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This Paschal Easter greeting – Christ is Risen is a rich source for CBT, Cognitive Behavior Theory exploration. The statement reflects beliefs and values of many who inhabit the earth. Additionally, it is a powerful and timely beating death metaphor for the Coronavirus challenge facing us all now.

Followers of other beliefs and faiths have different names for the same figurehead as well as different seasons and timelines.

Some strongly believe this person has not yet arrived. 

Each group left to their own does well. Only when we force our wills and beliefs on others’ we have conflict. These conflicts can lead to an imbalance creating a slippery slope for relapse.

Different strokes for different folks. In this time of need to fight this disease globally, ironically, the Christian, Jewish and Muslim calendars choose this month for great holy days. Ramadan, Passover and Easter are celebrated.

This disease does not recognize different strokes or folks.

It wants us all – Dead! How do we come together to fight the invader?

The framers of modern psych theory explained in a nutshell that, it’s our beliefs, values, thoughts and feelings that lead to our behavior. We have all the strengths and resources to resolve our own issues in a healthy environment. This is as true for recovery as it is for mitigating the C-19 threat.

Today with the Coronavirus Pandemic threatening our existence we need to pull together nationally and globally to create this healthy environment. Let’s find some common, sensible ground for agreement.

Our outcome or fate will be determined by our behavior choices. C-19 has been in charge so far. Do we want to rush it? Or do we extend our timeline with proper testing, prevention and treatment?

You cannot rush recovery from alcohol or other substance use disorders. It’s a day at a time. It’s the same with the virus: we beat death one day at a time.

Some believe it’s more important to reopen the economy knowing we will sacrifice human lives in doing so. Others say that opening too soon will lead to a resurgence of C-19. People are literally using a cost-benefit analysis with human lives and a rebounding economy as a barometer: e.g. beliefs and values

At this point logic, science and best practices are the strengths and resources we already have to resolve this issue. To mitigate the threat of this virus our differences must be put aside. Our survival calls for working together. We need scientific, smart goals that reflect our collective human life and survival values.

Do we want our civilization to be left to the crows? No!

Only unity will save the world. Now – as we put aside our historic differences – we can defeat the common enemy.

Christ is Risen!



FIG. 1, p. 15, “Drug Court Treatment: The Verdict”

You’ve heard it before. A picture is worth a thousand words (Confucius, Fred Barnard). That’s why I present this illustration.

There is a book that I really like written by Kenneth Wanberg and Harvey Milkman showing an illustration depicting the same concept. The image looks like an electrical diagram rather than a picture of our “operating system.”

While the electric diagram is totally accurate it can be confusing and intimidating to some folks. Clients told me that facial image  illustration makes much more sense to them. Others have said the same thing. To me this picture explains the Cognitive Behavior Theory process as well as the ABC Theory of Albert Ellis.

On page 14 of my book I describe the ABC Theory. Simply, Ellis said that “it is not the event (A) that determines our behavior (C) but rather our (B) beliefs about the event. So, we have(A) the event followed by (B) our beliefs about the event that lead to (C) our behavior. Thus, ABC.

Master these ideas and you will understand how to stop unwanted behavior.

While we are here we can examine what the map is saying. The event occurs and we filter the meaning of the event based on our beliefs, values and attitudes. We are exposed to millions of bits of information on a daily basis. Our brain knows that we cannot process all of these pieces of data. So the data are filtered.We delete, distort and generalize the information based on our ‘imprints’.

Imprints are critical when it comes to understanding old behavior and learning new behavior.

This includes using alcohol and other drugs (AOD) and criminal thinking and conduct (CTC). Konrad Lorenz is given credit here for this theory. He discovered baby geese will bond with the first image they see after birth as if it were their mother. In his case the goslings bonded with his boots and followed him around like he was the mother, if I have the story correct. He postulated that these imprints are permanent.Why is this important to mention here?

Our history or learning has everything to do with how we interpret and define ourselves and our world. So often it is past events that limit us in the present or prevent having our desired outcomes or futures. Imprints can occur at the molecular level, the psychological level and the social level. So, we and our behaviors truly are biopsychosocial in nature.

As we filter data we turn it into a thought stack made up of decisions, attributions, appraisals and expectations (follow the arrows). Don’t people use drugs or act based on their expectations of what is supposed to happen by using them? Remember? We avoid pain and seek pleasure.

We then form solid internal maps of our reality based on our five senses. All of us experience our realities by seeing, hearing, feeling, smelling and tasting.

If our restaurant server presents a messy plate (see) that (smells) like it is decaying already we are certain that we don’t need a taste. We (expect) it will be terrible. We (feel ) bad enough already. Our self-talk (hear) says no – don’t eat it. But you (taste) it anyway and send it back (if you are assertive) if it is not satisfactory.

The short name for the five senses is VAKOG. This is visual, auditory, kinesthetic, olfactory and gustatory. More generally they are see, hear, feel, smell and taste.

These lead directly to the next step which is feelings and emotions. As you can see by the flow (following the arrows) feelings and emotions lead to behavior choices. That’s why it is important to learn how to control your state. Your emotional state is what is meant here.

If you are sad you may act sad. If you are angry you may act or react in an angry manner. Could that be important in homes where domestic violence may be a problem? Seldom is a spouse happy and giggly and then turns around and backhands the other.

We can learn to map the outcomes that are more desirable. We have the power and resources already. We simply need access to them at the appropriate time. This will be demonstrated below.

This was a powerful lesson taught by Carl Rogers. He is a world famous therapist. To paraphrase him, “clients already have all the resources they need to explore and resolve their own issues given a healthy environment.” Hopefully, I as a guide would provide the healthy environment, online or in person.

What’s the take home message? Between the CBT Map above and the lessons taught to us by Albert Ellis and Carl Rogers there is HOPE for all of us. We are in charge of shaping our beliefs, thoughts, feelings and behavior. We can re-imprint our history mentioned my Konrad Lorenz?

The map above is your operating system. It applies to each one of us. Nobody, not the neediest narcissist – is immune to that fact of life. Learn the map, how you and it are connected and you will discover that you are in charge of how you feel and your future. We examine ‘how to’ do that in the next post. The works of Aaron T. Beck, M.D. and Judith S. Beck, PhD will be used extensively throughout this medium. For more on them refer to Criminal Justice and Addictions Counseling in the catalog.

Additionally, I will be using the NAADAC definition referring to counseling services: “The interactive process of providing assistance to a client to help him/her change and maintain attitudes, beliefs and behaviors that are more constructive in their recovery process. The counselor must determine the most appropriate type of assistance and the counseling interventions to facilitate the change in behaviors, attitudes and beliefs. Counseling services include individual, group, family, crisis intervention counseling and psycho-education.” NAADAC Approved Education Provider #192679, Expires, 3/1/2022. National Association of Alcohol and other Drug Abuse Counselors.