This post is an excerpt of Choosing Change #12: Building Character and Building People. It is also connected to another excerpt, Changing your Mind in the River of Integration (Theological Goals, Activities and Skills)

Changing Psychological

Changing your Mind in the River of Integration (Psychological) – Printer-friendly version

It’s my hope that by studying this information (in the area of your home you’ve designated as your Study), you’ll achieve your goals by engaging in strategic activity to produce skills that will help you to be more focused in your thinking, to live intentionally with your actions, and to only engage in behavior that mutually benefits yourself and others.

I’ve found that giving my brain and mind “new data” to draw upon when I most need the information has helped me to be more thoughtful and creative in my decision making, which has led me to produce and experience better outcomes with my behavioral goals. My hope is that you too will experience similar outcomes as you practice these strategies in your work toward building your house on the rock (Matthew 7:24-25).

As always, don’t worry about implementing these suggestions perfectly; take the Nike™ approach: just do it, and keep practicing them. Eventually, your brain and mind will learn and incorporate the skill, and the repetitive process will help to create a “new default” where your behavior will indicate you’re headed in the right direction toward achieving your goals as you move forward in the River of Integration.

So first, let’s look at the Psychological Goals, Activities, and Skills, then we’ll integrate the Theological Goals, Activities, and Skills, with an eye toward seeing how the applied principles from both domains could be of service to you.

Changing your Mind in the River of Integration (Psychological Goals, Activities and Skills

As you look at this chart (and the one below), know that your overall goal is to upload and integrate into your brain and mind concepts, strategies, and behaviors that will assist you to “keep your boat afloat and moving” in the River of Integration. As outlined in the chart, your sub-goals are to identify, integrate and become good at behaviors that create flexibility, adjustability, connection, flow, congruence, and dependability.

When these and other helpful behaviors are identified, integrated and implemented into your life, you’re accomplishing two important objectives. First, you’re giving your brain and mind the opportunity to develop new skills that will help you to be more aware, deliberate, considerate and intentional regarding what you’ll do and how you’ll act on the energy and information that is flowing within your brain and mind.

Second, when targeted behavior is worked on regularly, your efforts will assist you to build better and stronger relationships that reflect safety, harmony, respect, and empowerment. This is achieved because your efforts are changing the way you assess, perceive, respond to and become better at taking care of yourself, which when done effectively, helps you to “reasonably respond” and administer appropriate care in your interactions with others.

So let’s take a closer look at the material in this chart, and we’ll start with a brief look at what you don’t want to do, which is get stuck on the banks of Chaos or Rigidity. Then we’ll take a look at the behaviors you do want to do consistently, to help you to be successful in your positive and forward movement in the River of Integration.

The Shores of Chaos and Rigidity (Psychological)

When life experiences cause surges of fear, anger, hurt, shame, mistrust, loneliness or some other strong energy (that evokes emotion) to shoot through your mind and body, you may try to gain some measure of control over these sensations and feelings before you “fly off the handle” or as Dr. Siegel calls it, “flip your lid.” Sometimes you might be successful at interrupting and curbing this behavior; at other times, you may simply just “blow it.”

When it comes right down to it, there could be a myriad of logical (and sometimes very complex) reasons that cause these biological and psychological reactions to occur simultaneously and instantaneously in your brain and body. However, regardless of their origin or complex nature, what may also be occurring is that your mind is interpreting that there’s an actual or imagined threat to either your person (your safety) or to the secure, sane, serene, supportive or sensual connections that you’d like to enjoy personally or within your relationships.

Although there’s no excuse for the maladaptive behavior that’s demonstrated when these sensations, feelings, and thoughts get triggered in your brain and cause you to inflict regrettable ruptures in your relationships, you are responsible, capable and “response-able” to reflect, repair and renew your relationship just as quickly.

The “scale-tipper” that could make a difference between engaging in scorched earth behavior versus creating compassionate connections is…Awareness (remember the A-C-T-I-V-E Model? Keep that thought in mind as we’ll come back to it in a moment). For now, let’s return to the “Changing your Mind in the River of Integration – Psychological” table and absorb the insight and advice that Dr. Siegel would like to contribute during his walk-through of your home.

