Menu
Assign a 'primary' menu

Category Archives for "Blog"

Proven Psychological Strategies that Corporations Should Use to Maximize Peak Performance Among Employees!
Sep 22

Proven Psychological Strategies that Corporations Should Use to Maximize Peak Performance Among Employees!

By Dr. Jack Singer | Blog , Workplace Wellness

I have written extensively about how more and more companies are recognizing that putting health and wellness programs on board ultimately helps their bottom line by maximizing peak performance in employees.  Do you wonder why such programs are directly related to profits?

Nearly One Million Employees Miss Work Each Day Because of Overwhelming Stress

Lost hours due to absenteeism, reduced productivity, turnover, medical, legal, and insurance costs have been estimated to cost $300 billion per year, or $7500 per worker.

A ton of research has now proven definitively that stress is linked to six leading causes of death, including:

  • heart disease
  • cancer
  • suicide

According to the American Institute of Health & Productivity Management, which phrased the term, “Presenteeism,”

There is also a major cost each year due to employees who are at work but not working up to their potential, because of the stressors they encounter.

In our 24/7 global society, stressors abound, both on and off the job. I-phones, instant messaging, and e-mail all are designed to make life more convenient and easier, but they effectively leash us to work and other obligations.  We have become a society of people with OCD as it pertains to looking for information and instant feedback.  This adds even more stress as we constantly fight to keep up with our competition.

Add to this family demands, our pervasive fear of terror striking close to home, and worrying about the future of our Country, constant stress surrounds us.

The Emotional Well-Being of Employees has Been Shown to Positively Impact Performance, Absenteeism, Lower Health Insurance Claims, and Enhance Quality Control

Where the workplace can really help is to focus on programs that enhance the well-being of their employees.  Here you have a captive audience, where their company can show a genuine interest in enhancing their emotional well-being.

The American Psychological Association launched their annual Psychologically Healthy Workplace award several years ago in order to give corporations an incentive to develop programs that will help workers to thrive emotionally.  Examples of programs that enhance the psychological health of employees in the workplace are:

  • offering growth and development opportunities
  • innovative employee recognition programs
  • encouraging work-life balance opportunities
  • participative decision-making opportunities
  • enhanced communications and respect between managers and workers
  • offering confidential counseling to employees from well-trained mental health professionals

Companies whose employees achieve peak performance understand that the emotional well-being of their employees is the key to such performance.

To learn more about how to develop a psychologically healthy workplace for your employees, contact me for more information.

Behind the Scenes at the Olympics: Sports Psychologists and Positive Psychology
Aug 18

Behind the Scenes at the Olympics: Sports Psychologists and Positive Psychology

By Dr. Jack Singer | Applied Sports Psychology , Blog , Elite Athletes

I am so proud that my emerging field of “Sports Psychology” is always on display during the Olympics, as the US teams each have sport psychologists who specialize in their sport.

Now, I apply the exact same techniques for sales, HR, and Financial Professionals.  The article below was written by psychologist, Rodney L. Lowman.  He says it better than I can.

– Dr. Jack Singer


Guest Post by Psychologist Rodney L. Lowman

They christened themselves the “Final Five” in recognition that they would be the last U.S. gymnast team coached by Martha Karolyi, who will be retiring after the 2016 Summer Olympics after coaching gymnasts through 11 Olympic contests. As the required routines progressed, the U.S. gymnastic team’s scores became nearly insurmountable, winning 12 of 12 routines. The team beat out its closest rival, Russia, by a whopping 8.209 seconds.

Outstanding Olympic Athletes

All of the members of the gymnastics team were superstars delivering dramatic, near-flawless performances, but one, Simone Biles, particularly stood out. She has been dubbed the best gymnast ever but was not born into a life of privilege. Her single mother (now clean and sober) gave up her children due to drug addiction; her father, also an addict, had abandoned the family. Adopted by her maternal grandparents and subsequently raised in Houston, Biles owns more Olympic and world gold medals than any other female gymnast ever. She is 19.

There’s more. The “Final Five” (Simone Biles, Gabby Douglas, Laurie Hernandez, Madison Kocian and Aly Raisman) work together remarkably well as a team. They get along with and support one another, celebrate each other’s victories and console their misses.

Then there are the swimmers Ryan Phelps, age 31, and Michael Lochte, 32, having won to date 25 and 11 Olympic medals, respectively. And let us not overlook Kristin Armstrong, who turned 43 today, and who just made history by winning her third gold medal in timed cycling.

Behind-the-Scenes Champions: Sports Psychologists

We rightly credit the Olympic winners for their victories but behind the scenes are a myriad of coaches, trainers, medical staff, supportive families, and yes—sports psychologists. Little known fact: the U.S. Olympic Committee includes a Sport Psychology Team. It’s now become widely accepted for athletes to have a sports psychologist or performance coach.

