To be mentally strong and flexible, you need more than answers.

You need to explore outside the envelope of your immediate existence.


hese are written discussions you may print and use. They address specific topics and attempt to use the Understanding Change approach to explain their management.
You will find essays under a variety of categories. Some will interest you. Others may just offer passing interest. Choose what you wish to explore. Come back again and check as we will be adding new assays along the way

You will find that, though we have inserted the summaries, the READ MORE tag is not active. They become active when you have become a member. Two essays are available in the SAMPLES section.


The Lesson Of The Canoe

Have you ever seen a person who has never been in a canoe before try to canoe? It looks like an exercise in frustration. He sits awkwardly on one of the seats and gingerly paddles, first on the right, and then on the left. On a smooth lake, it may even seem to be a pleasant exercise though somewhat overdone. Now suppose such a person sets out bravely enjoying a glassy-smooth lake early one morning. The zigzag path doesn’t concern him as he stays close to shore or secure within a small bay.
Now let us suppose that a young teenager with a fast motor boat zooms by close to this intrepid but inexperienced canoeist. What happens next is not difficult to visualize. The canoe rocks and may even capsize. What does he do? READ MORE

Communiating in a marriage or other relationship

The need to communicate effectively in a marriage or family unit is perhaps one of the most challenging responsibilities we must face today. It is a responsibility because a relationship is the most dynamic area of life, dynamism that is based on the hidden, individual thoughts, desires and feelings of the people involved. It is a responsibility because a relationship is the most dynamic area of life. It is dynamic because it is based on the individual activity of people, each with privately developed thoughts, desires and feelings. People think constantly.  READ MORE

So Your Child Is Hooked On Drugs?

Or maybe having some other unhealthy behaviour? Or is just unhappy with life or how they fit in? What do you do? Do you wait passively or even stifle it with medications (legal drugs) and hope that the problem will go away? Do you try to facilitate their life and provide easy solutions so they do not feel the need to go to drugs and the friends that invite them to use?
Today`s parents have a difficult job. You want to help but how can you help when you do not understand the problems yourself? What are the drugs they use? Why do they use them? Why do they experience such painful moods? Why do they so easily show such anger, disrespect, irritability, laziness? Is it the drugs that cause these problems? Or do these problems lead to drugs for temporary relief? READ MORE

Why Do Our Youth Gravitate To Unhealthy Habits?

Why do our youth gravitate to activities that become unhealthy habits? Simple. These activities give them a feeling of wellbeing… relative to what they can feel naturally. Nothing more! True, they provide a state that is only physical, artificial and short-lived. But it is attractive because it can be reached quickly, easily, and to a level that is dictated, not by merit, but by availability. So, it is attractive to those who need to feel good because they have no ability to earn it naturally. Maybe they have little self-worth because they never learned how to appreciate self, or because they have exhausted what little they have by trying to reach an extreme level of performance they believe will give them acceptability, or because they function from a position of entitlement and will freely indulge themselves in these activities because they have the opportunity. READ MORE

Managing Youth

Know that neither parents nor teachers can be blamed if a youth is unable to navigate this transition competently. The world you, as the parent or teacher, learned to manage was so different from the world they have now inherited. Sometimes even the values you may have taught them can be passé when applied to the challenges of today. Youth often feel confused and rudderless when it is time for them to strike out no matter how well you may have bonded, provided, or freed them. The job of parenting today’s youth can and should be more scientifically and logically approached than the natural baton-passing it once was. READ MORE

A Word To Youth

Today’s youth have it hard. The world seems to expect you to show maturity and act accountably when your physical maturation becomes manifest. We assume that mental maturation proceeds naturally with age. What’s more is that your own physical maturation demands this and allows you to believe that you can do it, physically at least. Yet, in this era of rapid and almost limitless change, the challenges you have to face are so great and so unstable that your youthful experience is quite easily and frequently overwhelmed.
As one example, today’s social pressures are expanded almost infinitely by electronic communication, congested urbanization making them so volatile and unpredictable that even the most secure youth can be left doubting your own values, capabilities, and even your identity. READ MORE

