Groupthink and Conformity

Groupthink and Conformity

By Crystal Tsui

Have you ever been in a group and did not agree with the group’s decision, but had to agree because they would reject your idea?  Irving Janis, a social psychologist, first coined the term groupthink to describe this situation. His main aim was to understand how a group of individuals collectively come up with excellent decisions one time and fail at other times. Groupthink happens when a group of people with good intentions, but they make irrational decisions that are spurred by the urge to conform. Group members value harmony and coherence above rational thinking and refrain from expressing doubts and judgements or disagreeing with the consensus.

Irving Janis observed the following eight patterns of groupthink:

  1. Illusions of Invulnerability: when the group displays excessive optimism and takes big risks, the members of the group feel that anything they do will turn out to be successful.
  2. Collective Rationalization: when the group rationalizes thoughts or suggestions that challenge what the majority is thinking
  3. Belief in Inherent Morality of the Group: the belief that whatever the group does will be right. This causes the group members to overlook the consequences of what they decide.
  4. Out Group stereotypes: is the belief that those who disagree are opposing just to oppose the group
  5. Direct Pressure on Dissenters: the majority directly threatens the opposing group member by telling them that they can always leave the group if they don’t agree.
  6. Self-Censorship: the opposing individual believes that if they are the only odd one out then they must be the one who is wrong.
  7. Illusions of Unanimity: Silence from some is considered acceptance of the majority’s decision
  8. Self-Appointed Mind Guards: Members of the group who take it upon themselves to discourage alternative ideas from being expressed in the group.

There are numerous studies supporting the fundamentals of groupthink and conformity. One famous study was the Asch Conformity experiment. Solomon Asch gathered his participants to take a vision test where three lines at varied lengths were compared to one other; which was longer. The participants were asked to identify the lines with matching lengths. Ninety-five percent of participants answered every question correctly. Then Asch placed actors in the groups, who confidently volunteered the same incorrect answer. The accuracy dropped to 25 percent, indicating that 75 percent of the participants went along with the group’s incorrect answer for at least one question.

An Emory University neuroscientist, Gregory Berns, found that when we take a stance different from the group, we activate the amygdala, a small region in the brain associated with the fear. We don’t like to be rejected so we refrain from speaking up against the group, which supports Janis’ pattern of groupthink: Direct Pressure on Dissenters. Professor Berns defined this situation as “the pain of independence.” Many government decisions are cited as a result of groupthink, such as the Vietnam War or the invasion of Iraq.

Groupthink also fosters a strong “us vs. them” mentality that prompts members to accept group perspectives in the heat of the moment, where there is also a strong pressure from the outside to make a good decision. An example in literature is George Orwell’s Animal Farm, where the animals make a nonunanimous decision to rid the farm of humans. There were animals there that quite adored being loved and owned by a human, however, those animals had to agree because the leader of the animals would punish them otherwise.

After periodically experiencing groupthink, an individual may become shy and become more introverted. They may be afraid to speak and include their own ideas in fear of the group rejecting their idea.

If you or someone you know have social anxiety and fear of speaking up, please contact our psychotherapy offices in New York or New Jersey to talk to one of our licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, or psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy. Contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively, at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment. For more information, please visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/ .

Sources:

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/basics/groupthink

https://www.communicationtheory.org/groupthink/

https://www.capitalideasonline.com/wordpress/the-pain-of-independence/

https://counselingrx.files.wordpress.com/2019/07/f74c8-1d9gxs1dxyteswk7e7zgd2q.jpeg

Relapse Prevention: Substance Use Disorders

Relapse Prevention: Substance Use Disorders Relapse Prevention: Substance Use Disorders

By: Julia Keys

The road to recovery from substance abuse can be long and difficult. There may be many times when those recovering are tempted to just give up. However, there are many different strategies for when individuals are in a place where they feel ready to quit all the progress they made. Relapse is part of recovery, but it should be avoided and treated carefully.

Most people think that relapse starts when the addict starts using again, however relapse can start much earlier than that. There are three stages of relapse: emotional relapse, mental relapse and physical relapse.  Emotional relapse starts when one is thinking about using. Although they have made no real attempts at obtaining any substances, the thought of using is very tempting. During mental relapse one has decided to use again. Physical relapse is when you contact your dealer, obtain substances, or use substances.

When preventing relapse it is important to seek many different types of support. Studies show that those recovering who see therapists alongside any inpatient or outpatient detox programs have faster recovery rates than those who do not seek additional treatment. Therapists can help those in recovery come up with personalized strategies to prevent them from relapsing.