Dr. Siegel calls the “upper shore” of the River of Integration Chaos, and he calls the “lower shore” of the river Rigidity (going forward, I’ve emphasized Dr. Siegel’s terms in bold, but the comments and conclusions are mines).

On the upper shore, I conceptualize Chaotic behaviors as those behaviors that cause anxiety, uncertainty, volatility, hurt, mistrust, fragility, and instability, while on the lower shore I conceptualize Rigid behaviors as those behaviors that cause inflexibility, hardness, stubbornness, entitlement, and consequence. Unfortunately, there are times in my office where I’ll see people who either get stuck on a sandbar or possibly even shipwrecked on either the upper shore (Chaos) or the lower shore (Rigidity). Here’s how.

People tend to get stuck on the Chaotic shore when they react to, or allow interpersonal conflict (or worse, a traumatizing experience they didn’t seek nor ask for) to cause a Rupture in their relationship, where prior to that encounter or experience, their respect, serenity, connectedness or Attunement to that person was intact.

If not dealt with in a constructive or timely manner, then their Rupture (or Unresolved Trauma, lower shore) may cause disruptive or intense surges of energy that causes one to respond by “Fighting or taking Flight.” Fighting or taking Flight means that one is engaging in conflict that intensifies, or avoidance, escape or distance strategies because they may be interpreting that a vital intimacy need or value that is held dearly may not be integrated interpersonally to create Repair within a reasonable period of time.

Equally, on the Lower shore, this same Rupture may cause one to “Freeze or Feign,” because one may think that their survival depends on either surrendering, submitting, subjugating, or, minimizing some part if not all of their of their personal needs. In a scenario like this, progress is stymied because the actual or perceived threat to their person generates so much fear or fright that the thought (or maladaptive schema that is triggered) signals that it’s better to pause or stop rather than risk further (and typically relational) hurt.

For some, the Chaos leads to what Dr. Siegel calls “Emotional Hijacking,” which means the lower and more reactive parts of our brain interrupts, floods or causes a functional disconnect with the higher, more rational and thoughtful parts of our brain. When this occurs, one’s brain, body, and mind may go on Automatic Pilot, and unwittingly or without much thought take any hapless bystander (but some passengers volunteer for the chaotic or conflictual ride) to places where focused, intentional, value-oriented and rational behavior often and sadly get left behind.

What tends to occur is progress is halted and you may feel stuck, shipwrecked or become Lost in Familiar Places, either in your mind by repeating negative self-or other maladaptive schemas, or, by using what Terry Real calls “misery stabilizers” (that is, accessing work, drugs, food, sex, gambling, romance, etc.) to anesthetize old or new wounds that may have been incurred on this unnecessary but typically predictable ordeal.

If you can identify with any part of getting stuck on either the Chaotic or Rigid shores of the River of Integration, I have a few questions for you:

  1. Is there some unresolved trauma that needs therapeutic attention immediately because it causes undesired problems or unplanned consequence in your life? Is so, what might it be?
  2. What “incendiary matches” (or issues) do you tend to “strike up then flick” which may cause internal distress and relationship chaos? For what valid (hear me now) personal or relational need are you maladaptively seeking attention? 
  3. When ruptures occur, are you prone to react by fighting, taking flight, freezing or feigning (submitting, because your life depended on it)?  How did this strategy start? What other constructive options come to mind that you could employ?
  4. Are you aware of what’s going on, or, what you’re about to do when you become emotionally dysregulated and your brain becomes emotionally hijacked? Are you aware that you’re about to go on “automatic pilot,” which could cause you to say or do things you probably know you’re going to regret? How long does it take you to “land” so that your logical and cortical part of your brain could help you? What helps that process to occur?
  5. What are the familiar places that you default to when you get emotionally flooded? What are the misery stabilizers that you gravitate toward to seek escape, respite or relief? What harm do they cause to you and others? What will it take to end this maladaptive behavior? 
  6. What are the ruptures in your marriage or family that still ache psychologically (or literally in some part of your body) that need attention? What do you think could help to heal your wounds? What behavior, if integrated into your life could help you to feel better? 

Thanks for taking a Time-In to Reflect and consider how you got to either the Chaotic or Rigid shore, but now, as you continue with the Psychological table, let’s take a look at some of the goals, activities, and skills that if developed and practiced, could assist you to create your Triangle of Well-being and enjoy good Interpersonal Neurobiology!

