English (United Kingdom)French (Fr)Russian (CIS)Espa
Home Library Basics Interaction - Interaction & Core Conditions - The Basics - Further Reading I
PDF Print E-mail
User Rating: / 3
PoorBest 
Neurohacking - Basics
Written by NHA   
Wednesday, 13 May 2009 03:28
Article Index
Interaction - Interaction & Core Conditions - The Basics
Further Reading I
Further Reading II
Interaction in Practice
Online Interaction
All Pages

 

 

Only Three Types of Outcome to Any Event

Any behavior by any person in any situation can only ever achieve one of three personal and overall outcomes:

  1. A change for the better
  2. A change for the worse
  3. No change

 

None of us want to achieve a change for the worse on purpose, but of course, most of life's complex factors are not in our control in most situations. The important thing to grasp first though is that there are NO other options. Every single event, including all of our behavior, the things we say, the way we say them, the moves we make, the decisions we take, our behavior, the choices we weigh, all the way down to every single thought we think, always has one of these three outcomes; it either improves a situation, makes it worse, or is ineffectual.

Most of the time we perceive no fundamental changes as a result of our behavior. We see life as fairly routine but subject to random 'bad luck', mistakes, or 'good fortune' and successes now and again, just as we ourselves are subject to good moods or bad moods at different times. The effect of our own behavior on others and on the world in general is seen as somewhat unpredictable; like the weather. If you ask most people, they'll usually assess their own behavior as most of the time causing "no change" and this seems a pretty rational, realistic point of view.

It's also dead wrong, because the reality of life is that a situation of 'no change' hardly ever happens. Changes hardly ever manage to be 'ineffectual'. Everything you do, there will be some change, however slight, to something, and if it is not a change for the better it will be one for the worse; in simple terms, if anything you do, think or say is not part of the solution, it becomes part of the problem.

The 'problem' here is failure, and the solution to failure is interaction.

Failure is bad news for a creature whose health relies on success in order to thrive. ANY failure; (for example failure of relationships, failure of communication, heart failure, marriage failure, failure to make friends, career failure, failure to understand, failure to remember, failure to take due care and attention, emotional failure, kidney failure, social failure, failure to think ahead, failure to explain, failure to eat, sleep or breathe and even things like engine failure or power failure or failure of your parachute to open in time). Wherever there is failure it is followed by either breakdown, or sub-optimal performance. Failure in communication leads to breakdown in communication, which, depending on the context, can lead to divorce or war (or in some cases both). Failure to take care of yourself leads to the body's breakdown. Failure to take care of your car leads to it's breakdown, and so on.

Science has now proved that failure to use the brain healthily leads to mental decline, and failure to use intelligence leads to the inability to do so. Thought processes themselves can break down, and this is exactly what happens when we get mental problems like anxiety or senility. Interaction enables us to do the opposite –to improve our mental health and intelligence and prevent decline.

Mistakes when learning, by the way, are not failure. Mistakes are part of the solution -an essential part of learning because they teach us how not to do things. Without falling over, you would never have learned how to walk. So mistakes are taken on board as part of the path to success.

We are using the scientific definition of "success"; the same thing intelligence, life and evolution mean by "success" –survival and thriving through adaptation. To thrive (develop and improve) we need a balanced yet dynamically adaptable intelligence, and supporting it must be a balanced yet dynamically adaptable neurochemistry. Without the hormones that interaction produces, it's hard to achieve that balance. To thrive, we need good mental and physical health and an absence of anxiety. (If you are not sure about the difference between anxiety and stress, read Anxiety & Input Control: The Basics, in the library)

With interaction we can 'preset the stage' with a program for success. It can be used in varied fields, for example learning, creative endeavor and problem-solving, but one of the main areas for affecting beneficial change with interaction is in communication with other people.

 

Interaction and the Core Conditions

Interaction is the practice of certain core conditions in communication, relationships and behavior that result in a high degree of "changes for the better".

The 'core conditions' are a guide for attitude, communication and behavior. They were elucidated by psychologist Carl Rogers [1] whose work in implementing them in healthcare, education and international relations led to his nomination for the Nobel Peace Prize. (If you want to know more in-depth info about the background psychology , read the article Biological Psychology & Personality Theory: The Basics in the library)

The core conditions are skills that we aim to develop in ourselves to improve our ability to interact.

