Counseling Philosophy

Understanding Human Behavior and Its Existence > Exercise Psychology > Article

We may be more effective counselors if we can more adequately understand human nature. Human behavior and its existence can be more fully understood by viewing ourselves as biological, psychological, sociological, humanistic, and spiritual entities. By understanding ourselves and our existence we may also live to fully experience what it is to be human.

In one regard, we may view a human as a biological organism consisting of a complex structure of chemical components while possessing thoughts and feelings through integrated electrical-chemical reactions. Furthermore, the human organism has evolved through time to reflect the environmental and social obstacles placed on it through the process of evolutionary selection.

We can also distinguish ourselves as psychological and social entities. From a very early age we learn from those around us and develop particular comfort zones in which we develop our personality. From our personality and our place in life we develop our identity of ourselves.

Recognizing an individual in a humanistic light has been a major step toward understanding the total being. The humanistic system of thought centers on the person and their values, capacities, and worth. In addition, it is concerned with the interests, needs, and welfare of human beings.

Finally, the spiritual ideology distinguishes us apart from bodily or worldly existence and its concerns. It is not to be confused with one's memory of a loved one, nor a supernatural occurrence appearing in a storybook. It is a concept of us that reaches beyond finite existence.

We can not fully describe or understand human behavior, human experience, or human existence with just a single model. Conversely, these ways of viewing the human being are not mutually exclusive yet may be viewed from a variety of constructs. Likewise, human behavior can be more fully understood using various co-existing models: Chemical, Biological, Psychological, Sociological, and Spiritual.

Personality Development

From a very early age we learn from our environment and those around us. We start by imitating our parent's behaviors. We are conditioned to focus on selected stimuli in our environment. Our behavior is influenced by not only events around us but biological predisposition as well. Circumstance and individual choice also dictate behavior and conversely, the development of holistic health in general.

As children we also develop comfort zones in which we develop our personality. As we engage in social interactions, reflect on feelings, ponder on thoughts, and display mannerisms we learn to become more proficient in those behaviors we practice. Furthermore, as we experience these behaviors we tend to favor particular patterns and degrees of social interaction, feelings, and thoughts, and mannerisms. It is speculated this favoritism toward a particular personality is shaped by observation, imitation, positive reinforcement, and finally, generalization.

From our personality and our place in life we develop our identity of ourselves. From the perception our identity come our self-worth, self-concept, and consequently, our self-esteem.

Development of Maladaptive Behavior

The holistic health concept includes developing and maintaining physical, mental, emotional, mental, social, and spiritual growth. Although it is optimal to develop all components of holistic health equally, sometimes the development a just few of these components may be enough to bring about the degree of self-worth or happiness necessary for a seemingly normal life. Often, a weak development of one or more of these components may adversely affect other components of holistic health. Sometimes this weak link may be felt as a void or unquenchable thirst in ones life. Conversely, discontent is experienced when what occurs does not match with what was expected. This void or discontentment may bring about several exaggerated needs that may stagnate the development of holistic health.

Individuals may futilely attempt to satisfy these exaggerated needs by implementing particular behaviors. A perception of at least temporary satisfaction is sometimes enough to reinforce this behavior for a life long pattern. In most cases, we can implement this behavior within socially acceptable boundaries. In some cases, though, this behavior may be socially unacceptable or self-destructive.

Modern values have compromised our being. We rationalize day care, divorce, and the materialistic world in which we live with no real understanding of our selfishness, insecurities, and the consequences of our behaviors. We have alienated our lives, our children lives, and ultimately our society. This has threatened all aspects of our individual holistic health: physical, mental, emotional, mental, social, and spiritual.

Throughout the day, we have relative stranger look after our kids, feed them refined foods, encourage them to sit down and be quiet, feed them more slop, tell them we're to busy or tired, and try to discipline them with threats or reward them with treats. After all this we wonder why our children are obese and have behavior problems.

Authorities speculate modern amenities have some way affected the minds of the young and old alike. TV competes with studies, physical activity, and social interaction. Moreover, until recently, we remained active by walking, lifting, hunting, and working. As a result, our bodies and minds no longer have the physical stimulation it once thrived on. In addition, our transient society has challenged social ties to ones family and friends, inviting isolation and feelings of loneliness. Furthermore, the advent of the telephone and, more recently, the computer has, in many instances, altered the way we socialize. Finally, the society's sensationalization of the good life has replaced worshiping "all that is non-materialistic and everlasting" with worshiping "all that is materialistic and lasting a finite time".

Emotional highs and lows are always present throughout ones life. As reality therapy illustrates, emotionally adjusted individuals remain in a more positive mood states for longer durations as compared to less emotionally adjusted individuals. Furthermore, it seems that more emotionally adjusted individuals possess more emotional resilience than others when in a lower emotional state.


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