Sports psychology is not new. Coleman Griffith worked in the field in the 1920s. Today, sports psychologists use a variety of techniques with athletes: relationship building, arousal regulation, mental imagery, focus-building and goal setting, enhancing self-efficacy and resilience, self-talk and support. Athletes, who face extraordinary stress and high stakes, where fractions of a second determine outcomes, perform better with psychology.

Many contemporary sports psychologists such as Joan Steidinger (running and cyclist), Gio Valiante (golf), and Caroline Silby (running and triathlon) were themselves accomplished athletes. Others, like Steven Bucky, have been counseling NFL athletes for years.

Positive Psychology Can Improve Your Career Too

All of this work reflects a move in psychology to focus on performance and achievement not just deficit and dysfunction. This is often called the positive psychology revolution, whose founders include Donald Clifton and Martin Seligman (“Learned Optimism”)—and those before them like Carl Rogers and Abraham Maslow who concerned themselves with human happiness and well-being.

Salutogenesis – the promotion of health and well-being – is rapidly becoming an important theme in psychological research and Psychology is a remarkably broad field and its premiere professional organization, the APA, and its Division 47, Society for Sport, Exercise and Performance Psychology, reflect that diversity.

sales success
Aug 04

Simple Secrets for Using the Power of Positive Affirmations to Supercharge Your Sales Success

By Dr. Jack Singer | Blog , Confidence , Sales Professionals , Self Improvement

Since Ruth Fishel published her classic book, Change Almost Anything in 21 Days,” the power of using positive affirmations has gained much attention.  We now know from the rich research conducted in the field of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) that our belief systems and the thoughts connected with them drive our success or failure.

Much outcome research has been conducted with sales professionals. Why do some sales professionals get overwhelmed and flee the profession within a year, while others flourish and continue to build successful careers?  The answer lies in the self-talk habits that sales professionals bring with them when they first enter the profession and continue to use as they adapt to the stresses and strains of selling as a career.

What Are Affirmations?

Affirmations, positive or negative, are the statements we make to ourselves, based on how we interpret the situation in which we find ourselves at the moment.

All too often, our affirmations are negative and self-defeating, such as “That client said ‘no’ to the sale because I screwed up.”

Such a negative affirmation will produce serious damage to the sales professional’s confidence and self-esteem, thus leading to more “failed sales attempts,” and a self-fulfilling prophecy of feeling hopeless and helpless results in continual selling failures.

The good news is that we have choices in the types of affirmations that we say to ourselves, and positive affirmations said consistently can have powerful benefits, both in career success and even your health.

World-renowned experts, such as Dr. Bernie Siegel and Dr. Martin Seligman, the father of the Positive Psychology Movement, point to many cases of people overcoming devastating illnesses, using positive thinking, including repeating positive affirmations.

Dr. Seligman sites 40 years of his own research connecting sales success with affirmations that sales professionals use to maintain an attitude of optimism and gratefulness, discarding “failed” sales as flukes and focusing on the next sales opportunity.

5 Characteristics of Successful Affirmations

1. They must be positive.

The verbiage must always be positive. For example, saying, ”I am confident about my sales skills” is much better than saying “I no longer doubt myself in terms of my sales skills.”

2. The must be said with passion and gusto.

When we believe that our affirmations are true and in the present, and we repeat them with power and energy, we begin the process of conditioning our subconscious minds to actually strive toward making these beliefs true in the present.

Affirmations must be given more than lip service. When you say it with conviction, feel it by visualizing it as real, and let the wonderful feelings of having already accomplished this, then you re-program your mind and your body to accept it as part of the new you.

“I know that what I have to offer my customers will absolutely impact them in a positive way and they will thank me over and over for providing these products (or services) to them!”

3. They must be said in the present moment.

Our subconscious minds do not know whether something is happening in reality or in our minds. For example, if you close your eyes and visualize holding a half of a lemon and see yourself taking a juicy bite out of it, you will salivate, as your subconscious mind believes this visualization is in fact really happening.  Our bodies respond to what we think about just as if it were actually happening at that moment.

So, with affirmations, be sure to state them in the most positive way and as if they are happening and real, right now. Even if you don’t know who your next prospect is, state it as if you have already met this potential customer:

“I know exactly how my product (service) will benefit this customer and if I were this customer’s best friend, I know exactly what I would say right now to convince him to buy.”

4. They must be realistic.

Giving yourself unrealistic affirmations sets you up for frustration and disappointment. Positive affirmations should reflect views of yourself and your success that are truly possible, not only in your fantasies.   For example, I cannot realistically affirm that I am becoming a famous actor or athlete, but I can affirm that I am a terrific psychologist and mentor for sales professionals.

5. They must be personal.

We can only make affirmations about ourselves, not what we want other people to be.  So, give yourself affirmations about your success as a sales professional, living out your career goals in the present.

A wonderful example of using a positive affirmation to explain ones’ success, despite missed opportunities in the past, is this quote from Michael Jordan:

I have missed more than 9000 shots in my career.  I have lost almost 300 games.  On 26 occasions I have been entrusted to take the game-winning shot and I have missed.  I have failed over and over again in my life.  And that’s precisely why I succeed!”