As mentioned earlier, the bold print in the Changing your Mind in the River of Integration (Psychological) table are Dr. Siegel’s terms from “The Pocketbook of Interpersonal Neurobiology (2012) and serve as our “goals” for staying in the River of Integration. Embedded in the narrative below are my suggested activities to assist you in skill development.

Remember, you’re encouraged to implement and practice these behaviors to give your brain new opportunities to grow and your mind new skills to develop and master, which tend to facilitate healthier and stronger bonds in your relationships.

Insights from Column #1 in the River of Integration (Psychological)

One primary goal and skill that Dr. Siegel would want you to develop is a Secure Base wherein you engage in behaviors that facilitate safety, security, sanity, stability, and connection. These skills will assist you to create, maintain and enjoy Attunement in your person and in your communication with others, which Dr. Siegel states is marked by creating and maintaining respectful and compassionate connections with others.

Also, your chances of developing and maintaining a Secure Base and Attunement with others increases dramatically when you engage in the activity of “S.I.F.T.-ing your Mind.” S.I.F.T. is an acronym that stands for Sensation, Image (the vision or pictures in your mind), Feelings and Thoughts.

Dr. Siegel would encourage you to focus your attention on these vital aspects of who you are to gain valuable information about what’s going on in your mind, body, and spirit, then interpret, integrate and act accordingly on what you discover about yourself and your relationship.

Dr. Siegel encourages you to schedule times in your day to take strategic “Time-Ins” to enhance your ability to look within yourself to discover your feelings, processes, needs, wants, hurts, or other issues that deserve your attention. Your ability to “read your internal thermometer” then make the necessary Middle Prefrontal Cortex informed adjustments (where empathy, insight, intuition or response flexibility are applied) not only help you to return to your 68º – 72º degree range of functional behaviors, but it helps you to not detonate the unmistakeable mines in the familiar minefield that you may have gotten lost in during past moments of emotional dysregulation.

Creating safety between your ears and between each other generates co- and mutual emotional regulation. This type of regulation generates the necessary environment where dyadic regulation could occur because you’ll need to be in your Adult ego state to be able to hear, then respond appropriately to one another’s needs, solutions, ideas, options or requests versus having their viewpoints swept away in a flood of dysregulation.

Activities for Column #1 (Psychological):

  1. Take 5 minutes to think about what (spiritual disciplines) or List of 442 Agape-Oriented Values behaviors would create safety, security, and serenity for all involved. When identified, practice these for 5 minutes. What behaviors will you be responsible for implementing immediately to restore safety? Make a commitment to only do these constructive behaviors, realizing they’ll help you to “stay in your lane.”
  2. Every 2 hours take a scheduled “Time-In” to S.I.F.T. your mind. What thoughts, feelings, ideas or needs are you discovering that require attention and follow-up? 
  3. You can’t be anxious and relaxed at the same time. Engage in controlled breathing exercises to modulate your fear and to experience emotional balance. Do you need to ask for a “Time-out” to further process your thoughts? 
  4. Take some time to reflect and think about the words, sentiment, goals, ideas or solutions you’d like to impart when you speak with your family member. What is it that you’d like to say, ask for, need, negotiate, take care of, or address with your partner/family member?

Insights from Column #2 in the River of Integration (Psychological)

Are you beginning to see some of the potential benefits from implementing the Column #1 strategies? If so, I want to say that it only gets better! Dr. Siegel would have you realize that engaging in the daily strategy of S.I.F.T. (along with practicing other suggested strategies) creates an “Awakened Mind.” To Dr. Siegel, an awakened mind is a mind that’s Aware, and being aware affords you with the opportunity to make deliberate, mindful, enlightened and intentional thoughts and decisions for your well-being and that of others.

For me, an awakened mind means I’m actively (but not obsessively) sifting my mind, monitoring my own thoughts and feelings, taking my psychological “temperature readings,” and making necessary behavioral adjustments to ensure my behaviors keep me centered in the River of Integration. Staying centered means I try to view and interact with the world via the practice of my Agape-oriented values, which helps me to make sense of my actions, my goals, my past, my present, my responsibilities and what I’d like to impart in my encounters with others.

