Conditioning and Choices

When it comes to bullying, we have choice. We can allow them to control us, or we can take control despite it all.


I have been reading a great book –The Unheard Cry for Meaning. It is about psychotherapy and Humanism, by Viktor Frankl. In it, he talks about how behavioral psychology is good, but limited because it doesn’t address the philosophic needs of patients.

I couldn’t agree more. In my book, The Bully Vaccine, I teach a behavioral psychology approach to the problem of bullying. Specifically, I teach how to use operant conditioning techniques to retrain a bully to not bully. However, I am also a Humanist so I do spend a lot of time teaching people how to handle the emotional side of living. In fact, my book is a good example of a Humanist approach to problem solving, since I give you the science and a philosophic way to approach the problem so that you will be in the right frame of mind to do the operant conditioning required of the technique.

There are several parts of the book I liked, but at one point he says, and I’m paraphrasing, that Humans have the ability to choose whether the conditions we find ourselves in will condition us. And that’s exactly why I wrote my book.

We are being conditioned all the time in all our interpersonal interactions. Most of us are unaware of how we are being conditioning. People who have been in abusive relationships in particular have been conditioned by their abuse.

The good news is that once you learn how this conditioning occurs, you can more easily choose not to be conditioned by your conditions. You can choose to respond in a way that puts you in control so that you change the conditions. It’s pretty cool and everyone who learns these skills is empowered by it.

And this is why I teach what I do – this knowledge, of how we are conditioned, enables us to choose to refuse to be conditioned by the conditions of our life. 

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