How to Get Started Using Positive Affirmations

  • Use your computer desktop to post your affirmations and repeat them at least 10 times a day, rotating new ones weekly
  • Use sticky notes posted on your bathroom mirror so you will begin to repeat your affirmations while brushing your teeth or brushing your hair
  • Use more sticky notes on your refrigerator, your car visor, or other places that you frequent daily
  • Use affirmations as mantras to use during meditation, while engaged in yoga and while conducting mindfulness exercises

The key to success is repetition and, as Ruth Fishel has shown, if you are consistent, you can change your life and your success in as little as 21 days!

Smart Communication Tips for Creating a Healthy Workplace
Jul 21

Smart Communication Tips for Creating a Healthy Workplace

By Dr. Jack Singer | Blog , Workplace Wellness

In previous articles, I mentioned the ongoing research cited by the American Psychological Association’s (APA) Center for Organizational Excellence in embracing the principles of a “Psychologically Healthy Workplace.”  This is another piece of the Workplace Excellence puzzle—the role of smart communication in the design and implementation of healthy workplace practices.

Smart Communication in the Workplace

Bottom-up Communication

Management cannot initiate new workplace programs or initiatives without understanding employee needs, perceptions and concerns.

When a company invites me to help them develop a new workplace program, the first step is opening a series of programs where employees are encouraged to communicate.

Anonymity is often necessary in order for employees to feel safe in objectively relating their needs, perceptions and concerns.

Examples of Bottom-Up Communication Strategies:

  1. Employee surveys
  2. Suggestion boxes
  3. Individual or team meetings with managers
  4. Maintaining a participative, open, two-way communication culture

The information obtained by communicating with employees must be given genuine consideration by management.  Employees need to believe that the company is truly interested in their perceptions, concerns, and suggestions for improvement, rather than simply soliciting feedback from employees in order to make them feel important.  This includes not only assessing employee needs but directly involving them in the development and implementation of workplace practices that address those needs.

Top-Down Communication 

How management communicates with employees is critical to the successful implementation of new workplace practices.  Not only do employees need a basic awareness of the availability of new programs, but they need to know clearly how to gain access to them, along with strong messages that management encourages and supports these new initiatives.

Examples of Top-Down Communication Strategies:

  1. Newsletter, memos, etc. that explain the goals of Management
  2. Using multiple channels (e.g., print, electronic, and video, orientation and training sessions, staff and team meetings, etc.)
  3. Leading by example, where all levels of management regularly participate in the same psychologically healthy workplace activities with the employees

Nothing encourages employees more than knowing and believing that top management embraces the same workplace activities they are promoting for their employees.

Smart communication is an important part of building a psychologically healthy workplace. On that topic, the honorable Alexis M. Herman, former U.S. Secretary of Labor, said it best:

“This is not pie in the sky: this is about the bottom line. Building psychologically healthy workplaces isn’t just the right thing to do.  It’s also the smart thing to do.”

Tips for Healthcare Professionals - 3 Keys to Preventing Burnout
Jul 07

Healthcare Professionals: 3 Keys to Preventing Burnout

By Dr. Jack Singer | Blog , Stress , Stress Management

We don’t often think about the extreme stress that medical practitioners endure while shouldering the tremendous responsibility for the lives of their patients. Burnout and early career termination are frequent occurrences among these professionals, whether they are doctors, nurses, mental health professionals, trauma first responders, EMS professionals or emergency room staff.

Some of these medical professionals work with a population of clients whose needs are dramatic and immediate—victims of catastrophic injuries and/or those who are in overwhelming pain. As any family whose life has been turned upside down by a catastrophic injury will attest, navigating the healthcare system and coordinating the multiple aspects of care is a monumental and overwhelming undertaking. In the split second that it takes for the accident to take place, the family’s lives change dramatically and often permanently.

Dealing with catastrophic injuries and complex pain conditions necessitate a complex approach that supports not only the victim but everyone connected to the victim, every step of the way.  Successful outcomes require an extremely dedicated and professional case management team, with a laser focus on optimal medical recovery.

I am honored to be invited to keynote the 2016 Summit for a company that has taken on these challenges and has done so with an amazing track record of success.  This company, filled with unsung heroes, is Paradigm Outcomes.  Like all companies charged with taking on dramatic and often life-threatening cases, Paradigm’s teams are extremely vulnerable to burnout. Attaining optimal outcomes can have burnout side effects.  Of course, burnout is no stranger to any occupation, so the tips below apply to any industry where stress occurs simultaneously with job performance.

3 Keys to Preventing Burnout

1. Make Stress Resilience Practice a Part of Every Day

Healthcare professionals, especially those working with urgent, catastrophic cases, rarely afford themselves the time to develop stress resiliency skills.  They are so focused on the task at hand that they concentrate on providing their skills to others, neglecting themselves in the process.  Such activities as taking a brisk walk during breaks and after meals can go a long way toward calming and rebuilding mental strength.

