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A Multi-Disciplined Results Based Approach to Performance and Relationship Psychology.

A limitation in the medical community is that often the Doctors of their respective disciplines see what they do as the hammer and most problems as the nail for them to hit it with. If that doctor is educated and biased towards certain medications for anxiety, for example, he'll tend to prescribe those instead of offering more drug free options. A surgeon might offer back surgery because that is his specialty, even if the problem could be solved through chiropractic care and physical therapy. You need to be cognizant of this when handling your health, so that you don't end up doing a high negative consequence solution to solve a problem that could be handled through a combination of safer methods.

This same problem exists in the area of therapy. Counselors and psychologists tend to be biased based on the methods they learn and implement in their practice. A Clinical Psychologist well trained in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is going to do talk therapy from that slant. This can be fine; there are talented CBT's out there who help a lot of people in managing psychological disorders. But what happens if you are a healthy person who just wants to perform BETTER in different areas of your life? There could be an opportunity cost for simply showing up bi-weekly to a therapist for years to barely make any progress towards your goals. Especially if it just so happens that different treatments could cause rapid, substantial change in a much shorter time frame.

And having a modality and ideology that is less effective is only one problem; how about it being NOT EFFECTIVE AT ALL or even DAMAGING as we find with most conventional relationship counseling? Now we get into some real controversial territory because your average "relationship counselor," usually a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT) or Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC), might be completely indoctrinated in ideology that is contrary to how men and women are designed (genetically) to behave. If the program they graduate from has been indoctrinated with belief systems that makes it controversial to say something as simple as "Boys and Girls are different," how can a struggling couple ever expect to get any answers that will be useful? How can relationship counseling ever hope to work when clinicians follow icons like Dr. John Gottman, a man considered to be one of the most influential clinicians of the last quarter century, says things like "Women find a man's willingness to do housework extremely erotic?" Or "the critical understanding whether a marriage will work or not, becomes the extent to which the male can accept the influence of the woman he loves and become socialized in emotional communication." And how about "Friendship fuels the flames of romance.."? Simple answer: it can't, as these ideologies don't consider how men and women are wired to be aroused and attracted to each other based on evolved biological realities. Studies have shown that when a man does "housework" that is considered more feminine, attraction actually goes down. Not to claim that men shouldn't do housework, but to expect that attraction will go up with "chore play" is unrealistic. And of course things like considering your partner and emotional communication and maturity is important, however statements like the above remove agency from the woman, and ignore the dynamics that make women and men attracted to each other to begin with. And yes, couples should enjoy each others company, however attraction studies and experiences demonstrate that "friendship" is the antithesis of what inspires arousal for a woman.

This is why it is so critical to to take what I call a MULTI-DISCIPLINED RESULTS BASED approach, especially when it comes to relationship and performance psychology. If Clinicians would do that more often, it would become evident to them that conventional marriage counseling and the Gottman method is deeply flawed, and they would fix it because the result would show. Most couples end up divorced after applying these ideologies and methods to their lives. A relationship in crisis can't afford to have the husband doing "chore play" to get his wife to find him attractive again rather than doing other behavioral changes that would actually work. An entrepreneur trying to take his business to the next level can't afford the opportunity loss of years of therapy to solve his limiting beliefs and behaviors while his business struggles. A combat athlete can't waste time with the wrong fit for overcoming limiting beliefs when he has a championship fight coming up in a month. These people aren't managing mental illness and doing the necessary weekly check in's and going to their therapists just to talk; they need results that will work NOW.

I asked a question of a Psychiatrist once when she had been suggesting SSRI's and anti-psychotics as a solution to my adopted son's behavioral and mental health challenges "What evidence do you have that if my son gets on the medication you suggest, meds that have high consequences due to side effects, that he won't get worse as years progress rather then better? What is the rate of success for kids who get on this stuff? How many kids have you treated that were able to get off medication and be successful and happy once their brains fully develop?" Because she hadn't taken a results based approach in her practice, she had no answer for me. She was prescribing medication with harmful side effects to children with absolutely no data if the medications were successful or not. This was disconcerting. My response to her was, "Because you have no data to back up these recommendations, I am sure you can see why then I won't be taking them." My son, by the way, is not on any medication at all an is doing much better and on the right track due to the right combination of behavioral solutions.

Every person and every problem is like a code that needs to be cracked. When working with a client, my job is to figure out the right combination of solutions that will work for him or her, not to try to hit their problems with the hammer of my preferred solutions based on my own biases. It might take a combination of a cognitive behavioral and dialectical behavioral methods, coupled with EMDR and Hypnotherapy, and behavioral reconditioning. But we find what works because we track RESULTS. If something is not working, we scrap it or modify it. When something is effective, we drive forward. That's how people end up actually getting to where they want to be, and much faster than hitting their problems and goals with a hammer.

Last point, understand that I am not "anti" anything, just "pro" results. There are many doctors and clinicians in practice who are very talented and do great work. Many of them do look for the results. Where appropriate, I refer my clients to clinicians who can help them, when it makes sense. And even Dr. John Gottman, who's methods I have been critical of here, has also brought a lot of value to the field of relationship dynamics. But we must challenge what isn't working, and we must do what works, or we won't get results. This means challenging our beliefs and methods. As a coach and consultant in the field of performance and relationship psychology, I won't do a disservice to my clients by not constantly challenging myself, challenging methods, and challenging those who come to me for help, even if doing so might be uncomfortable at times.

People deserve the best for themselves when they are willing to do the work. It's up to them to choose what kind of work will get them the results if they ever expect to have the best. And it's up to me to guide the people who look to me for answers there.

- Paul

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May 03, 2023

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