Archive for April, 2014

“How To Make Anyone Fall In Love With You”!

Friday, April 25th, 2014

JOHN J. STATHAS, Ph.D., LMFT

At last, the magic formula to find and keep the love of your life!  That is the message of Leil Lowndes in her book HOW TO MAKE ANYONE FALL IN LOVE WITH YOU. Ms. Lowndes thesis is “that you can capture, and keep, the heart of any man or woman you choose because … science is finally unraveling what romantic love actually is, What triggers it. What kills it. What makes it last”. Okay, let’s get on that magic carpet ride and see where this “science” leads us.

Ms. Lowndes focuses on six elements for this falling in love process:

  1. FIRST IMPRESSIONS: “The moment you set eyes on each other, your Potential Love Partner reacts to the subtleties of your body language. Thus the way you first present yourself is important – if there are to be future possibilities”.
  2. SIMILAR CHARACTER, COMPLEMENTARY NEEDS: “If there is to be compatability for a lifetime… some similarity is necessary. Certain values, beliefs, activities, and world view are important. Besides similarity it is important to look for complementary qualities – ones that we find interesting and may enhance our lives”.
  3. EQUITY: “Lovers unconsciously calculate the other person’s comparable worth, the cost-benefit ratio of the reality of hidden costs, the maintenance fee, and the assumed depreciation. This is part of making a good long term investment”.
  4. EGO: “Everyone hungers for security and validation. … You want your potential partner to feel that you are his or her harbor from the storm of life”.
  5. EARLY-DATE GENDER MEMBERS: “Men and women think and communicate in drastically different way.  You need to know some of these differences if you hope to commit”.
  6. Rx FOR SEX: “Mind power is what drives the mighty machine and keeps it generating heat for many years. The most erotic organ in the body is his or her brain. … Men need to create sensuality and passion in every aspect of your relationship. Women your sexual attitude and how you deal with his individual sexuality is the most important”.

Well, now you know the secrets of “science” enabling you “make anyone fall in love with you”!  Such breakthroughs. My take is that this is a watered down version of MEN ARE FROM MARS, WOMEN ARE FROM VENUS. There are basic kernels of insight here to be sure.  Better reads for the creation and maintenance of a solid love relationship are the works of Dr.John Gottman, Dr. Pat Love, and Dr. Harville Hendrix. (Google them).  Their solid research and pragmatic articulation are some of the best works in the field.

Perhaps Ms. Lowndes, with her catchy title, has caught your attention and given you some starting points for the life task of finding and keeping a mate of value and compatability.  For that her book has merit.

Personally speaking, I do not believe that there is any life task more important than finding a life long romantic partner with whom you can share the vicissitudes of a life worth living. I am grateful that I chose a profession that taught me how to do the “due diligence” to find the right partner for me. Thirty five years later Sherry is “still the one”!  May you be as fortunate!

“The unexamined life is not worth living”      Socrates

Do You Have A Playful Personality? If So, One Of These Types?

Friday, April 18th, 2014

I am passionate about understanding various facets of the brain which is the “computer” that runs our life.  Science has now proven that the brain is modifiable. Neuroplasticity is the term to describe this process. How do you, Respected Reader, want to shape your brain?  How about fun, you know, some play time. Play enlivens the brain, relieves stress, and often brings happiness (sometimes depending on how well you played!).

An interesting book has been brought to my attention relative to the relationship between the brain and play.  It is entitled PLAY: HOW It SHAPES THE BRAIN, OPENS THE IMAGINATION, AND INVIGORATES THE SOUL.  It is written by Stuart Brown, a psychiatrist. He is President of the National Institute of Play.  Google him, he has very impressive credentials.

I won’t go into the psycho-biological brain implications of play here, except to list what Dr. Brown and  his institute specify are the types of play science. He lists seven types:

  1. Attunement Play.
  2. Body Play and Movement.
  3. Object Play.
  4. Social Play.
  5. Imaginative and Pretend Play.
  6. Storytelling –Narrative Play.
  7. Transformative – Integrative and Creative Play.

The Institute says brain play has significant implications personal health, relationships, education, corporate innovation. Their web page spells this out in more detail.

More fun than the academic science of all this is Dr. Brown’s description of play personality types.  I am hoping and presuming you have one.  Perhaps one of the eight play personalities listed by Dr. Brown may fit you.

  1. The Joker – makes people laugh, plays practical jokes.
  2. The Kinesthete –loves to move, dance, swim, play sports.
  3. The Explorer – goes to new places, meets new people, seeks out new experiences (physically and mentally).
  4. The Competitor – loves all forms of competition, has fun keeping score.
  5. The Director – enjoys planning and executing events and experiences, like throwing parties, organizing outings, and leading.
  6. The Collector – loves the thrill of collecting, whether objects or experiences.
  7. The Artist/Creator – finds joy in making things, fixing things, decorating, working with his or her hands.
  8. The Storyteller – loves to use imagination to create and absorb stories, in novels, movies, plays, performances.

Which one, or ones, best fit you? Or none?  (Perhaps  you need to lighten up!) Or you may have another category of play not listed here. What type might others use to describe you?  You might have some fun “playing” around with these descriptors.  More importantly, this focus may invite you to look at where play fits into your life – and your brain!

“The unexamined life is not worth living”  Socrates

Do You Think You Are Happy? Not So Fast! Some Checkpoints To Consider

Thursday, April 10th, 2014

I remember a British fellow in therapy with me back in 1987 making these comments: “John, this is how I posit the data” and “I didn’t know what I didn’t know”.  He was gaining insight into himself and was feeling grateful and empowered. The reason these two statements have stayed with me is the profound depth they communicate.

Each of us “posits the data”, meaning we process events in a certain way; we choose to think about stuff in our own unique way- what makes sense to us. Yet, there is so much that we do not realize that we really do not know.  Defensive blinders stifle greater awareness. Follow all that?

Since the Socratic method, and the statement of “the unexamined life is not worth living” is my mantra, I offer the following areas for you to peruse and see if any of these descriptors offer insight into areas that you may need to “know” more about.

RELATIONSHIP ISSUES: communication issues, marriage evaluation, dating success/failure, premarital or separation/divorce, parenting assistance, affairs/infidelity, family/in-law concerns, co-dependency.

ANXIETY: stress, panic attacks, social anxiety, obsessive behavior, concentration difficulties, irritability, feeling on edge, constant worry, anger management issues, mood swings, loss of control, isolation.

DEPRESSION: sadness, loss of interest, sleep challenges, tearfulness, fatigue, indecision, low self esteem, melancholy.

LIFE TRANSITIONS: relationship break up, job change/loss, retirement, moving, divorce, loss of a loved one, child birth, empty nest syndrome, financial distress, illness, legal issues.

EXCESS ISSUES: alcohol, illicit drugs, food intake, tobacco use, gambling, shopping.

SEXUAL CONCERNS: quality and quantity, arousal/functionality concerns, pornography, emotional closeness lack.

The above categorizations are not meant to be exhaustive in your self assessment, rather as a starting point to look at yourself honestly and objectively.  Perhaps the way you “posit the data” is distorted and there may be something here that may need to be known and addressed for your movement forward into becoming your best self.  You deserve to “be all that you can be”!

“The unexamined life is not worth living”   Socrates