The new rage in mental health is “mindfulness.”  You can obtain free mindfulness apps on your phone, and these relaxing exercises can attain powerful results in literally minutes.

Having a break room with relaxing chairs, calming music and pictures/posters of island paradises, pristine mountain scenes, etc., can help to melt away stress.  Being able to discuss the difficult cases with colleagues in such places can eliminate feelings of helplessness that often undermine burnout.

2. Have Realistic Expectations

Many healthcare professionals are hard-wired with Type A personality traits.  Among those traits is the need to be perfect in everything one sets out to do.  You can imagine how such a need is self-destructive.

Healthcare professionals often go into this career field with the admirable desire to help people recover and save lives, but they will never be able to solve every issue and save every life.  You need to recognize that you can diligently diagnose, design treatment plans, consult with colleagues and treat your patients, but you will not always save them…no one can.  Moreover, a large part of “saving” patients depends on the patient being compliant with the treatment plan.  Sadly, that important ingredient is often missing.

Change your expectations to doing the best you can with the available technology and medicine, rather than feeling like a failure when patients do not recover.  Self-acceptance without judgment is an important trait for everyone to embrace.

3. Embrace SELF-Compassion

Self-acceptance involves self-compassion. Healthcare professionals are hard-wired with empathy and compassion for their patients, but all too often self-acceptance and self-compassion are missing.  Simply put, if your best friend was suffering from the stress in which you find yourself, what advice would you give to her/him?  I’m certain you would be empathic and make a myriad of healthy suggestions, but, do you ever follow the same stress-reducing prescriptions for yourself?

Treat yourself like you would advise your best friend or close relative.  Understand that it’s natural to be stressed under these circumstances.  Give yourself a break!

Another powerful suggestion is to recover your balance through the balance of others.  During the devastating bombing of Britain in WWII, the population was able to maintain their balance by identifying with the calm, not-to-worry demeanor of their leader, Winston Churchill.

Make sure there is at least one person in your life who faces and reacts to stressors very calmly.  Reach out to that person to discuss the stressors you face, and resonate with her/his calmness.  This is the essence of giving yourself permission to have self-compassion.  Our bodies have evolved to mobilize to stressors, which can be exhausting.  Absorbing the calmness of others enduring the same stressors can serve to de-activate your stress.

These are the important keys to resilience that I will share with the catastrophic event teams attending the Paradigm Outcomes Summit in October. They are some of the key ways that healthcare professionals – and indeed anyone in a stressful career – can use to prevent burnout.

2016 APA Work and Well-Being Survey Shows that We Still Have a Long Way to Go in Job Stress and Workplace Wellness
Jun 23

2016 APA Work and Well-Being Survey: Still a Long Way to Go in Workplace Wellness

By Dr. Jack Singer | Blog , Stress , Workplace Wellness

Every year the American Psychological Association conducts a survey to study stress, workplace wellness, and other critical factors among America’s workers. The 2016 survey was conducted in March and findings were released in June, so it’s time once again to examine the results of the APA Work and Well-Being Survey. The results show key areas where employers can improve their respective workplaces.

My overall thoughts on the 2016 APA Work and Well-Being Survey? The results are both surprising and disappointing.

Main Findings of the APA Work and Well-Being Survey

Overall, the findings show that after all of these years of consistent research findings by professional industrial/organizational psychologists, many companies are still failing in several critical areas.

Some of the most disappointing findings I read:

  • Only about half of those surveyed feel valued by their employer.
  • About half of workers still do not believe that their employer provides opportunities to participate in decision-making, solving problems, or setting goals.
  • The main sources of worker job stress are low salaries and insufficient opportunities for development and advancement

Feeling valued and having the opportunity to challenge yourself, reach goals, and grow as a worker are basic needs that every company must address. These crucial elements help employers nurture their most valued assets—their employees.

Workplace Wellness Findings

In addition to job stress, the APA Work and Well-Being Survey also examined workplace wellness, a topic that I have covered in recent blog posts.

Despite the research and anecdotal documentation of the wonderful benefits of workplace wellness programs, the survey found that only one-third of American workers regularly participates in such health-promoting programs, when provided by their employers.

Secondly, despite the plethora of research proving that workplace wellness programs promote health (for example, by proactively teaching employees how to manage stress), more than half of those surveyed believe that their work climate does not support employee wellness and a third still complain of chronic stress in their jobs!

There is evidence that more than half of the companies in the U.S. still do not see the benefits of promoting worker and job site wellness initiatives.

Much more education regarding the health and bottom line benefits for employees and their companies, respectively, must be provided for HR professionals.

What Key Element Differentiates Companies that Embrace Wellness Initiatives from Those that Do Not?

From the survey results, it seems that the key determinant of whether a company embraces workplace health and wellness programs is whether senior leadership supports and encourages wellness.  A whopping seventy-three percent of employees who have senior managers who show support and commitment to well-being initiatives said their companies encouraged and nurtured healthy workplace and healthy lifestyle plans.

