January 2011

Down To Earth Newsletter
Volume 10 – Issue 1 – January, 2011

“Surrender Six Saturdays” – Begins January 29, 2011 – Therapy group specifically for mental health professionals to do their own work on their own issues, using the techniques of psychodrama.  $240 gets you six all-day sessions, including lunch (Jan 29, Feb. 12 & 19, Mar. 5 & 26, and April 9).  Call 480-705-5007 to reserve your spot this week!

Debunking Myths – No one ever succeeds with New Years’ Resolutions

New Years’ Resolutions are a nice idea, but no one ever really accomplishes them.

Fact: Although about 30% of New Years’ Resolutions are abandoned during January, about half of them actually make it to the 6-month mark.  However, only about 10-20% of those who make New Years’ Resolutions actually do achieve their goals.

The primary reasons for failure are that goals are too high, too vague, or when people keep their resolutions private.

When goals are set too high, initial efforts to reach the goals fall short.  After several failures, a person gets discouraged.  Eventually, the discouragement is more painful than whatever the original condition was and people choose to just go back to the way things were.  A better approach is to start with a very reasonable, achievable sub-goal and work towards it, making sure that you can reach that sub-goal in a fairly short amount of time.  That way, you will stay interested.  From there, you can approach the next sub-goal and reach it, then the next, and the next, and the next, stringing together small successess instead of large failures.  So, although the sub-goals may seem ridiculously easy, it’s better to set and reach easy goals than to set difficult goals that you never reach.

A related pitfall is to set goals that are too vague.  Lots of people resolve to “lose weight,” “become financially stable,” or “contribute more to the environment.”  These goals sound really good, but they are not specific enough to really prompt much in the way of effective action.  More specific goals include – to eat oatmeal for breakfast instead of stopping for donuts, or to have $20 automatically withdrawn from each paycheck and directly deposited into my savings account, or to ride the bus to work one day per week.  When you state your goals or sub-goals clearly, then is is not only easy to see when you succeed, but it is also really clear what you must do in order to succeed.  If you just state that you want to lose weight, there are about a million things you could try, but which one or ones will you try?  To specifically state that you will forgo donuts in favor of oatmeal gives you something concrete you can do every single day.

The third pitfall is when people keep their resolutions private.  It’s all well and good to think up resolutions on New Years’ Eve and declare them drunkenly at a party, but it’s another thing altogether to clearly state your resolutions to a close friend the next day, someone who may either share your goal, or at least be interested, willing, and able in supporting your achievement of the goal for yourself.  So, tell your friends, your co-workers, your kids.  Heck, tell a stranger in line at the grocery store.  Each time you say it out loud, you hear yourself say it.  As human beings, we so badly want to be right, the more we hear our own intentions, the more effort we will make to fulfil them.

So, if you’d like to be a part of the 10-20% of successful resolvers, make your goals clear, reasonable, and tell people about your goals.  A step-by-step for fulfilling resolutions is also found in the January Arizona Together Article.

December Discussion Question: To what do you attribute your greatest successes?

Marcus from Brisbane, Australia simply remarks: My father.

Well stated, Marcus!  Great dads make great kids who make great adults!  Thanks for responding!  Your exclusive Dr. Marlo prizes are on their way!

January Discussion Question: If you could live the rest of your life without a certain feeling, which one would you choose to get rid of?

E-mail answers to: discussion@drmarlo.com and answers will appear next month. Your state of residence, your first name and last initial will be used unless you tell us not to use them.  Anyone who responds and also includes a mailing address will receive our fantastic information cards, RECOVERY REMINDERS, and a couple of temporary tattoos, just for fun.

Thought For The Day: If it isn’t an emergency, there’s no need to rush madly about.

To spotlight our E-Coaching services, our newsletter includes a personal growth exercise.  These exercises illustrate the kinds of activities our clients are asked to complete when they are using our E-Coaching services.  The exercises printed here are quite general in nature, but the exercises sent to our E-Coaching clients are individualized to meet each client’s specific needs.  E-Coaching Sessions are available for $50 each.

Sharing the Sociometric Wealth

J.L. Moreno, founder of group psychotherapy, sociometry, and psychodrama, had great expectations for all of mankind.  It was his wish that every person on the planet would serve as a therapist for every other person on the planet.  Although this would put me out of business, I would be happy to seek another job in a world that functioned that way.  He was always encouraging people to help each other, to share, to give, and to spread resources around, including a resource he labeled “sociometric wealth.”  What this essentially means, in layman’s terms, is popularity, or acceptance, or belonging within a group.

We’ve all been in situations where 2-3 people are capturing the attention of most of the people in the room, and a couple of people are engrossed in each other, ignoring everyone else, and one or two people just don’t seem to be engaged with anyone at all.  Moreno identifies this dispersed attention as the “sociometric wealth” of the group.  Two or three people have an extraordinarily large share while several people seem to have just a small portion, or, perhaps, none at all.  Moreno’s vision of an ideal world is one in which that wealth would be more equally distributed, where each person in the group would have his or her turn at being the center of attention and there would be lots of interconnections between members, not just a clump of one-directional admiration.  Mutual reciprocity would be the norm, not the exception.  Well, great idea, Moreno.  Now, how do we make that happen?