The Lesson Of The Canoe

Have you ever seen a person who has never been in a canoe before try to canoe? It looks like an exercise in frustration. He sits awkwardly on one of the seats and gingerly paddles, first on the right, and then on the left. On a smooth lake, it may even seem to be a pleasant exercise though somewhat overdone. Now suppose such a person sets out bravely enjoying a glassy-smooth lake early one morning. The zigzag path doesn’t concern him as he stays close to shore or secure within a small bay.
Now let us suppose that a young teenager with a fast motor boat zooms by close to this intrepid but inexperienced canoeist. What happens next is not difficult to visualize. The canoe rocks and may even capsize. What does he do? READ MORE

Understanding Aggressive and Defensive Behaviors

Understanding Change is a unique perspective to behaviour management where focus is on the development of insight into the variables that create our stresses so that there is less tendency to resort to defensive behaviours when we are confronted by undesirable events or disagreeable people. This approach is unique because it does not attempt to redirect, suppress, or treat the aberrant behaviour. Rather, it educates you to approach your stresses with greater insight by

  • being alert to the variables in existing conditions that may introduce new stresses.
  • developing the desire to increase awareness in preference to the pursuit of survival,
  • learning to communicate more effectively by understanding that when other people appear to say something contentious, it is usually because they did not express themselves appropriately or the observer may have misinterpreted their intent,
  • learning to be more tolerant when another person is defensive by understanding that the defensive response is a weak attempt to protect self when a stress is too large or an expectation too unattainable.  READ MORE

Self Respect

Self Respect is the ability to maintain dignity in the face of stress, rejection, criticism, or any activity that can erode one`s value systems.
In a world of imposing immensity and persistent change, the forces that can strike at anyone`s value systems can be extreme, unprecedented, and persistent. Yet, we cannot contain or control those external events. There is no special stress that will always threaten every person. What threatens is the difference between what is imposed and the strength of the systems defining the person facing those impositions. If something destroys the systems that create value and define self, then it can destroy us. READ MORE

An Analytic Approach To Behaviour

Every individual, every human being is equal to every other in having the same responsibility to manage ourselves in this world of immense biological, mechanical and social activity. Every individual is equal to every other person in having the same two categories of management options. One is proactive management that comes when we have conscious, rational understanding of the situation to be managed.
This is a Secure Reality, or a reality in which we feel emotionally secure. The other is reactive management that we use when we do not understand the situation fully. Then, we are in an Insecure Reality or a reality in which we will feel emotionally insecure and act immaturely no matter how intelligent or experienced we may be. Thus, the difference is not a secure or insecure person, a well or sick one, or a good or bad one, but there is a person who can be in a secure or insecure reality at different times. READ MORE

Dealing With Stress Rationally

Human beings hate disruption. From our very first cry as infants leaving the comfort of the womb, we react to disruption as an undesirable and painful condition.
Stress is the result of disruption as we move from what is familiar and comfortable to what is strange and disturbing.

Stress is universally recognized as a load or force or system of forces producing a strain. What we feel is the strain. An event itself is not a stress unless it produces a strain.

Stress affects everyone differently and, indeed, what is stressful for you might not register as strain at all for someone else.
The same market forces that will devastate one investor, for example, will cause another to salivate in delicious anticipation. One person getting fired may jump for joy because it releases him to follow a more desirable path while a terminated workmate is crushed by the notion that his life has hit a wall. What makes one disruption produce strain while others do not? READ MORE

A Treatise On Stress and Distress

Stress can be defined as the distortion of the internal structure of an object by the imposition of an external pressure.Yet, human beings experience stress, often without apparent distortion. This is because any distortion can be so hidden that it is not easily recognized. In the human being, we are blessed with sensitive receptors that alert us to injuries in any part of the body to allow us to protect it. So, we are often made aware of distortions of even modest levels long before they are represented externally. Thus, we can experience a stress when an organ system is only slightly affected by the pressures imposed from outside. It is also partly because the human being is also a sophisticated mind. This entity can also be stressed. When stressed, it is a distortion that can no more be measured than thought itself. So the stressed mind can experience the stress but cannot manifest it externally to even the most astute observer. An observer is relegated to visualizing his/her own perceptions of a described stress and assuming these to be the experiences of the other. READ MORE