Operating with an Awakened mind means that every day I’m “uploading” ideas, principles, strategies, concepts, and options that align with my value system (like the A-C-T-I-V-E model and the LoveWorks model). By uploading strategies that work and make sense to me, I’m giving my brain and mind “new files” that are corrective and therapeutic in nature to retrieve and pull up when I most need to implement and operate by those principles and strategies.

Integrating and operating by the values within these new “files” or “winning strategies” empowers me with the ability to make a “Cortical override,” which means I’m giving my Middle Prefrontal Cortex more material to draw upon, which helps me to make sense of what’s going on in my encounters with others in the Living Room and Dining room of the home because I’m able to regulate my emotions which leads to more control over my impulsive behaviors (that is, the things, I say and the things I do).

In addition, S.I.F.T.-ing helps to keep my Middle Prefrontal Cortex (“MPFc”) awake, active and paying attention, which means I’m more alert, conscious and equipped to access and practice any of the nine MPFc functions that help me to balance my brain. This balance brings with it insightful and productive changes to my mind, which helps me to experience functional outcomes in my relationships (are you seeing how good Interpersonal Neurobiology could be experienced?).

I’ve talked about the nine Middle Prefrontal Cortex functions in Changing your Mind with the practice of LoveWorks (Letter B – Balance your Brain/Body via your Nine Middle Prefrontal Cortex functions), and in Change your Mind with Interpersonal Neurobiology. As time permits, please visit these posts for extensive information regarding how the nine MPFc functions could assist you to create your Triangle of Well-being and good Interpersonal Neurobiology. Here’s a peek at how the nine could help at any given time:

Regulating your Body (typically done by breathing or via bilateral stimulation when walking) facilitates the biological and psychological calm needed to develop and enjoy Attuned Communication. Regulating, “bio-balancing,” or restoring calm to your brain and body is best experienced when you’ve discharged the energy from your body that was “summoned” to prepare you for a fight, flight, freeze or feign experience that you don’t have to take. As much as these endogenous chemicals are present to ensure your survival, too much of the neurochemicals or hormones could leave you “flooded” and interrupt your ability to send, receive, process or interpret messages accurately. Breathing, walking, stretching, exercising or any activity that simultaneously stimulates both hemispheres in your brain will move you closer to your goal of personal or relational Attunement.

Attuned Communication occurs when you feel safe, connected, aware and attentive of what’s going on inside of you, which helps you to give the same gift to others (that is, being safe with your thoughts and words, connected and able to contain the energy flowing inside of you, aware and able to interpret and process information, and attentive to doing the next right thing).

The practice of these behaviors creates Emotional Balance, which helps you to not only remain centered and focused on your values River of Integration, but it also helps you to accurately interpret and give meaning to the “data” that you’re taking in and processing in your mind and brain, typically without distortion or delusion.

When balanced emotionally, you enhance your ability to respond intentionally, deliberately and strategically with greater flexibility with your thoughts, feelings, and actions (also known as Response Flexibility). Widening your bandwidth means you’ll give your brain and mind more room to store and retrieve more of the values that help you to make sense of your situation, as this skill helps you to come to your assistance and to the assistance of your relationship.

When you begin to feel good and confident about the actions you’re practicing, and you can see and experience the “positive payoff” because of your work, then it significantly reduces internal worry, anxiety, dread, panic, and fear. What you’re doing is “Fear Modulation,” which means your “upper and cortical brain” is being given the opportunity to inform, guide, direct and override your “lower and reactive” brain.

Reduced fear helps us to benefit from other higher, cortical and spiritual areas of our brain and mind where Insight (our ability to discern, be knowledgeable about then make good choices), Empathy (our ability to tune-in to, read, reflect then accurately report or act), Morality (our ability to conceptualize and deliver value-oriented behavior in a timely manner) or Intuition (our ability to author, create and demonstrate new, positive, and wise methods of living) helps us and our ability to effectively help others.

The consistent practice of these nine Middle Prefrontal Cortex functions facilitates openness, focus, creativity,  inclusiveness, and possibility in your brain and in your relationship, versus being close-minded, struck, hijacked, adrift or disoriented. Equally the practice of these skills gives you an unmistakable leg up in constructively approaching and resolving internal or interpersonal conflict with others in your home!