If you or a loved one is struggling with substance use or recovery from substance abuse, do not hesitate to seek help by contacting Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy, located in New York and New Jersey to speak to licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners or psychotherapists. To contact the office in Paramus NJ, call (201) 368-3700. To contact the office in Manhattan, call (212) 722-1920. For more information, please visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/ .

Sources:

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/where-science-meets-the-steps/201312/preventing-relapse-among-addicted-youth

https://www.addictionsandrecovery.org/relapse-prevention.htm

Source for Picture:

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Sleep: The Different Stages of Sleep

Sleep: The Different Stages of Sleep

By Crystal Tsui

Have you ever wondered why at certain times of the night you tend to be more alert and other times you dream, unaware of your surroundings? That’s because there are different stages of sleep, more specifically five stages.

  • Stage 1
  • Stage 2
  • Stage 3
  • Stage 4
  • REM (rapid eye movement)

How do we determine what stage is what? Sleep researchers use an electroencephalogram (EEG), is a method used to monitor and record electric cortical brain activity, and other instruments to help determine the stages.

In Stage 1, researchers found that this cycle is the lightest sleep. On the EEG, the frequency is slower than when we are awake. Physically, our muscles relax and our breathing occurs at a regular rate.

In Stage 2, we are less likely to be awakened. Our heart rate and temperature decreases as our body is preparing to go into a deep sleep.

In Stage 3 and 4, we begin our deep sleep. It’s harder to be awakened because at this point our body becomes less responsive to outside stimuli. In these stages, our body starts to restore itself, stimulate growth and development, boosts immune function, and builds energy for the next day.

In REM, dreaming occurs, our eyes quickly jerk in different directions, heart rate and blood pressure increase, and our breathing become fast and shallow. This stage generally lasts up to an hour and begins about 90 mins after you initially fall asleep. This is an important stage because our brain starts to consolidate all the information we have learned during the day into our long-term memory.

In children, one cycle can last up to 50-60 mins and increases to 1-1.5 hours in adults. It is advised:

  • Babies (0 months – 11 months) get 14-18 hours
  • Toddlers (1-5 yrs) get 12-13 hours
  • Children (6-10 yrs) get 8.5- 11 hours
  • Pre-teens and teenagers (11-17) get 8-10 hours
  • Adults (18-65+) get 7-9 hours of sleep

If you or someone you know has trouble sleeping, please contact our psychotherapy offices in New York or New Jersey to talk to one of our licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, or psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy. Contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively, at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment. For more information, please visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/ .

Citation:

https://img.timesnownews.com/story/1535107553-sleep.PNG?d=600×450

https://www.sleepassociation.org/about-sleep/stages-of-sleep/

https://www.sleep.org/articles/what-happens-during-sleep/

Am I Too Sensitive?

Am I Too Sensitive

Am I Too Sensitive?

By Julia Keys

Has anyone ever said to you in passing, “you’re so sensitive”? Our society seems to shun sensitivity without truly understanding or appreciating it. Stereotypically, a “sensitive person” is portrayed as irrationally emotional or ready to cry at any moment. In reality, sensitivity is defined by psychologists as the amount someone reacts physically, emotionally, or mentally to external and internal stimuli. Researchers have actually coined a term for someone you may describe as “sensitive”: the Highly Sensitive Person (HSP).

Highly Sensitive People, (HSP), process their external and internal environments with more attention than typical people. About 20% of the population are estimated to be a HSP. Some evolutionary psychologists suggest that HSP evolved from people that needed to be hyper vigilant in their environments to survive. Nowadays, we do not need as much extra attention to survive, but HSP are still affected by their high level of sensitivity.

It is easy to think that HSP and introversion are interchangeable traits, however there are some key differences between the two that are important to understand. HSP are not always introverts, they may like being around other people, but certain social environments can be overwhelming to their senses. Also, introversion refers to one’s preference for spending time alone versus spending time with others while sensitivity is how one processes sensory input. Although some HSP are introverted, there are definitely a fair amount that are extroverted as well.

Signs of a Highly Sensitive Person

  • Easily overwhelmed by such things as bright lights, strong smells, coarse fabrics, or sirens nearby
  • Gets more anxious than typical people when there a lot to do in a short amount of time
  • Easily disturbed by violence or graphic images
  • Feels the need to withdraw during busy days, into bed or a darkened room or some other place where they can have relief from overstimulating environments
  • Makes it a high priority to arrange their life to avoid upsetting or overwhelming situations
  •  Notices or enjoys delicate or fine scents, tastes, sounds, or works of art
  • Has a rich and complex inner life
  • Was shy or sensitive as a small child

Being an HSP can sometimes cause distress. HSP can have feelings of anxiety or stress when they are in environments that are overstimulating. Certain environments that may be enjoyable for neurotypical people such as parties, outside markets, or concerts may present too much sensory input for an HSP to enjoy. As a result, some HSP may struggle with isolation or loneliness.

