PSYCHOTHERAPY, SPIRITUALITY, AND AGING Written by Dr. Dorree Lynn
As I work with people fifty and over, I am aware that no matter how important psychologically related issues of their personal lives may be, it is rare when spirituality doesn't become an issue fairly early in our work together. As my patient, Jamie, a tall, shy, sixty-three year old woman said: "Although I entered therapy to try to come to terms with so many possibilities that I have never considered before, such as my failing health, my dislike of my body which no longer holds its shape, my fear of being alone, wondering what I would do if my husband Sam dies before me, and, of course, dealing with my own potential death, truth is that I never really expected to feel so peaceful and serene as I aged. I think it has to do with my new interest in spirituality and what meaning it holds for me. I have found myself going to church again after a lapse of many years. I'm still not sure I believe in God, but I do seem to believe in something greater than myself." Quietly she looked at me, a question in her lovely blue eyes. Finally, she asked: "Do you believe in God?"
Desperately Seeking PerfectionWritten by John Boe
A working understanding of temperament styles (personality types) will have a profound impact on way you perceive yourself and will greatly enhance all of your relationships. If you are a salesperson, this information will significantly increase your sales effectiveness by enabling you to build trust and rapport quickly with your prospects and customers. Business owners and managers find this knowledge invaluable. It can improve way you supervise your employees and allow you to recruit more effectively. As a parent, it can dramatically improve way you relate to your children. If you are single, it can provide you insight into selecting a compatible mate.
My temperament training system gives you tools and knowledge to recognize a person’s primary temperament style through observation. Each primary temperament style exhibits a body language preference and has distinctive physical features and characteristics that are not related to gender, race, or age. This is a significant breakthrough in study of temperament understanding because it is a practical system that can be used with everyone you meet. My temperament training program allows you to put this information to use in your day-to-day encounters from boardroom to kitchen table.
Hippocrates, father of medicine, has been credited with originating basic theory of temperament styles twenty-four hundred years ago. Hippocrates believed that we are born with a combination of four genetic influences that he called humors; Choleric (Worker), Sanguine (Talker), Phlegmatic (Watcher), and Melancholy (Thinker). He observed that these four styles have a direct influence on our physiology, character traits and outlook on life. While we are each born with a primary temperament, our personality is comprised of all four styles. The order, in which these four styles appear in your individual profile, creates degree of influence they have on your thinking. For example, you might have Thinker as your primary temperament style and Talker as your secondary with Watcher and Worker as your third and fourth influence. There are six combinations for each of four primary temperament styles, which when combined, create a total of twenty-four individual temperament profiles. This article showcases Melancholy/Thinker primary temperament style.
The Thinker temperament style is C, or Competent, in D.I.S.C. temperament profiling system. Thinkers are introverted, private and shy by nature. They are logical and excellent problem solvers. Thinkers have an engineer’s mentality, strong analytical skills and a need to appear competent. They fear making a mistake or having their work criticized. Thinkers are loyal, conscientious and show restraint in their day-to-day work. They are introspective, aloof, pessimistic and moody. Overcast weather conditions will aggravate their mood by harmonizing with their melancholy nature. Thinkers project their emotion internally, rather than externally like extroverted Worker or Talker. The sensitive Thinker is traditional, romantic, and enjoys diverse interests such as; acting, art, astronomy, cooking or grilling, dancing, horseback riding, music, nature, photography, poetry, reading, singing, science, and sports. Thinkers like quality products and pride themselves on doing competent research before making a decision. They are not impulsive buyers. In fact, they are most difficult temperament to sell to because of their frugal and skeptical nature. It would be extremely rare for a Thinker to purchase something without having to first, “think it over.”
Thinkers have a compelling need for organization and order. They require time alone to plan and organize their activities and will normally work from a list. Thinkers love task accomplishment so much that they will add an already completed item to their list, just for personal satisfaction of crossing it off. The ineffective management of time is one of greatest stress factors for efficient Thinker. They are good at planning their time, but have a tendency to pack too much into their day. Their unrealistic expectations and drive for perfection can cause stress and feelings of inadequacy. They frequently experience feelings of guilt when they fail to accomplish all they had planned to do. They are researchers by nature and become overwhelmed and bogged down in details and information, resulting in “paralysis through analysis.” Their desire for perfection coupled with their need to avoid mistakes results in procrastination, which frequently leads to stress, anxiety, panic and depression.
Of four primary temperament styles, Thinker is most susceptible to stress and depression. Under pressure their tendency is to become sarcastic, withdraw, worry excessively and want to quit. Their stress often manifests as migraine headaches and/or tension in jaw, neck, shoulder and back. It is common for them to either grind their teeth or have TMJ. In his book, The Mindbody Prescription, Dr. John E. Sarno, “The Back Doctor” accurately describes relationship between Thinker's drive for perfection and stress:
“Virtually every patient I have seen in course of my experience with pain syndromes has been to a greater or lesser degree perfectionistic. Patients who deny it then go on to describe how they are very fussy about neatness, cleanliness and other aspects of their lives. If they do not admit to being perfectionistic, they acknowledge that they are highly responsible, conscientious, concerned and prone to worry. They are usually ambitious, hard driving and self-critical; they set high standards of performance and behavior for themselves… I found that 88 percent of my pain patients had a history of minor gastrointestinal maladies such as heartburn, pre-ulcer symptoms, hiatus hernia, colitis, spastic colon, irritable bowel syndrome and other tension-induced reactions like tension headache, migraine headache, eczema and frequent urination. Although not all practitioners agree that these disorders are related to psychological or emotional phenomena, my clinical experience as a family physician and my own personal medical history made me quite comfortable with that conclusion… It was, therefore, logical to hypothesize that these back muscle pains might fall into same group of emotionally induced physical disorders. When I put idea to test, by telling patients that I thought their pain was result of “tension,” I was astonished to observe that those who accepted diagnosis got better. Those who rejected it remained unchanged.”