There are also other significant, positive outcomes for employees with senior leadership that supports and encourages wellness. These employees:

  • Feel motivated to do their best.
  • Have higher job satisfaction.
  • Have positive relationships with their supervisors and co-workers.

Eighty-nine percent of these employees also recommended their company as a “good place to work” and were less likely to leave their job the next year.

Using the Findings to Create Better Workplaces

Results of the APA Work and Well-Being Survey demonstrate that the presence of senior leadership that embraces wellness programs is linked to many far-ranging outcomes. As David W. Ballard, director of APA’s Center for Organizational Excellence, concludes, “When supervisors’ actions match their words, employees notice.” 

The take-home message from the APA Work and Well-Being Survey is that employers must focus training on their senior leaders and be sure they understand the critical need for workplace health and well-being initiatives.  Ballard puts it succinctly: “Employers who truly embrace well-being as part of how they do business create a workplace where both employees and the organization thrive.”

The Important Link Between Optimism and Sales Success
May 26

The Important Link Between Optimism and Sales Success

By Dr. Jack Singer | Blog , Confidence , Sales Professionals , Self Improvement

How do you explain unfortunate events to yourself, such as not getting the sale? Is the tone of your self-talk optimistic or pessimistic? As it turns out, the way you explain negative life events matters because there is a link between optimism and sales success. Based on over 1000 studies, we know that optimism has the power to boost your sales.

Research on the link between optimism and sales began with an investigation of a major life insurance carrier, and since then it has been replicated in more than 1000 studies over 40 years, across many industries and sales organizations. The findings of these studies proves definitively that maintaining an optimistic explanatory style brings dramatic success.

Optimistic VS Pessimistic Explanatory Styles

Explaining Failures

It boils down to how you explain unfortunate events to yourself.  For example, if a sales professional has a disappointing sales call, how does he/she react and explain that disappointment to himself/herself?  People with an OPTIMISTIC explanatory style rationalize the “failure.” They see it as a fluke, a temporary setback and not representative of who they are in general.

A person with a PESSIMISTIC explanatory style, on the other hand, will view unfortunate events as directly related to their inadequacy. They see it as a permanent issue and representative of other “failures” in their lives.  They often view the situation as an insurmountable obstacle and conclude that they may need to consider a change in career.  Sales professionals who quit or are fired are most often pessimistic in their explanatory style.

Explaining Successes

When good outcomes occur, such as closing a sale, OPTIMISTS believe it was exactly because of their skill. These successes will repeat themselves and they view the success as proof that they have the talent to continue to be successful.  Optimists have what social scientists refer to as an “Internal Locus of Control.”  They perceive that outcomes are in their control.

When good outcomes occur to PESSIMISTS, they are more likely view them as “lucky.” The success was temporary and not indicative of their skill and effort.  Pessimists embrace an “External Locus of Control,” where they believe that circumstances beyond their control impact them constantly.

This ground-breaking research by Dr. Martin Seligman led to a questionnaire which can easily determine whether someone tends to maintain an optimistic or pessimistic explanatory style. Knowing the link between optimism and sales, companies often use this instrument to select the optimistic applicants.

Want to learn more? Check out Dr. Seligman’s book, Learned Optimism: How to Change Your Mind and Your Life. You can also take this Learned Optimism quiz from Stanford, which is adapted from the book.

Research on Optimism and Sales

Here is a sample of the many research findings that show a clear link between optimism and sales:

Insurance

Optimistic sales agents outsell pessimists by 38 percent, and extremely optimistic sales agents outsell pessimists by 88 percent.

Real Estate

Optimistic sales agents outsell pessimists by 33 percent, and extremely optimistic sales agents outsell pessimists by a whopping 319 percent.

Banking

Top sales people are 25 percent more optimistic than below-average sales people.

Automotive

Optimistic sales people outsell pessimists by 20 percent, and optimistic sales managers outsell pessimists by 27 percent.

Telecommunications

Optimistic sales people outsell pessimists by 29 percent, and extremely optimistic sales agents outsell pessimists by 39 percent.

Customer Service

Top customer service staff are 50 percent more optimistic than below-average staff.

In addition, optimism is good for more than just posting excellent sales numbers. Research also shows that optimistic people live longer and have stronger immune systems.

The link between optimism and sales may have you wondering – are you doomed if you are hard-wired with “Pessimistic Genes?”  Absolutely not!  Developing optimism can be easily learned, so there is hope for all professionals. Every individual can start today by practicing a more optimistic style of self-talk. Also, if you think your sales team could benefit from a lesson, I am available to help – just email me at DrJack@FunSpeaker.com or give me a call at 800-497-9880.

How Stress Impacts Physical Health - Fight or Flight in the 21st Century
Apr 21

How Stress Impacts Physical Health: Fight or Flight in the 21st Century

By Dr. Jack Singer | Blog , Stress , Stress Management

In my last blog post over at Advising the Advisors, I talked about how stress forms. Although most people view stress as the result of specific negative events in their lives, stress is actually not formed by these events but rather how you interpret them. A negative event can trigger a series of negative thought patterns, and when you get caught in these tangents you, yourself, create your own stress.

