Behavior change


24Oct 2010

Reflecting Reality — Sometimes Means Telling People Things They Don't Want to Hear

When working with people in my role as a coach or counselor, I often tell them that part of my role is to “reflect reality” to them — to give them objective and honest feedback on how I see their situation, and what choices they actually have (versus the choices they wish they have). Some examples include: *Helping family business

12May 2010

Understanding Why We Make the Financial Decisions We Do

There is a relatively new field of social science (i.e. the study of social behavior) called behavioral economics. It has been around for about 10 years formally. And two of the leaders in the field (Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky) received a Nobel prize a few years back. As a psychologist, initially I had a bit of a cynical view

07Mar 2010

Creative Problem-Solving: Ways to Communicate When the Other Person Just Doesn't "Get It"

My wife (Kathy) and I have been married 30 years. We are both college-educated and fairly good communicators. Most people understand us when we talk or write. But sometimes we have a hard time communicating with each other. It is not that we don’t try, or that one of us doesn’t want to understand. But occasionally (I think it is

17Dec 2009

Creating New Family Traditions Around the Holidays

A “new tradition” is sort of an oxymoron. By definition, (“a long-established, inherited way of thinking or acting”), a tradition is some action that you have been doing for a while. But I believe it is both possible and helpful to intentionally create new traditions for your family. We need to recognize that families go through a variety of life

10Oct 2009

Understanding Violence: Anger + Constant Violent Images + Poor Impulse Control + Societal Acceptance

Recently, there has been an “outrage” expressed in the media and in some communities about the continued increase in violence in our country. About two weeks ago an honor student was beaten to death by peers in Chicago — and the violence was captured by cell phones. In response to this incident a number of community leaders have called for

19Jul 2009

The Importance of Wisdom — And How to Get It

I like to learn from others who have been successful. In our culture, some people look to successful business leaders; others look to athletes or entertainers. I find some of the best advice from wise people from the past — from classic literature from previous civilizations and cultures. Here are some thoughts from a king and writer of literature from

10Feb 2008

When Is a Problem Really a "Problem"?

A fair amount of my time professionally is listening to individuals, families and organizations who are experiencing some challenges that they are trying to manage successfully. They describe to me a variety of problems and are looking for insight on what to do. The issues range from individual behavior and feelings — anxiety about life, problems with anger management, patterns

31Dec 2007

"One Thing"

Remember “Curly”, the ascerbic senior wrangler played by Jack Palance in City Slickers? In the movie, Mitch (played by Billy Crystal) is in the midst of a midlife crisis brought on by his 39th birthday. So he and two friends go West to “find themselves” by participating in a cattle drive. Curly is the cowpoke in charge and gives Mitch

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