James Tobin, Ph.D.             

Parent Guidance 
Organizational Consulting

The Men's Group  

Egoistic Reactivity

According to Buddhist principles and Western psychology, the human mind is "conditioned" to respond to events and inner experiences in a patterned way.  The nature of the response is determined by life narrative themes that have been accumulating across one's lifespan, such as "I always get the short end of the stick," "If I am not assertive, I will be taken advantage of,  "I don't deserve to get what I want," etc.  These themes constitute our self-concept.  Despite their being false to a greater or lesser degree, they are rigidly held onto because they provide us with an identity.  It is a tragedy of the human condition that we are motivated to cling to an identity replete with false and self-derogatory themes -- this tendency is known as "egoism."   The alternative to egoism is to seek to challenge these self-created life narrative themes and, by so doing, re-configure our self-concept.  In this next meeting of the Men's Group on Saturday, November 1, 2014 (10:45 AM to 12:00 PM noon), I will describe a brief interaction between a husband and wife and showcase how egoistic reactivity determined what had occurred and led to sudden, intense, and highly distressing conflict.  I will then highlight how egoistic reactivity can be interrupted, thus promoting a greater degree of freedom in interpersonal interactions and a reprieve from damaging notions of self-concept and assumptions about others.        


The Dating and Relationship Group

Overcoming Toxicity in Romantic Relationships: A Practical Framework 

All romantic relationships consist of negative repetitive dynamics one or both partners unconsciously play out.   Even in new dating relationships, what people often call "game-playing" and "testing" are tactics that -- although often executed purposefully -- actually arise outside of one's awareness.  Buttons get pushed, anger, frustration and resentment starts to mount, and blaming and withdrawal often result.  Sometimes compliance and passive-aggressiveness are used in an effort to diminish these conflicts and sweep them under the carpet.  There are many self-help books that attempt to address these dynamics, even some that promote power/control dynamics in relationships, but in my view none appropriately address what is really happening and what to do about.  In the next meeting of the Dating and Relationship Group on Saturday, November 1, 2014 (12:00 to 1:15 PM), I will use real-life dating and relationship vignettes provided by attendees to present the framework I have developed to help people overcome toxicity in their relationships.  This framework centers on mindfully seeking to no longer contribute to toxic cycles of relatedness by avoiding personalization and distorted interpretations of events, and capitalizing on opportunities for greater intimacy and healing.  If you plan to attend, it would be helpful if at least some attendees would email me a brief synopsis (no longer than 1 or 2 paragraphs) of a dating or relationship dilemma you would like me to review on Saturday.  I will compile these, de-identify any personal information about individuals or circumstances in the synopsis, and show how my framework may be applied to them.  If you plan to attend, please RSVP ASAP to Dr. Tobin at 949-338-4388 or jt@jamestobinphd.com as space is limited to the first 14 persons who register to attend.  Also, if you would like to volunteer a synopsis of a dating/relationship dilemma, please send a brief description of the situation via email by Thursday, 10/30.  


To Register to Attend: 
If you would like to attend either or both groups on Saturday, November 1, 2014, 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.  
James Tobin, Ph.D., PSY 22074 | 949-338-4388 | jt@jamestobinphd.com 
Website: jamestobinphd.com
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