Fortunately, we are capable of changing our thought patterns. With every event we encounter we make choices about how we interpret the event (whether we realize it or not). By becoming mentally aware of how we interpret events, we can reduce and even eliminate stress in our lives. Saying goodbye to stress means living a happier, more productive and fulfilling life.

However, a focus on mental health does more than just reduce stress. Actually, this reduction in stress will improve your physical health as well. Let me explain how stress impacts physical health by first taking a look at fight or flight in the 21st century.

Fight or Flight in the 21st Century

Think back to the last biology class you took and you might remember an idea called the fight or flight response. This is a biological system that originated back in early human history when physical threats were abundant. A sudden noise, for example, would trigger the fight or flight alarm system to go off in your brain. This stress response would make us more vigilant so we could protect our own lives. If a hungry tiger was lurking around the corner, we were primed to process that information quickly and make the right choice (fight or flight) so we wouldn’t end up as dinner.

Our fight or flight response still works in the 21st century, but the things we respond to are a lot different than when the system was first developed. Many of us live in safe environments, so we don’t have to worry about being devoured by a predator. However, events in our lives can still trigger the fight or flight alarm system. Our subconscious mind doesn’t know if this is a life-threatening event or not, but it is not going to take any chances. If we interpret the event as a threat, we create stress and flip the switch that turns on the fight or flight nervous system.

How Stress Impacts Physical Health

The fight or flight response has not changed much from our early days. Our body physically tenses up as we prepare to flee or to battle. We become hyper-vigilant and on edge.  And our other systems shut down or become minimized so we can expend our energy in fight or flight mode.

All of these things impact our physical health:

  • Anxiety and tension can raise blood pressure and make you susceptible to heart disease and other illnesses.
  • Our hyper-vigilant state means it is hard to sleep and can bring about insomnia.
  • Our immune system is minimized during the fight or flight response, making us more receptive to illness with a decreased ability to fight that illness off.

This demonstrates how stress can have a physical impact on our bodies, and how reducing stress can improve our physical health. In fact, the American Medical Association has admitted that ‘gatekeepers’ in the medical community (such as family practice doctors and internists) say that 2 out of 3 of their clients don’t have a physical disease. They do have real symptoms, but these symptoms are caused by some kind of stress. They run busy practices so the most efficient procedure is to treat the symptoms. However, what we really need to do is deal with the original cause of these symptoms – stress and our ability to manage it.

Knowing how stress impacts physical health, every individual who wants to live a happier and healthier life should focus on their mental well-being. Not only is it possible to reduce your stress by changing how you interpret events, but in doing so you can also improve your physical health.

Psychologically Healthy Workplace
Apr 07

The Power of a Psychologically Healthy Workplace

By Dr. Jack Singer | Blog , Featured , Work-Life Balance , Workplace Wellness

For many years now, the American Psychological Association’s (APA) Center for Organizational Excellence has recognized companies across the U.S. that embody the principals of a “Psychologically Healthy Workplace.” For years, I’ve been involved in cutting-edge research on the specific ingredients that make up such workplaces.  All organizations should strive to embrace these characteristics, not simply because they are psychologically healthy for the employees, but because with healthy employees, absenteeism is less, morale is higher, and the quality of products is consistently higher.

Characteristics of a Psychologically Healthy Workplace

Employee Involvement

When employees participate in decision-making, including encouraging and considering their suggestions, they embrace those decisions and it foster’s creativity.

Work-life Balance

Helping employees to handle the challenges outside of work, such as the responsibilities of single parenting, takes much pressure off of them. Flexible working hours, for example, is one ingredient of the work-life balance equation for employees.

Personal and Professional Growth and Development

What does the company offer employees to increase their competencies? Cross-training opportunities for employees to rise within the company also keeps employees from looking elsewhere.

Employee Recognition

Getting a raise is a form of recognition, but there are many other types of recognition, from company-wide awards ceremonies to fancy trips for top producers. The bottom line is that everyone loves recognition for his or her efforts and loyalty.

Health and Safety

Providing health and wellness workshops directed at educating employees about healthy lifestyles and preventing potential health problems is a must, not simply for the employees and their families, but for the overall health of the organization. For example, when companies bring me in to provide wellness workshops, my goal is to teach employees how to develop permanent resiliency skills, so that they never get overwhelmed by the stressors inherent in their jobs.

Examples of Comments from Employees About Why They Love Their Jobs

The APA surveys employees to determine what aspects of their jobs they love and they post them in their Highlights from the Good Company Blog. Here are some examples:

“Management listens to our concerns. There are regular Q&A’s where we can submit anonymous, public questions.”

 

“I love my job because I get to work from home every day, with flexible hours.”

 

“My co-workers are fun to work with.”

Having fun in the workplace is a major motivator, yet is missing in most work settings. Think strategically how you can improve this within your company and you’ll see a significant improvement in employees morale and overall dedication.