Activities for Column #2 (Psychological):

  1. Schedule time each day for silence, reflection, contemplation, meditation, prayer, introspection, and solitude. During this time practice your breathing while you engage in S.I.F.T.-ing your mind to become aware of your thoughts, feelings, ideas, needs, and opportunities. Consider sharing your insights with “trusted travelers.”
  2. Envision yourself practicing and demonstrating the nine Middle Prefrontal Cortex functions with others in your life. Whom in your life needs to experience which skill?
  3. Think about any ruptures in your life and relationships that need your attention to be repaired. As you practice the MPFc functions, what are you currently open to that you’ve been closed to in the past? What are you focused on repairing or building, whereas in the past you’ve been stuck or adrift? What possibility or opportunity will you seize upon correcting whereas in the past you’ve been rigid or inflexible? 

Insights from Column #3 in the River of Integration (Psychological)

Dr. Siegel states that a prime goal of being in the River of Integration is to cultivate skills and outcomes that are Flexible, Adaptive, Coherent, Energized, and Stable (which he defines with the acronym “F.A.C.E.S”). He states that these qualities are markers and indicators of mental health, while Chaos and Rigidity and all that accompany these characteristics are indicators of mental disorder.

While you think about what MPFc functions in addition to which Healthy Adult mode behaviors could help you to cultivate and experience “F.A.C.E.S.,” Dr. Siegel encourages us to integrate another acronym called “C.O.A.L.,” into our boat. C.O.A.L. stands for Curious, Open, Accepting and Loving, and I encourage you to learn to “Cook with C.O.A.L.” It’s no surprise to me that the combination of any these acronyms or tools will help to produce constructive outcomes in your mind or relationships, especially since two of these characteristics are descriptors of Agape (Acceptance and Love).

Since these are core components of Dr. Siegel’s research, it behooves us to “upload” these characteristics into our minds to give our mental processes additional, and good principles to draw upon when we need them. I’ve also encouraged people to be flexible, open and curious about the viewpoints of others (while also remaining aware of their own viewpoints), and to work to create a stable, loving and accepting environment, which helps to facilitate safety, vulnerability, compassion and empathy, which are prime factors needed to develop good communication much less an effective relationship repair process.

Activities for Column #3 (Psychological):

  1. When, where and why would you see yourself applying the F.A.C.E.S. acronym? What life circumstances would require or necessitate the application of these values?
  2. The next time conflict arises, apply the C.O.A.L. acronym. Ask questions, become curious, remain open, accept and integrate what you hear and respond with values and characteristics that communicate validation, worth, honor and love.
  3. During calmer moments when you’re enjoying Attuned Communication, ask your spouse, partner or family member what the accurate delivery and demonstration of Empathy would look like to them. Feedback what you heard along with any suggestions that could enhance the experience. Make a notation of their response, study it, then practice it the next time a situation arises that is deserving of Empathy or Compassion.
  4. Jot down 3 questions that will prod you to think about the other person’s experience that you’ll utilize either before, during or after an encounter with them. Make sure these prompts help you to incorporate the S.I.F.T. -ing process about their point of view.

Insights from Column #4 in the River of Integration (Psychological)

What makes the River of Integration concept work is that ideas, options, viewpoints, opinions, insights, processes, values, strategies and more are brought to the forefront of your mind, talked about respectfully and then collaborated and implemented to create effective outcomes.

When this Adult-Adult intrapersonal (within yourself) and interpersonal (between you and another) process occurs, you’re cooking with the ingredients that make for a good Triangle of Well-being and you’re creating the “win-win” template that results in good Interpersonal Neurobiology.

Good Interpersonal Neurobiology is achieved because we apply the principle that Albert Einstein operated by: “It’s not that I’m so smart, it’s just that I stay with the problem longer.” Staying with the problem longer means you’re incorporating values, principles, and strategies that help you to emotionally regulate yourself and remain calm. When you regulate yourself, you’re increasing your mental bandwidth, which means more insights, solutions and a broader menu of options are given the opportunity to arise to your awareness.

