How do people learn? LO LO10005
Mon, 16 Sep 1996 20:13:18 -0400

Replying to LO9943 --

> From: "" <>
> George was a very skilled nuclear reactor operator who was beating his two
> children, ages 2 and 4. He would become very morose about two days after
> such an event and it was starting to affect his work. The shrinks
> hospitalized him on two occasions for a couple of weeks and pronounced him
> cured each time. Shrinks concentrate on making us understand "why"....
> After another beating, a higher level boss became aware of the problem,
> interviewed George and developed an action plan....


As a psychologist, I feel compelled to take issue with your
characterization of "shrinks", and I have a question for you.

First, as I began posting to the LO board, I wondered how people in the
business world viewed psychologists and mental health practitioners in
general. I get some of the flavor of your views from your use of the work
"shrink", but I'd like you to articulate your conception further, if you
wouldn't mind. As I am thinking about shifting into the business world
(perhaps going to school for an MBA), I would very much appreciate a sense
of the preconceptions I would run into. (If anyone else would like to
respond, too, I'd welcome it.)

Second, therapists do not just focus on the "why", and in fact, some
therapists (i.e., cognitive/behavioral therapists) explicitly focus away
from the "why". Your story about creating an action plan for anger
management is very much in the tradition of cognitive/behavioral
interventions, and these can be very useful and powerful techniques.
However, sometimes such techniques do not address important underlying
issues that keep a person stuck in a particular behavior pattern.
Focusing on the "why" is an attempt to understand the situation at a
deeper level so that underlying issues can be appropriately addressed.

In my practice as a therapist, I usually take a pragmatic approach: If a
straightforward, cognitive/behavioral approach can address a problem
successfully, then I'll use it. If it fails, I look for (in collaboration
with the client) underlying issues that are preventing the
cognitive/behavioral intervention from working.



Jeff Brooks <>

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