Ready to start reducing stress in your life so you can Develop the Mindset of a Champion? Download my FREE 5 Step Mental Toughness Guide HERE!

Apr 29

Coach Your Sales Team Like a Pro Sports Coach – Part 3

By Dr. Jack Singer | Blog , Financial Advisors , Sales Professionals

GAME PLAN FOR SALES SUCCESS: Coach Your Sales Team Like a Pro Sports Coach

Today is “Wednesday Workshop!”

By Dr. Jack Singer
Licensed Sport Psychologist
Professional Sales Team Speaker/Trainer

This is part 3 of a 5 part series.

sales, sales success, insurance sales, sales coaching, role playing, game plan

In my first two articles about a week long Game Plan for Sales Success, I discussed kicking the week off with “Magic Monday,” involving strategies to develop group cohesion among your sales team. The second training day, which I referred to as “Triumphant Tales Tuesday,” has the goal of successful team members sharing the elements of their successes with their colleagues, in the form of case studies.  This day includes role playing exercises, so that team members can practice the skills that have already been shown by their peers to be successful.

Now, we are at mid week, where I suggest a workshop format, Workshop Wednesday.

Recall that this training week mirrors that of a sports team. Wednesday is typically the day for the team’s game plan for their next opponent is introduced. In this case, sales managers can introduce specifics about a new sales push, new products, services, sales strategies etc. Workshop Wednesday is more of a didactic format, so that attendees can be exposed to power-point, video programs, handouts, etc., teaching them all they need to know about these products and services.

As on Tuesday, role playing exercises can be very helpful in practicing these new strategies.

Because many sales professionals internally resist change, the introduction of new or different products, services or sales strategies may raise this resistance.  Consequently, this is a wonderful opportunity to discuss methods of overcoming resistance to change.  In such a discussion, I include such topics as “Overcoming Imposter Fear,” “Taking Charge of Your Internal Critic,” and “Taking Charge of Your Attitudes and Emotions.”  All of these topics (addressed in other articles I have written) address the issue of resistance to change.

Like all training days, I recommend ending with a fun exercise.  There are many manuals offering team building closing exercises and some are directed specifically for sales professionals.  An example is “Superspy.” In this sales training game, attendees pair up in teams to discover the most critical information they need about a fictitious company that is a prospective buyer of your product or service. The team with the most creative ideas for uncovering critical information about the prospective buyer wins a fun prize.  All of these exercises serve multiple purposes:  having fun together, developing a competitive spirit between small teams, and brainstorming to develop creative ideas to sell your products.

Stay tuned for the next installment:  (Mental) Toughness Thursday.

Free 20 Minute Telephone Consultation with Psychologist Dr. Jack Singer

About the Author:

Dr. Jack Singer is a professional speaker, trainer and psychologist. He has been speaking for and training Fortune 1000 companies, associations, CEO’s and elite athletes for 34 years. Among the association conventions which Dr. Jack has keynoted are those which serve financial planners.

Dr. Jack is a frequent guest on CNN, MSNBC, FOX SPORTS and countless radio talk shows across the U.S. and Canada. He is the author of “The Teacher’s Ultimate Stress Mastery Guide,” and several series of hypnotic audio programs, some specifically for athletes and some for anyone wanting to raise their self-confidence and esteem. To learn more about Dr. Singer’s speaking and consulting services, please visit DrJackSinger.com and FunSpeaker.com or call him in the U.S. at (800) 497-9880.

Apr 12

Coach Your Sales Team Like a Pro Sports Coach – Part 2

By Dr. Jack Singer | Blog , Financial Advisors , Sales Professionals

GAME PLAN FOR SALES SUCCESS: Coach Your Sales Team Like a Pro Sports Coach

By Dr. Jack Singer
Licensed Sport Psychologist
Professional Sales Team Speaker/Trainer

This is part 2 of a 5 part series.

Today is Triumphant Tales Tuesday!

Coach Your Sales Team Like a Pro Sports Coach

In my first article about a week long Game Plan for Sales Success, I discussed kicking the week off with Magic Monday, involving strategies to develop group cohesion among your sales team. Using a nautical analogy, no matter how many different “boats” your individual team members arrived on when they joined your sales organization, they are now all on the same “ship,” with each crew member working toward the goal of bringing the ship into port successfully.

Now, it’s Tuesday and time for team members to share success stories with their colleagues. Modeling success strategies from colleagues helps all team members achieve their individual goals, with the combined team goals obviously being accomplished as well.  Again, as in sports, focusing on team goals, rather than individual ones, creates cohesion and the desire for colleagues to help each other.