Evolution Versus Creation

Recent examination and discussions by scientists have been focused on the progressively increasing findings that evolution is definitely the origin of the human species. Steven Hawkings went as far as to say that, not only is natural selection a logical fact in our examination of organic life, but that the planet’s evolution from the big bang seems irrefutable. He went on to suggest that God could not have created the world in seven days; God may have created the big bang and that created the planet and solar systems. READ MORE

The Challenge Of Commuincating

As human beings, we possess a rather unique capability. We are not just passive creatures living within limited confines, surviving at the very whim of the environment. Rather, we are able to examine the activities which change our world, and through an acquired understanding, influence how these changes will affect us. The greatest challenge to this capability, however, comes in our connections with other human beings. Communication is necessary, not only to have an expanded perception of our immediate environment, but also to understand how another person will affect that environment even as we attempt to influence how the environment will affect us. READ MORE

Communicating In A Marriage Or Family Unit

The need to communicate effectively in a marriage or family unit is perhaps one of the most challenging responsibilities we must face today. It is a responsibility because a relationship is the most dynamic area of life, dynamism that is based on the hidden, individual thoughts, desires and feelings of the people involved. People think constantly. Their thoughts are generated in directions that are influenced by past experiences, present perceptions and personal feelings. In today`s complex social, economic and mechanical world, no one`s total past experience equals anyone else`s. There may be some overlap, but the specific conditions that form any particular experience is entirely unique, and therefore specific to the person influenced by them. In addition, every situation is so multifaceted that two people observing the same event can have two very different perceptions. And, of course, forces that are unique to that individual at that time evoke personal feelings. So, the thoughts of another person are generated by such a unique combination of factors that they are without precedent. There is no knowledge of any event, issue, or existent that is common to all observers. No one, man, woman, or child, can be presumed to have a thought or opinion that is predictably based on any single social, cultural, religious, or ethnic factor. A man does not think specific to his gender. Neither does a woman. READ MORE

Risk Factors In Family Violence

Domestic violence is a real concern in today`s society. Women, the elderly, children and even men are at risk from other family members for various reasons. Both psychiatric and judiciary services have attempted to devise guidelines to help determine some of the risk factors and use that knowledge to either deter a potential abuser or rehabilitate an established one effectively. To this end, many abstracts have been published detailing risk-enhancing factors or suggesting risk-minimizing factors. Gavin De Becker quotes thirty risk factors while Herschel Prins looks at the broad concerns about dealing with uncertainty. While these observations consider the statistical behaviour patterns and quite accurately produce a picture of the person`s weakness, they do not consider the variables that will allow a clearer assessment of the person without a demonstrated past, or the rehabilitation of the person with a definite history of violence. In fact, they may be restricted by the very observations they are meant to assess. READ MORE

Helpful Recovery

There is a common assertion that an addiction is a disease. It is chronic and stays with the person, always hiding in the shadows and being a constant threat to re-establish control if they are not vigilant. Though there is some truth to that statement, it bothers me because it can sound like a death sentence. In fact, many people who have started to manage the habit are so deathly afraid of its resurgence that they can live the rest of their lives in a near neurotic state of restraint that goes beyond the habit and into other areas of work, family, or personal accountability. Perhaps I can examine with you the two important elements of this concern. READ MORE

Is Addiction A Disease Or A Choice?

Addiction is not a disease! It is actually a completely reversible condition. To see this, let us examine what a disease is, and then look at whether the addictive behavior qualifies as such. The Webster dictionary defines a disease in two ways. First, it is a disordered or incorrectly functioning organ, part, structure, or system of the body resulting from the effect of genetic or developmental errors, infection, poisons, nutritional deficiency or imbalance, toxicity, or unfavorable environmental factors. Second, it is any harmful, depraved, or morbid condition, as of the mind or society. It is the second definition that allows the inclusion of addiction as a disease. However, when we use the word disease, we think of the former. We search for the disordered part and, if we do not find it, we presume it exists. Is addiction a depraved or morbid condition? Nobody wants that label. Is it a disorder of some part of the body? No one has found that. All present arguments are presumptive. I would like to propose an alternative consideration. READ MORE

