(I) The Dating and Relationship Group: Unpacking Your "Baggage"  
In our last several group meetings, we have been tracking the "relational states" of early development that the child employs to accommodate and conform to primary caregivers and the broader circumstances of the family context.  The major theme we have been exploring is the notion that, as the child matures, he or she should ideally move from dependent interpersonal styles ("attachment") to more autonomous and independent approaches to relational experiences.  If this is achieved, relationships are approached with a balance of self-interest and sensitivity to the needs of the other -- making it possible for mutuality, interdependence, and intimacy.  Unfortunately, no developmental experience is perfect, smooth, and without distress or conflict -- leaving every person with what is commonly called "baggage."  As adults, we relate to significant others in our lives with maladaptive patterns and tendencies that reflect where in our own development things went awry.  In other words, the problems we may have in our romantic relationships are directly correlated with challenges and conflicts we did not fully resolve in our youths. 
In the next meeting of the Dating and Relationship Group on Saturday, February 4, 2017, 12:00 to 1:15 PM, I will unpack the notion of "baggage" from the perspective of early emotional and psychological development.  A chart will be presented that will describe early childhood relational dilemmas and how they correspond to the problems of romantic intimacy in adult life.  The notion of "baggage" will be approached not only from a developmental perspective, but also from the point of view of its cumulative effects.  That is, I will illustrate how an unresolved issue from childhood contributes to problems sequentially, with each negative experience increasing the chances of even more negative experiences and dilemmas in the next relationship.  Understanding the nature of these dilemmas will provide a starting point for overcoming their insidious and, at times, debilitating effects and interrupting their ongoing momentum.  

(II) The Men's Group: 
Understanding Hope 
We all want it, but many of us ultimately lose it as the waves of life leave their damage!  Effort is exerted and, despite our best intentions, things don't always turn out the way we thought they would.  Often people try to sustain their hope for a better future but struggle in their capacity to persevere and remain positive.
In the next meeting of the "Men's Group" on Saturday, February 4, 2017, 10:45 AM to 12:00 PM, the psychological construct of "hope" will be presented.  I will trace the notion of hope back to early scientific findings of "learned helplessness" -- the antithetical concept to hope.  Research on learned helplessness spawned investigations of optimism which ultimately gave rise to the movement of Positive Psychology.  I will present the principles of Hope Theory, a paradigm which conceptualizes hope as a cognitive-emotional motivational system.  Attendees will be provided with a hope questionnaire that will shed light on one's personal tendencies and patterns on the various components of hope that have been scientifically demonstrated.  

(III) Upcoming Workshop Presentation:
Understanding the Psychological Dynamics of Modern Love Relationships: The Paradigm of the "Erotic Hinge" and Its Clinical Utility -- Saturday, February 25, 2017 (10:00 AM - 1:00 PM)
While divorce rates continue to be high, the modern couple is challenged by a host of social and technological factors that negatively impact the maintenance of long-term, healthy romantic relationships.  The alarming rise of internet pornography use, the proliferation of "hook -up" apps, an emerging "sugar-daddy" subculture, and increasing rates of infidelity for both men and women are significant cultural trends that exist against the backdrop of ever-changing gender roles and what some characterize as the gradually diminishing relevance of marriage.  Are  traditional notions of "love" literally fading away in this apocalyptic cauldron, leaving the human heart largely incapable of or even invested in the integration of physical and emotional intimacy with one partner for the long haul?  In this workshop, I draw from classical analytic theory to articulate a structure for heterosexual romantic love that organizes male and female partners into viable revisions of Freud's "phallic position" and his notion of female psychic-sexual development.  The modern couple's capacity to attain this structure (what I call the "Erotic Hinge") is protective against the many contemporary challenges of love relationships. The Erotic Hinge has served as a useful tool in my clinical practice for individuals and couples seeking to overcome repetitive enactments, "maternalizing" dynamics, role diffusion, narcissistic and co-dependent tendencies, diminishment of sexual and emotional intimacy, and infidelity.    To register to attend this workshop, please contact Dr. Andy Schwartz at 949-588-5984 or at drpalndrome@aol.com.

To register for the February 4, 2017 meetings of the Men's Group (10:45 AM to 12:00 PM) and/or the "Dating and Relationship Group" (12:00 to 1:15 PM): 
If you would like to attend one or both of these groups on Saturday, Ferbruary 4, 2017, please RSVP ASAP to Dr. Tobin at 949-338-4388 or jt@jamestobinphd.com. There is a limit of 14 attendees for each group and registrants will be accommodated on a first-come/first-serve basis.  The fee is $25.00 and the location is The Water Garden Business Center, 23421 South Pointe Drive, Suite 130, Laguna Hills, CA, 92653.  Please note that these groups are educational in purpose, not therapeutic, and do not constitute psychotherapy or counseling.

James Tobin, Ph.D., PSY 22074 | 949-338-4388 | jt@jamestobinphd.com