Rogers' achievement was to state in clear definitive and measurable terms the psychological conditions which are necessary to bring about constructive (beneficial) personality change.in

By 'beneficial personality change' we mean "Change in the personality structure and behavior of people, at both conscious and unconscious levels, in a direction which produces greater integration, less internal and external conflict, more energy utilizable for effective living, and a change in behavior away from behaviors generally regarded as immature and towards behaviors generally regarded as mature."

We should practice the core conditions to achieve these improvements in ourselves, not in an attempt to try to change other people (although acknowledging that it is feedback from others that helps those changes take place). So in order to develop interaction skills, you must desire to improve yourself. (You may not yet know how, but you must want to learn.) This is important. It's possible to interact with anyone whether or not they are interested in improving their minds, but if you are not interested in improving yourself you are wasting your time.

The core conditions are:

  • Genuineness (honesty, integrity, spontenaity, responsiveness)
  • Unconditional positive regard (respect for the others' intelligence, attentiveness, warmth and rectitude.)
  • Empathy (understanding, compassion, awareness and perception of others' emotions, situations and needs)

 

These apply as follows:

  1. They must be used all together. They are interrelated. If one gets left out, interaction will be limited and outcomes may not be beneficial.
  2. They are used universally. They apply to all types of person, all types of situations, and all types of relationship.
  3. They are sufficient. There is no 'play acting' or role play, no script to follow, nothing needs to be contrived, and nothing more is needed for a beneficial outcome.

 

The core conditions are skills; abilities you can develop. Regardless of what you know about the other person, the behavior is what counts in interaction, and behaviors can be learned, skills can be developed. Ways of thinking and talking and even thinking are also habits of behavior that you can apply the core conditions to.

To explain interaction fully we need to tell you how it is used as a framework for thought and behavior in everyday practice. We'll also explain how it impacts the nature of relationships and communication processes, and what helps or hinders the core conditions.

 

Interaction As a Process

Interaction in communication is a six-stage process:

  1. You communicate. A minimal relationship; a contact, must exist. The ability to interact with people does not develop except in relationships.
  2. You need a basic understanding of anxiety, its effects on health, intelligence and relationships and how to control it. When a person has no awareness of anxiety in themselves, they are vulnerable to mental incongruence and neurochemical imbalance. Anxiety is the thing that most hinders interaction, and it's important to know how (if you don't know anything about this read Anxiety and Input Control: The Basics in the library) You also need a basic understanding of the difference between interaction, action and reaction and how they tie in with emotion and sentiment, which we'll explain below. You'll then be able to recognize when someone's using the core conditions (they're interacting) and when they're not (they're acting or reacting).
  3. You present yourself with an attitude of genuineness and without anxiety. (You are honest, you share facts, experiences and ideas spontaneously, you can be freely and deeply yourself and you are responsive to others). This sounds easy, but the art of good interaction is to express what you mean in a way that enables the most beneficial response. That is the skill we are learning. Because the best way to predict the future is to create it Smile
  4. You communicate with an attitude of unconditional positive regard (you always assume the best of whoever you are talking to, respecting their intelligence and never pushing your beliefs, opinions or criticisms unless they are specifically asked for. You behave with attentiveness, loving warmth and respectful politeness.) Your regard for the person is not conditional. ("Conditional" regard means that there are conditions of acceptance; for example "I like you only IF you are doing what I want"). Unconditional regard means caring for a person but not in any kind of possessive way or in order to impose your own opinions on. We do not seek to change other people (that's their job!) we seek to change ourselves and make ourselves better at interaction, because that enables the most beneficial response.
  5. You develop empathic understanding. (You become aware of the needs of others and help to provide them -thus providing your own needs for interaction –neat innit?) Smile Empathy is also a skill that can be developed. To understand when someone is feeling anxious and how that's affecting their behavior without getting anxious yourself is a big help here.
  6. You practise expressing this empathy in ways others can understand. Being able to sense someone else's circumstances and experiences as if they were your own and express how you would respond in their situation obviously aids communication. By achieving empathy, you 'cross the bridge' to another person's situation, and by expressing your own response you 'bridge the gap' of understanding.

 

These conditions provide all that is necessary for constructive personality change to occur, if they continue to exist over a period of time, because they provide a "matrix" ( a matrix is a set of conditions required for any growth or development; a safe space in which development can take place, energy, and input for interaction).

The more often the core conditions are used, the more marked will be the constructive personality change.