Dealing With Rage, Anger, and Violence

Anger is an emotion that is poorly understood. Yet it is one that afflicts every human being at one time or another. Moses showed it when he came down Mount Sinai and saw his people worshiping a golden calf. Jesus showed it when he saw money changers selling their wares in the temple. Muhammad showed it when he supported Fatima and said, “Fatima is part of me. Whoever offends Fatima offends me.” As such, anger is simply an inner turmoil, a state of mental or psychological dissatisfaction. That is the condition that can afflict anyone anytime. No one is immune to it. Thus, the ultimate problem with anger cannot be this emotional experience. The problem occurs when it is outwardly expressed that either comes from it or is the inappropriate revelation of it. What is bothersome about that turmoil, therefore, is not the experience, but the outward manifestation of it. READ MORE

Core Intervention - A R'ealistic Mental Health Strategy

Core Intervention Therapy is a form of therapeutic intervention that is designed to reach an accurate and easy analysis of the source of an emotional or behavioural malady and coach the participant toward fixing the underlying disorder permanently and effectively. Core Intervention Therapy makes the logical observation that, in a linear model, a task can be successfully managed using fixed logic or programmed skill. When the demands of the challenge increase, it can still be managed with an expanded application of the same skill and logic. A linear model is one that makes the simple assumption that a problem becomes difficult either because the solution is not known by the person experiencing the problem or that the problem is a (linear) extension of that for which a ready solution is available. A complex model recognizes that every problem is generated by a complex variety of conditions so that even a small change can be caused by a number of underlying variables making it a totally new challenge, not an extension of a familiar one. Thus, in a complex model, the application of greater effort can be significantly counter-productive leading to frustration, apprehension, or defeat. The renewed effort must allow the examination of every problem for the full range of invisible variables that give rise to it. This can only be accomplished by a strong core that operates with the flexibility and creativity that fixed logic or programmed skill cannot generate. READ MORE

The Genesis Of Unhealthy Moods and Behaviour

We live in times of great change. No one has been adequately prepared for the disruptions this brings daily in our jobs, family life, health, personal relationships, or the social interactions within the multicultural melting pots of our urban centres. It is natural then that the personal strengths we have learned to rely on will inevitably become stretched, even to breaking point. The result is that accountable people have time only to put out fires and many of us are beginning to fail at out jobs or relationships, addicted to the substances and activities that offer trivial respite, or lost in emotional angst we cannot escape long enough before the next stress arrives. These Unhealthy Moods and Inappropriate Behaviours can severely jeopardize our social, material, or physical wellbeing. We need to understand them before we try to fix them, or we will be left going around in circles and getting results only for trivial moments. READ MORE

Being A Successful Leader

What is the responsibility of the person in a leadership position? Is it to show courage in adversity? Is it to motivate or encourage others to do their best? Or is it to have the role of advisor, guide, or coach taking others through their paces to become a mature contributor to their community? No matter what your definition or aspirations may be, there are two conditions you must be prepared to manage beyond those where you are well trained or experienced. These conditions are evoked by the natural tendency of everything to be susceptible to change, influenced by forces that are invisible, often unpredictable, and continuously active. These forces do not only infect the conditions you are required to manage. They form the conditions. READ MORE

A Proactive Approach to Managemnt and Stress

To tackle any problem, it is always expedient to first define the parameters that influence it. To manage life, therefore, one must be able to understand the stresses that make life challenging and the resources we need to apply ourselves successfully to those stresses. This is the act of management, a responsibility of every individual. It is a responsibility that becomes more apparent as we grow out of the protected state of childhood into the accountable position of adulthood. READ MORE

Chaos and Complexity

If management can be defined as the process of reaching a state of equilibrium with a task or responsibility, then life as a whole is a management challenge! It is management because, in order to succeed or at the least survive, we are required to achieve an equilibrium with the many things and people that form our environment. It is a challenge because, regardless of how well we may have managed one issue, change creates a disequilibrium requiring another effort at success or survival. In order, therefore, to be successful at any aspect of life – career, health, or relationships – we must first accept the responsibility as managers of our own lives. Then we must look at how this can be achieved most effectively in the highly volatile conditions we face today. READ MORE

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