can also affect how you feel about yourself. If you always have to explain your name, it can be socially challenging.

Job Prospects: Highly unique names can make it even harder in the job market. Research finds that there is a prejudice in responding to job candidates based on their first names, usually from some personal experience with someone who shares the name.

Source:

Parent Magazine

“Generation Me” by Jean Twenge

“Freakonomics” by Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner


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