 

Interaction, Action and Reaction

An 'action' is an anxiety-based behavior usually of offense, directed at another person or group, or at yourself.

A good example of an action is your being rude to someone or swearing at them.

A reaction is an anxiety-based behavior in the service of defense. It can include any behavior from crying to punching you on the nose.

Both these ways of communicating and behaving lead to changes for the worse, (or at best no change) and one tends to lead to the other as inevitably as it does in physics.

An interaction is an anxiety-reducing exchange that leads to a change for the better. The ability to interact adaptively is the highest measure of intelligence. It is an ability we are born with, but that we need to develop in order to use, and there are not many good examples of interaction in current societies to teach us as children! So most of us end up not terribly good at it, or not aware of it at all. Fortunately our natural ability to interact can be developed at any age, by following the core conditions. This is very important, because good mental health in human beings depends on successful interaction.

Think again about the three possible outcomes of everything; change for the better, change for the worse, or no change.

As well as being true about our circumstances, these outcomes are also true of our brains and minds. Everything we do, think, pay attention to or say has an effect on our brain and mind that either improves them or causes deterioration (depending on what chemicals are released). Interaction contrasts with "action" or "reaction" in alignment with these three possible outcomes.

Outcome 1: Change for the better: Interaction happens. This is a set of events resulting in an improvement in the intelligence, wellbeing and behavior of any agent involved in those events. Since predictive strategy and adaptability are what strong intelligence is all about, an interaction is always the best outcome to aim for, for your own benefit and everybody else's. The practice of interaction also allows growth and development to take place in your brain, because the chemicals it releases stimulates the brain to grow new network connections. This means you'll begin to see improvements in your memory, speed of learning, and other abilities.

Examples of healthy interactive behaviours:

Contentment, comfort, disgust, curiosity, desire, alarm, friendliness, affection, empathy, optimism, pride, courage, prudence, joy, love, pleasure, satisfaction, relief, sadness, gregariousness, fun, learning, exploration, creativity, play, argument, debate, cooperation, respect, self-esteem, confidence, autonomy (self-reliance).

All these behaviors are healthy and necessary in appropriate circumstances. They correlate with healthy emotions and strong intelligence.

Outcome 2: Change for the worse: Action/reaction happens. This is a set of events resulting in deterioration in the intelligence and behavior of any agent involved in the events. Actions & reactions both fall into two categories; known as "wronguse" and "nonuse". In action/reaction brain networks are either being used for the wrong things, or they are not being used. Both are caused by chronic (often unconscious) anxiety, and are known in Rogers' theory as "Incongruence". Incongruence happens when anxiety warps perception and our psychology becomes misaligned with our biology.

Examples of wronguse-based action/reaction behaviours:

Arrogance (unjustified confidence), obsession, addiction, possessiveness, aggression, jealousy, anger, hysteria, melodramatics, coercion, prudery, prejudice, sarcasm, unkindness, pomposity, authoritarianism, bossiness, conceit, mania, biased assumption (jumping to conclusions without proof) projection (blaming others for faults or problems in ourselves), stereotyping, hatred.

These behaviors are unhealthy and are never appropriate. They correlate with unhealthy sentiments, mental and physical illness.

Outcome 3: No change: A situation of no change in the brain leads to what we call 'nonuse' or atrophy in some brain networks.

In nonuse, nothing occurs which changes anything in any way significant to survival or adaptation. Nothing gets better or easier, nothing gets noticeably worse. However when the brain is left in this situation it begins to atrophy, and you will suffer from the below "nonuse" behaviours after a time.

Examples of nonuse-based action/reaction behaviours:

Shyness, embarrassment, lack of personal hygiene, scruffiness, carelessness, apathy, depression, attention problems, alienation, neglect, lack of emotion, lack of empathy, fear, panic, worrying, guilt, shame, lack of humor, pessimism, self-pity, approval-seeking, lack of self-esteem, cowardice, self-deprecation, phobias, paranoia.

These behaviors are also unhealthy and are never appropriate. They correlate with unhealthy sentiments, mental and physical illness.

 


References

1 Rogers, Carl, "The Necessary and Sufficient Conditions of Therapeutic Personality Change", The Journal of Consulting Psychology 21: 95-103, as quoted in "Communication, relationships and care", Routledge 2004.

 

 

 

 



Last Updated on Friday, 02 August 2013 13:52