The Guide above is provided entirely for free to newsletter subscribers.
One of my first questions to a professor in my earliest IOCDF BTTI (Exposure Therapy training) at Massachusetts General Hospital was, “What happens if someone actually gets sick after a contamination exposure?” I haven’t forgotten the simplicity of the answer that went something like this: “People get sick all the time. Yes, that might create some additional hesitancy to face exposures at first, but you have an incredible opportunity for learning.” Life involves not only facing bad things that don't happen, but also bad things that do.
Exposure Therapy involves the systematic confrontation of fearful triggers while reducing and eliminating fearful, pathological responses. In the end, it can relieve a lot of suffering.
During this global pandemic of COVID-19, people actually are getting sick. One might not think the principles of exposure therapy would apply (i.e., "Don't you do exposure therapy for risks that don't happen?"). Quite the contrary. I believe exposure therapy provides one of the best evidence-based ways forward, helping us stand up to fear we need to squarely face. So today, whether you have a disorder or not, there is an opportunity for learning and growth in the face of COVID-19.
This guide, "Thriving Mental Health Alongside COVID-19," is dedicated to my clients and the IOCDF and provides a thorough summary of the main steps of Exposure Therapy with me, with key tips for general mental health. May you be enriched by this!
Whether you have a mental disorder or not, there is an opportunity for learning and growth in the face of COVID-19 (SARS-CoV-2). Now, more than ever, we need stable footing to stand on. People go to every extreme. You don't have to. Mental health is about being grounded in reality, insomuch as we can grasp it.
Getting sick will happen. Yes, people die. Relationships break up and fail. Businesses go under. We might get it wrong. However...many people can experience health. Some people live with purpose and to the full (which is not the same as perfect). Relationships can be incredible. Businesses can thrive. We can get things right.
When I utilize the method of Exposure Therapy in counseling (a subset of Behavioral and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy), it involves the systematic confrontation of fearful triggers while reducing and eliminating fearful, pathological responses. It is Gold Standard treatment for OCD & Phobias, and is a first line treatment for all Anxiety Disorders and PTSD. What we think happens is that relearning occurs, which for most increases confidence and decreases disruption in life when they follow the treatment. Exposure, then, gives us two opportunities:
2. To learn we can face it anyway.
Its principles connect us to some of the best of life: face the thing you have reason to face; gain the opportunity to live more fully.
This guide is a very brief summary of the main points of the exposure therapy process with me, particularly with clients who have OCD and Anxiety. Many of my clients actually are faring better in this crisis than people I have talked to and seen in the general public- and why wouldn't they?! They've been training and learning- and now it's game-time.
Click "Read More" for a Summary
This post was originally published on 04/19/2015 on my wordpress and is newly updated.
In Latin, Quid Pro Quo means, “something for something.” You scratch my back; I scratch yours. Tit for tat. It’s how the world runs.
Or is it?
In the business world, this often works. Social psychology calls it “reciprocity.” In relationships, well, this is where it gets fuzzy. Relationships require sacrifice regularly; they require that you stick around, presuming it’s reasonable to do so. In business, if someone doesn’t offer you a good deal, you can move on. If you keep doing this with relationships, you will bankrupt your heart and anyone close to you quicker than ever thought possible.
Relationships involve the molding and holding of hearts. Business involves the flow of money.
I want to call to the table that many principles that work for business DON’T in relationships, which is partly why someone can be extraordinarily successful in the business world but trade in relationships as often as changing underwear. The concept of reciprocity is fascinating, and I regularly utilize it in respectful ways when I consider how to engage in business, such as when I “add value” to interactions with businessmen and women by offering helpful counseling materials. This, in turn, increases my odds of getting a favorable response. Nothing wrong with it. I attempt to not do it ONLY for this reason. However, when I expect a certain response- demand it, even- I am not respecting a person’s freedom, uniqueness, or spontaneity. And this is precisely the problem when quid pro quo is present as a foundation in relationships.
Everyone from Hendrix to Gottman to Eggerichs (see references below) point out the necessity of proactive initiative in love- an active, intentional doing what’s best for another, choosing love over “balancing the budget.” In fact, the eminent researcher Dr. John Gottman states the myth of quid pro quo in The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work (2002): “But it’s really the unhappy marriage where this quid pro quo operates, where each feels the need to keep a running tally of who has done what for whom” (p. 15).
Isn’t this the definition of selfishness? And it tears relationships apart. I don’t know of anyone who says, “Yes, being completely selfish is good; I want to live by the principles of selfishness and teach my kids to do the same.” No one really debates this. How quickly it takes over, though! My role as counselor isn’t to point a finger; it’s to help uncover what’s holding people back. Consider how you might be “losing while winning,” holding grudges, keeping a record of wrongs. These things are the opposite of contentment- and love. "Love keeps no record of wrongs," (1 Corinthians 13:5d) as is often quoted at weddings.
Don’t wait for a person to do good to you. That’s the whole importance of the Golden Rule and the Greatest Commandment. If you wait around for the other person to “play by the rules” in loving you, prepare to be unsatisfied. There will come a time (in EVERY relationship) when loving another becomes hard: when the "high" of newness wears off, when the attractiveness of another becomes the norm, when that little quirk that you thought was wonderful turns out to annoy the heck out of you. If it’s left up to reciprocity, we’re screwed. In friendships, romantic relationships- ANY relationship.
If a relationship fundamentally relies on quid pro quo, it will prove an unhappy ending. Find out how to love others despite what they bring to the table, and reap the overflowing results. If one person brings a feast to the table, just because the other doesn't bring one won't mean you can’t enjoy yours- and just maybe win them over in love.
For more information:
Business Networking That Works...It's Called Quid Pro Quo (Forbes)
Getting the Love You Want (Drs. Harville Hendrix and Helen LaKelly Hunt)
Influence and Persuasion (Robert Cialdini)
Love and Respect (Dr. Emerson Eggerichs)
The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work (Psych Central summary)
A Psychotherapists' thoughts on healthy living.
All Content on this Site, justinkhughes.com, was created for informational purposes only. Content is not intended as a substitute for professional advice, treatment, or diagnosis. Always seek the advice of your own personal health provider who is qualified to treat you, along with asking them any questions you may have regarding medical or other conditions. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have viewed on justinkhughes.com. Also, due to the sensitive nature of topics and material covered through this Site, which contains very descriptive and/or advanced content, you may not want to use justinkhughes.com. The Site and its Content are provided on an "as is" basis. Some posts are written for specific populations (OCD, Christians, Professionals)- with the intent to remain respectful to all- some content may not fit or go counter to your beliefs, perspectives, and what is explored for you in a professional counseling session with Justin K. Hughes, MA, LPC. The posts are intended solely for the population they are written to and can be designated by their titles and tags.
Links to external educational content are taken at your own risk. Justin K. Hughes, MA, LPC is not responsible for external content.