Greater awareness helps to activate your Middle Prefrontal Cortex functions, which means you’ll employ dyadic communication skills that keep both of you talking at the table of communication with fewer interruptions from the “demon dialogues that threaten dysregulation.” To the contrary, the template that you’ve created helps you to mutually impact each other’s brain safely, constructively, and respectfully.

By staying at the table of communication you’re giving yourself the opportunity to stay with the problem longer, and when you stay with the problem longer you’re engaging in processes where your focused attention helps you to generate mutual awareness about what solutions you could apply to your problems, then employ your solution(s) or strategies, then measure your results to determine your effectiveness.

By employing these principles in this manner you’re positioning yourself to transition into what Dr. Siegel calls “Me to We” narratives, where your good communication processes and skills afford you with the chance to create new, functional, flexible and collective “win-win” experiences and outcomes.

It’s outcomes like this that not only make for good Interpersonal Neurobiology, but they also increase what Dr. Siegel calls “Proximity Seeking.” Proximity seeking means you’re both utilizing your energy to create opportunities to move closer to one another even though you may have different viewpoints and opinions about life issues that impact your relationship.

Instead of being threatened by your differences, your Agape-oriented values help you to maturely accept, integrate, appreciate and where possible, nurture each other’s points of view because loving your family member’s head and heart in this manner creates a win-win for both of you. Seen in this manner, Proximity seeking is the result of the work you’ve done to create good Interpersonal Neurobiology, and is a reflection of your commitment to create, maintain and live by Adult values that promote safety, sanity, security, stability, sensuality, spirituality and connection!

Activities for Column #4 (Psychological):

  1. Take some time to investigate, inventory then own with a commitment to change any behaviors which could be causing the unwanted eruption of the “demon dialogues.” What are they and which Agape-oriented values, when applied, could corral, eliminate or extinguish them? 
  2. Think about the “must have” values that you need and deem critical for you as you travel through life. Share what they are, why they’re important to you and why you’re committed to converting these ideas into everyday practical realities in your life and relationship. By engaging in this activity, you’re identifying the “Me” narratives that you’d like to create, nurture and live by.
  3. After you’ve had some time to share your personal vision of what’s important to you, take time to reflect on what you’ve heard your spouse or partner say is important to them. Where, how and in what way are you able to integrate their dream, vision, needs, and viewpoint, where their wants and needs are given as much importance and significance as your own dream, vision, needs and viewpoints? By engaging in this activity, you’re developing the platform to move from a “Me-to-We” narrative that you’ll create, nurture and live by.
  4. Identify and report the “rock-solid” behaviors that when demonstrated, help you to feel close, comforted, cared for and connected to your partner. These behaviors are your “Proximity Seeking” behaviors. When you’re aware of the needs that will draw your spouse closer to you, what prohibits you from delivering them to him/her immediately? Which of your character virtues or values would help you to do a 180° with your behavior?

Insights from Column #5 in the River of Integration (Psychological)

It’s the aim of Dr. Siegel (and my hope too) that the integration of these suggestions will assist you in creating a level and quality of mental health that provides you with skills to develop and live an adaptive and functional life and to create the same in your relationships.

By incorporating these suggestions into your day-in and day-out activity, and becoming better and better at it, to the point of becoming skilled and proficient, your work will result in what Dr. Siegel calls a steady “State of Mind.” A steady state of mind is the outcome of the identification, employment, integration, and repetition of your value-oriented strategies that help your brain and mind to create constructive possibilities and results for you and your relationships.

Believe it or not, Dr. Siegel has an acronym for this process: “S.N.A.G.,” which stands for Stimulating Neuronal Activation and Growth. When you focus your attention and channel your mind energy to identify and repeat deliberate and intentional strategies that create calm, demonstrate help, are curative in nature and help you to repair ruptures in your relationships, then you’re stimulating neuronal activation and growth in your brain.

Dr. Siegel’s research claims that when synapses in your brain are stimulated and linked to specific behaviors that are repeated, especially behaviors that are focused on well-being and good for yourself and for others, then the “Neurons that fire together wire together.

This is exciting because it means we have the capacity to accomplish something that the Jedi Master Yoda said to Luke Skywalker in The Empire Strikes Back: “You must unlearn what you have learned.” The unlearning (of Chaos, Rigidity and Maladaptive schemas, etc.) occurs when we channel our energy to identify, create and integrate new ways to think about, pay attention to, focus on and decide then implement behaviors that facilitate health, life, support and care to ourselves and others.  Isn’t this the best way to use your brain energy? I can’t think of a better way to live!