The people who have the most attention are known as the “stars.”  Related to real life, the people in the world who get the attention of hundreds of thousands of people are also called “stars,”  Rock stars, Basketball Stars, and Movie Stars are common terms to describe people that attract our attention.  Other titles, like “Fashionista,” “Politico,” or “Zealot” designate stars in specific domains.  The really huge stars are easy to name: Oprah Winfrey, Brett Favre, Lady Gaga, etc.  However, in any group, there are stars.  There are stars at your church, in the PTA, and in a first grade class.  Any gathering of about 5 or more people is going to include a star of some sort.

This month’s activity is a two parter.  First, you are tasked with identifying in which groups YOU are the STAR.  Before you dismiss this task and swear that you simply are not a star, think very carefully of ALL the settings in which you function, your work, your home, your clubs and organizations, there is somewhere where you are the star.  You may have to think of a very small group, like the group of 4 guys that eat lunch together or the 3 moms that walk their kids to school together, or even among 3 siblings.  In any event, find at least one group in which you are the star.  Now, it is entirely possible that you are not the star in any group.  There are always isolates and it might be you, but be sure to examine all areas of your life before you give up and call yourself a loner.

In any group where you are the star, notice how much of the group’s attention you are blessed with and make it your business to redistribute that wealth over the next few meetings of that group.   You redistribute the wealth by taking note of what characteristics of yours are attracting the group’s attention, and changing the focus of the group to match the characteristics of the isolates instead.  For example, you belong to a book club and you are very funny and witty.  People enjoy listening to your reviews because they are clever and entertaining.  Take note of the one person no one particularly cares to listen to.  It is probably because they are not clever and entertaining, but they have some quality that would be of value to the group.  Let it be up to you to identify it and turn the group’s attention to that.  For example, they may be very skilled at identifying inconsistencies in the plot.  Instead of starting with your usual clever story, ask the group instead to focus critically on the book and see if anyone can identify any inconsistancies in the plot or with the characters, leaving an opening for your shy member to shine and get the focus of the group for a while.  Then think of talents and skills that the other less-represented members of the group have and coax them out with inviting questions as well.  Since you are the star, the group will follow your lead.  You can help the others be included.

Now, if you are, in fact, the isolate, then take a good look at what the group values that you are not exhibiting and make some effort to connect with the others on that characteristic.  You may not be terribly skilled in that area, but if you at least look like you are making an effort to move in the direction of the group’s interest, people will not view you as so distant and they will be more willing to look at your other qualities.  You cannot just stand outside the gates and shake your fist, asking to be let in.  You must make at least minimal effort to be included.

So, this month, I encourage you to spread around the sociometric wealth and report back on how it went!

For a FREE 5-Session Trial of E-Coaching, send us a report of how this activity worked for you!  We may share your report in our next newsletter with your name, last initial, and state of residence (unless you tell us not to).  Send to FreeSessions@drmarlo.com.  (Offer Expires 2-23-11)

E-Coaching!  Try it Now!
Not every problem is a mental illness.  Not every issue is a trauma.  Not every botherment is an emotional disorder.  For life’s daily issues and for personal growth, now there is E-Coaching!  Dr. Marlo Archer offers a 10-session consultation package for people who are not diagnosed with any mental illness who would just like some coaching, some guidance, or some personal growth.  We are offering the 10-Session package for $500.  Begin by calling 480-705-5007 to make a $500 payment, then send an e-mail to DrMarlo@drmarlo.com, expressing your specific area of concern to begin!

Dr. Marlo’s Movie Madness – Entertainment and Education
We have now moved this event from the office to our home.  We’re also going to try a new day/time – Fridays at 2:00pm.  We can now accommodate up to 10 credentialed clinicians (who are not allergic to cats) comfortably to enjoy a movie, popcorn, and informal continuing education.  We will continue to show the movie for free and will now also offer the CE certificate for free.  Join us in January for “Eat, Pray, Love.”  Mark your calendar now for Friday, January 28th from 2:00pm – 4:30pm.  Join us in February for “The Social Network” February 25th.  Suggest a movie now for future dates:  March 25th, April 8th, May 20th, and June 17th.  If your selection is chosen and you have included your mailing address, we will send you a FREE DVD MOVIE from previous years’ Dr. Marlo’s Movie Madness. Sign up for Movie Madness updates by sending a blank e-mail with ‘subscribe’ in the subject line to MovieMadness@drmarlo.com.

Publish Your Work – Promote your PracticeTwo ways to publish – for free as a semi-anonymous author (your state of residence, your first name and last initial will be used), or, for $25, as a professional promoting a mental health practice (your full name, with credentials, address, phone number, and e-mail address will be included).  We reserve the right to decline to publish any submissions.   Send creative contributions to:  articles@drmarlo.com.

Dr. Marlo in the Media

Read Dr. Marlo’s article, “Is a whole year needed for New Years Resolutions?” in the January issue of Together Arizona Newspaper. Click here.

Wishing you a spectacular 2011! –Marlo J. Archer, Ph.D.

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