What Makes People Act the way they do?
In our role as counselors, we have access to all the stories that our clients tell from day to day. Every story told is wrapped up in a series of events that occur to the clients from time to time. It is my settled opinion that no event in a person’s experience is attached to any particular meaning apart from that which the client attaches to it. Therefore, one may rightly assume that all events are neutral.
In my mind, each client takes each event that occurs to him or her and begins to attach personal and private meanings to it. This is the significance of the thought process that goes on inside the clients’ brains. The client takes the event and begins to describe what it means to him or her in terms of whether what happened is good or bad, and right or wrong. So, that client applies a very personal and private meaning to all that transpires within their sight and hearing, based on their interpretation.
To my understanding, no thought stands alone. No feeling stands alone either. Every thought has a close companion and this companion is feeling. I am quite confident that Doctor Daniel Amen in his book Change your Brain Change Your Life as well as Doctor Daniel Goleman, in his books, Emotional Intelligence and Social Intelligence, would both support me in this.
There seems to be either a balance or an imbalance between the pre-frontal cortex and the amygdala. The feeling brain and the thinking brain often have a tendency to be off-balance in the experiences of persons who need mental health assistance. If, through an experience with a certain event in life a client describes what happens to him or her as a negative one, there is the likelihood that he or she would see himself or herself in a negative self-concept light.
With their negative concept of themselves there is the likelihood that there will follow a feeling of low self-esteem. Hence the reason that depression and other so-called bad experiences may follow.
The final piece of the puzzle, then, will be a certain action that may hurt either the client or the person or persons whom the client perceived to have hurt them in the first place. The likelihood of a client becoming either aggressive or falling into a depressed state looms large before my eyes. Today I challenge all counselors to become very acquainted with the works of Daniel Goleman, in particular.
It is said that diet may play some part in helping to rescue some clients from this mental state in which their decision-making processes seem flawed. Perhaps this can be a lesson in information sharing on part of the counselor.
Anderson Antoine is a counselor from Trinidad and Tobago. He lectures at the University of the Southern Caribbean, and owns the company ‘Anderson Antoine and Associates Professional Counseling Services’. At present he is deeply engaged in writing poetry.