Don E. Gibbons, Ph.D., NJ Licensed Psychologist #03513
This Blog is published for information and educational purposes only. No warranty, expressed or implied, is furnished with respect to the material contained in this Blog. The reader is urged to consult with his/her physician or a duly licensed mental health professional with respect to the treatment of any medical or psychological condition.

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The New Center for Counseling and Psychotherapy, LLC

The New Center for Counseling and Psychotherapy, LLC, is located at 675 Route 72 E Manahawkin, NJ 08050. Telephone us at(609)709-2043 and (609) 709-0009.Take Mill Creek Road South, just off Route 72, on the road to Beach Haven West.After about 400 feet, turn right into the office complex of Greater Coastal Realty. Then turn right and go past the Lyceum Gyn. Continue on to the Prudential Zack Building. We. are the last office at the end. We accept Medicare and most other major insurance.Weekend and evening office hours are avalable.

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Thursday, July 7, 2016

Do Some People WANT to Destroy Themselves?

It is commonly said that self-preservation is a powerful human need, which is understandable if we have a healthy self-concept and seek out opportunities and situations which tend to increase our self-esteem. But what if you have learned ti dislike yourself? If you have been treated badly by those who are closest to you, might you not also come to dislike yourself? Can this give rise to a need for self-destruction?  

Most of us have known people who make one bad decision after another, and then "go off" on people who try to make logical but difficult suggestions which would interrupt their downward spiral. These bad decisions may involve maxing out their credit cards and repeatedly borrowing money from parents, friends, spouses, or relatives in order to pull them out of yet another self-inflicted spending spree, until others are unable or unwilling to engage in further rescue efforts. Self-destructive behavior may also take the form of self-injury or cutting, various types of addiction such as alcohol or drug dependency, pathological gambling, suicide or suicidal gestures, etc.  Eventually, These self-destructive tendencies may be expressed in the form of psychosomatic ailments which can eventually become disabling  to the point that the individual is no longer able to work.   

In the proposed revision of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of the American Psychiatric Association, a separate category of personality disorder, Self-Destructive Personality Disorder, was proposed for further study.  It was not included after was perceived as being largely the result of domestic violence caused by males. Many of us continue to see cases of self-destructive behavior in clinical practice, however; and politically correct or not, the concept does seem to have objective validity. Here is the description of the proposed self-destructive personality disorder.so that you can jjudge for yourself.

A) A pervasive pattern of self-defeating behavior, beginning by early adulthood and present in a variety of contexts. The person may often avoid or undermine pleasurable experiences, be drawn to situations or relationships in which they will suffer, and prevent others from helping them, as indicated by at least five of the following:
  1. chooses people and situations that lead to disappointment, failure, or mistreatment even when better options are clearly available
  2. rejects or renders ineffective the attempts of others to help them
  3. following positive personal events (e.g., new achievement), responds with depression, guilt, or a behavior that produces pain (e.g., an accident)
  4. incites angry or rejecting responses from others and then feels hurt, defeated, or humiliated (e.g., makes fun of spouse in public, provoking an angry retort, then feels devastated)
  5. rejects opportunities for pleasure, or is reluctant to acknowledge enjoying oneself (despite having adequate social skills and the capacity for pleasure)
  6. fails to accomplish tasks crucial to their personal objectives despite having demonstrated ability to do so, e.g., helps fellow students write papers, but is unable to write their own
  7. is uninterested in or rejects people who consistently treat them well
  8. engages in excessive self-sacrifice that is unsolicited by the intended recipients of the sacrifice
B) The behaviors in A do not occur exclusively in response to, or in anticipation of, being physically, sexually, or psychologically abused.
C) The behaviors in A do not occur only when the person is depressed.

See also: How to Recognize a Personality Disorder.

Saturday, July 2, 2016

When Twelve-Step Programs Don't Work for You

It was not until I had been teaching for about ten years that I realized that meeting a new class for the first time was like meeting a new person for the first time. Every class, just like every individual, has a distinct personality that is not entirely like any other. Many of the clients in my psychology practice have tried A. A. or other twelve-step programs and given up. I like to point out that every twelve-step program, just like every college class, has its own personality too. If you aren't comfortable with one particular class, you don't just drop out of school, you look around for another one that you can take. 

However, there are still many people who are just not comfortable in group settings where they share their innermost secrets with the other people in the room. As an alternative to twelve-step programs, other groups have been formed which are based on the principles of cognitive-behavioral psychology. The folks at www.smartrecovery.org have a tool chest of resources which is a treasure-trove for people who want to alter hard-to-change behaviors of every type (not just addictions). They have a list of Articles and Essays containing a great deal of practical material which can be directly put into use, and a superb reading list. When twelve-step programs do not work for you, perhaps you might want to check them out!