On the other hand, the Highly Sensitive Person can also benefit from their heightened sensitivities to stimuli. HSP tend to be observant and perceptive, picking up on small details that others would not. As a result, many HSP are highly creative and innovative. HSP are also naturally empathetic, making them sensitive to others’ emotions and needs. HSP that balance their attention between a healthy internal and external environment reach their highest potential.

If you or someone you know is struggling with the stress being a HSP may bring, and are seeking stress management, please contact our psychotherapy offices in New York or New Jersey to talk to one of our licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, or psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy. Contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively, at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment. For more information, please visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/ .

Sources:

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/live-life-creatively/201906/the-creative-power-the-highly-sensitive-person

https://hsperson.com/

 

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Childhood Trauma: Effects on Adult Wellbeing

Childhood Trauma: Effects on Adult Wellbeing

Childhood Trauma: Effects on Adult Wellbeing

By: Julia Keys

The child brain grows and makes connections at a rapid rate and is extremely emotionally sensitive. Unfortunately, children that experience some sort of major trauma such as emotional, physical, or sexual abuse, neglect, war, poverty, or unsafe living conditions can be greatly negatively impacted later on in life.

Children who have parents that are for some reason unwilling or unable to provide the love and care they need oftentimes blame themselves for the lack of parental attention. In response to this lack of care, children may start to act in ways in which they feel would help the parents love them more. As the child grows up, they can become detached from their own needs because they are so focused on the love they receive from others.

Another effect of childhood trauma is victimhood thinking. Although a child may have been helpless when they were raised, self-victimization does not help an adult in the long run because it robs them of the self-empowerment they need to change their lives in the ways they desire.

Children growing up in environments where anger is expressed violently may begin to learn that anger is dangerous and therefore should be avoided. However, suppressing emotional expression is unhealthy and can cause individuals to be passive aggressive, which is an ineffective way to communicate. The most damaging effect of childhood trauma can have on an adult is the development of psychological disorders such as depression, anxiety, or post-traumatic stress disorder.

If you or someone you love is struggling with the effects of childhood trauma, please contact our psychotherapy offices in New York or New Jersey to talk to one of our licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, or psychotherapists at Arista Counseling and Psychotherapy. Contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively, at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment. For more information, please visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/. 

Depression and Logotherapy

Depression and Logotherapy

Depression and Logotherapy

By: Julia Keys

The struggle to find the meaning of life is a classic human dilemma. One may be content with their every day activities such as going to work, spending time at home, or eating, but they might still wonder “what is my real purpose?”.  People with psychological disorders such as depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, and substance and alcohol abuse disorders are especially prone to being plagued with this kind of existential anxiety. A study by Alimujiang, et al. (2019) found that a sense of purpose greatly improves one’s physical, mental, and emotional health as well as overall life satisfaction. There is a specific type of psychotherapy called logotherapy (logo being derived from the Greek word for meaning), that is designed to help individuals find their true purpose in life.

Logotherapy was developed by a psychologist named Victor Frankl in the 1950s. Frankl drew upon his experiences during the Holocaust to develop logotherapy. Frankl was one of the millions of people that suffered the horrors of concentration camps. While imprisoned, Frankl noticed that those who mentally and physically survived the camp, usually found meaning in their lives there. After the camps were liberated, Frankl resumed his work with neurology and psychology and subsequently developed logotherapy.

There are three main principles of logotherapy:

  • every person has a healthy core
  • internal resources are more helpful in therapy than external resources
  • while life offers you meaning or purpose, it is one’s responsibility to explore that meaning to become happy or fulfilled

Frankl suggests that there are three main ways to reap the benefits of life:

  • by creating a work or accomplishing some task
  • by experiencing something fully or loving someone fully
  • by adopting an attitude that is at peace with the unavoidable suffering life may present

Logotherapy is used to treat depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, and substance and alcohol abuse. Logotherapy is a great choice for patients that want to find their own personal meaning of life. Focusing on one’s purpose in life can help people live their most fulfilling and happy lives.

If you or someone you know is struggling to find a meaning in life or is suffering from anxiety, PTSD, depression or substance or alcohol abuse issues, please contact our psychotherapy offices in New York or New Jersey to talk to one of our licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, or psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy. Contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively, at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment. For more information, please visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/ .

 

Sources:

https://www.goodtherapy.org/learn-about-therapy/types/logotherapy

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/flourish-and-thrive/201906/the-importance-having-sense-purpose

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