Dr. Siegel closes his book by stating when we integrate the Mindsight principles, develop a functional Triangle of Well-being, and produce good Interpersonal Neurobiology, then we’re closer to experiencing what he calls “3 G to 2 P.” This stands for Gratitude, Generosity and Giving Back, to (“2”) People and our Planet.

Activities for Column #5 (Psychological):

The list of 442 Agape-Oriented Values (Downloadable PDF)

  1. Download then take a look at the List of the 442 Agape-Oriented values. Select 10 – 15 of the Values that are important to you that you’d like to develop and integrate into your life over the next 3 – 4 months because the presence of these behaviors would facilitate mental health, a functional Triangle of Well-being and good Interpersonal Neurobiology with others.
  2. Which of these values when practiced would help you to develop a steady state of mind? Record your thoughts and think about how you’re going to bring these words to life, on a day-in and day-out basis.
  3. Which of these values need to be rehearsed and acted upon regularly because the repetition of your Agape-oriented values helps you to not only unlearn maladaptive habits but they could help to stimulate neuronal activity and growth in your brain and mind? Record your thoughts and think about how you’re going to bring these words to life on a day-in and day-out basis.

Thanks for taking a look at the Changing your Mind in the River of Integration (Psychological Goals, Activities and Skills) information! I know it’s a lot of information to take in, however, learning then applying the principles provides you with valuable information that your brain will retrieve when you most need it, as you work toward creating a functional Triangle of Well-being and good Interpersonal Neurobiology!

Also, as time permits, please visit the other blogs written by Dr. Ken McGill: Daily Bread for Life and “3 – 2 – 5 – 4 – 24″ for additional information that could be helpful. I welcome your comments below or via email and your favorites, your retweets and your “+1’s” if you have a brief moment and find the information helpful. Again, it is my desire to provide the very best info for your consideration.




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About Dr Ken McGill

Dr. Ken McGill is an ordained minister and has been involved in counseling for more than 25 years. Dr. McGill holds a Bachelor's degree in Religion from Pacific Christian College (now Hope International University), a Certificate of Completion in the Alcohol and Drug Studies/Counseling Program from the University of California at Los Angeles and a Masters degree in Clinical Psychology from Antioch University. Dr. McGill received his Doctorate in Clinical Psychology with an emphasis in Family Psychology from Azusa Pacific University in May, 2003. Dr. McGill's dissertation focused on the development of an integrated treatment program for the sexually addicted homeless population, and Ken was "personally mentored" by dissertation committee member Dr. Patrick Carnes, a pioneer in the field of sex addiction work. Dr. McGill authored a chapter in the text The Clinical Management of Sex Addiction, with his chapter addressing the homeless and sex addiction. Dr. McGill is also a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in the States of Texas and California and Mississippi, and is a Certified Sex Addiction Therapist, through the International Institute for Trauma and Addictive Professionals (IITAP). Dr. McGill had a private practice in Glendora, CA (Aspen Counseling Center), Inglewood, CA (Faithful Central Bible Church), and Hattiesburg, MS (River of Life Church), specializing in the following areas with individuals, couples, families, groups and psychoeducational training: addictions and recovery, pre-marital, marital and family counseling, issues related to traumatization and abuse, as well as depression, grief, loss, anger management and men's and women's issues. Dr. McGill also provided psychotherapeutic treatment with Student-Athletes on the University of Southern Mississippi Football and Men's Basketball teams. Dr. McGill served as the Director of the Gentle Path Program, which is a seven-week residential program, for people who are challenged with sexual addiction, sexual anorexia, and relationship issues. Dr. McGill also supervised Doctoral students in the Southern Mississippi Psychology Internship Consortium with the University of Southern Mississippi. Dr. McGill was inducted into the Azusa Pacific University Academic Hall of Honor, School of Behavioral and Applied Sciences, in October, 2010. Dr. McGill currently works as a Private practice clinician with an office in Plano, Texas, providing treatment with people who are challenged in the areas mentioned above.


Daily Bread for Addressing Compulsion