Friday, August 27, 2010

Don’t Even Look Like Your Doing Something Wrong!

A lot of relationships and marriages get into trouble because of opposite sex friendships. The one with the “friend”often calls, text messages, meets for lunch or dinner, or otherwise shares time with their friend of the opposite sex. They normally claim that it is “just a friendship”, but very often it is much more.

When their mate becomes worried and suspicious about the friendship, they often ask that it be ended. All too often an argument ensues. After all, it is just a friendship and the friendly mate asserts: “There is nothing going on other than we are good friends.”

All of this is very bad for marriages and other committed relationships.

Sometimes the friendly mate will relent and agree to break the outside friendship off. But the worried partner is left with suspicions and they often resort to checking the phone, text, or email messages. When they find that the “friendship” is still going on, the problem reaches crisis proportions. Then the extended families of the participants begin to weigh-in on the issues and the whole matter “goes viral”, so to speak. What a mess!

I have found that in most of these situations, the problem is not a friendship, it is an affair. Many marriages and committed relationships will not survive this problem and that is a tragedy when children are involved. To compound the problem, such “friendships tend not to last (for obvious reasons) when the devious “friends” marry or enter their own committed relationship. There are very few reasons to expect otherwise.

In the minority of cases, such problem friendships may only be friendships. If such a relationship creates problems for you and your spouse or committed partner, it is time for you to think straight. It will not work and someone has got to go. As the saying goes: “You will not be able have your cake and eat it too”.

My Dad once told me, “If you want to stay out of trouble: Don’t even look like you are doing something wrong!”

Dad was right.

Dr. Tom 8/27/10

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Ivar Lovass and The Treatment Of Autism

Ivar Lovass and The Treatment Of Autism

I received the following today. For families with autistic children, Ivar Lovass was a God-Send. He was a young and well-know researcher in the field of Applied Behavior Analysis when I began my training. It is very sad to know that he has passed away. Please read this short memorial.

Dear Tom:

"At 6 PM on August the 2nd, 2010, Professor Emeritus O. Ivar Løvaas, Ph.D., passed away quietly after a long battle with illness. He was surrounded by his closest family. There will be an official memorial service at the University of California, Los Angeles later this month." Dr. Doreen Granpeesheh, Executive Director, Center for Autism and Related Disorders, Inc.

Unfortunately, Løvaas had had Alzheimer's for the last few years. He was recovering from surgery for a broken hip and got an infection that caused his death.

Few have had Løvaas' impact on the field of behavior analysis, demonstrating the power of behavior analysis to so significantly improve the quality of life of so many people. Little in behavior analysis, or in psychology, has had the real impact of the behavioral interventions he started and that have been replicated and expanded upon by so many other behavior analysts. He showed that if you're willing to do what it takes, up to 40 hours per week of intensive training for at least a couple years, you can help young children with autism greatly improve their lives. And this has almost as powerful an effect on the lives of the children's families. And also on the lives of the tutors and behavior analysts who have the privilege of using behavior analysis to help those children and their families. The field of behavior analysis and the Association for Behavior Analysis International owe a great debt to Ivar Løvaas, his students, and the many researchers and practitioners who have followed his path and who have branched off on related paths of their own.

With Regret,
Association for Behavior Analysis International

Monday, August 9, 2010

No Friends Like Old Friends

No Friends Like Old Friends

So there they were….about one hundred of them. Many no longer resembled those friends and acquaintances that I had known as a teenager, but they were there…and what a glorious bunch they were! They were my classmates from my 1960 high school graduation class.

Some of them still resembled the emotional and behavioral beings that I had known 50 years ago, but something was marvelously different. Each, in their own unique way had been transformed by a lifetime of events largely unknown to me.

Our times together were at an informal gathering the evening before our dinner at a bar and bowling alley which was popular in our home town of St. Joseph, Michigan in the 1960′s. The next day we enjoyed a luncheon at our high school and a tour through halls that we had not seen for 50 years. We were proud to be the first class to graduate from our then brand new high school. The city of St. Joseph had done a great job of expanding and maintaining this impressive facility. As we toured our school many visions long forgotten were instantaneously familiar. This was an object lesson in the psychology of human memory. Finally, there was the dinner with an evening program full of wonderful reminiscences. All arranged by a small corps of loyal and caring classmates who had dutifully planned and executed similar reunions, nearly every five years since our graduation.

But this was our 50th reunion and it eclipsed all of the others. It was a magical time and it was exclusively comprised of well seasoned and aged human beings who had become some of the best specimens that humanity can achieve. A few formerly clicky and aloof teen girls were now kind and thoughtful women who went out of their way to reach out to former Geeks and wallflowers. The lofty athletic heros, from one-half a century ago, warmly welcomed and conversed with the guys who had never gained high status and popularity in high school. Some of the men and women who were formerly shy, quiet and retiring were smiling, laughing, and talking with classmates they may never have spoken to in high school. Everyone treated everyone with remarkable kindness and everyone appeared to give and to receive an uncommon measure of love and respect.

These people were the survivors of our class. Sadly, 27 of our former classmates were known to have died during the intervening years. We were haunted by their memories as each of their names were read aloud, with caring and respect.

I believe that we were each aware that everyone there had somehow managed to overcome life’s disappointments, sorrows, and personal tragedies. More importantly, they had found their way back through time, to the birth-place of their former insecurities and the beginning of their adult adventures, trials and tribulations. And there they were: Each with a grace, dignity, and kindness which all-to-often comes only with the passage and survival of countless events in time.

These are my lasting memories of my 50th high school class reunion.

But there was one more. It was the deafening roar, stronger than ever before, of the proud and ferocious athletic chant of the St. Joseph High School Fighting Bears. It was a roar that had built within this group of survivors for five decades and it rattled the walls and windows and sent spirits soaring as never before! It was a perfect way to end a surreal and precious evening with loved ones from a distant past.

I hope you will consider attending your next reunion. It may be one of the most heartwarming events of your life.

Tom Mawhinney, 8/7/10
St. Joseph High School Class of 1960