Triumphant Tales Tuesday actually serves three purposes:

  • First, colleagues share case examples of sales successes they have accomplished, a form of “best practices” sharing.  The more detail included in the stories, the better, with all of the elements that ultimately led to the sale, including listening to and assessing the prospective client’s needs, asking the right questions and closing techniques.
  • Secondly, sharing case examples of success stories that the sales professionals shared with some prospective clients, in order to convince them to purchase products or services, is a valuable sales tool, from which to learn.  For example, an insurance sales professional can share a story that she told a prospective client about how happy another client was that he purchased that insurance product, because shortly afterward, there was an accident or family tragedy, which was fully covered by the product they had purchased.  Showing prospective clients how current ones are thrilled with the product or service they purchased from you is a powerful selling tool.  It is like a testimonial, but telling it in story form is much more impactful than simply quoting a comment from a satisfied customer.  Of course, if the current client is willing to be contacted by your prospective client, that is even more powerful. Your current client will be helping to close the deal for you!
  • Third, these tales of success can easily lead to role playing scenarios, where team members can practice story-telling skills with each other, as if they were telling them to prospective clients.

Role playing, with the task simulating as closely as possible an actual sales scenario, is a powerful learning technique.  Football teams, for example, in preparing for bowl games, will simulate crowd noise and other distractions during their practice and they practice in the same facility in which the big game will be held. Simulating what they will face during the game conditions the players’ mental and physical “muscle memories” so that the actual game will be much less stressful and they will be focused on the goal of winning.

So, too, in sales training, the closer the training simulates the exact situation in which the sales professional finds himself, the less mental and emotional distractions will hamper the ultimate sales approach.

There are many forms of role-playing used in training.  Like all training, I make it fun by having colleagues cheering for each other, giving out prizes for the best “acting,” and concluding the day with another fun activity.

Stay tuned for my discussion of the third day of the Game Plan for Sales Success, Workshop Wednesday.

Listen to Dr. Jack and Jon Hansen discuss this topic on BlogTalkRadio.

Listen to internet radio with Jon Hansen on BlogTalkRadio

Free 20 Minute Telephone Consultation with Psychologist Dr. Jack Singer

About the Author:

Dr. Jack Singer is a professional speaker, trainer and psychologist. He has been speaking for and training Fortune 1000 companies, associations, CEO’s and elite athletes for 34 years. Among the association conventions which Dr. Jack has keynoted are those which serve financial planners.

Dr. Jack is a frequent guest on CNN, MSNBC, FOX SPORTS and countless radio talk shows across the U.S. and Canada. He is the author of “The Teacher’s Ultimate Stress Mastery Guide,” and several series of hypnotic audio programs, some specifically for athletes and some for anyone wanting to raise their self-confidence and esteem. To learn more about Dr. Singer’s speaking and consulting services, please visit DrJackSinger.com and FunSpeaker.com or call him in the U.S. at (800) 497-9880.

Apr 08

Coach Your Sales Team Like a Pro Sports Coach – Part 1

By Dr. Jack Singer | Blog , Financial Advisors

GAME PLAN FOR SALES SUCCESS: Coach Your Sales Team Like a Pro Sports Coach

By Dr. Jack Singer
Licensed Sport Psychologist
Professional Sales Team Speaker/Trainer

This is part 1 of a 5 part series.

Game plan for sales success by Dr. Jack Singer

Successful college and professional coaches have certainly perfected a game plan for practicing and finely tuning their team members’ skills, so that when game day comes, they are prepared to perform at a consistently high rate, regardless of unforeseen obstacles and challenges.

The exact same skills can be taught to sales teams, in order to maximize their ability to perform when it counts the most, rebound quickly from setbacks, and stay focused on maintaining their edge.  This series of articles delineates five days of training, with each day representing a different theme, leading up to Friday’s final day of sales training. 

Magic Monday

Many sales managers put their team members into competition with each other, with fancy charts and graphs, showing who is winning for the month, etc.  But, rather than putting team members into individual competition with each other, it is critical to form a foundation of team cohesion, with incentives for accomplishing team goals, so members push each other to achieve.

When I consult with sales teams, I always begin the training by developing cohesiveness with fun (yet powerful) team-building exercises. First, we engage in a warm-up exercise. This may involve attendees pairing up and each interviewing their partner to learn about a success “secret” that no one else in the room knows about. For example, someone may have been a science fair winner, a spelling champ, or a varsity athlete or cheerleader.  The interviewers then share these “secrets” in front of the group so that something special is learned about each member of the group.

Another powerful exercise is “brag bags.” This is a wonderful exercise, for smaller teams, where everyone on the team knows all the other members. Each member has her/his name written on a paper bag, and all the bags are taped to the wall.  The task is for each team member to anonymously slip a separate piece of paper all the other bags, listing something positive about every other team member. Team members then seal the bags, which are not to be opened until the days’ activities are concluded and the team members leave the office or workshop site.  Imagine the boost you would feel when you get into your car and start opening your bag. You will get positive feedback from each of your colleagues about things they recognize, but probably never related to you.

Once everyone is warmed up they are ready for a fun, yet empowering teambuilding exercise, where attendees are divided into teams and given a task to complete.  The first team to complete the task wins prizes, such as gift certificates, movie passes, etc.

There are a myriad of books on training games, team-building exercises, etc. The task may involve puzzle solving, a treasure hunt, or an outdoor challenge.  They must cooperate and work together to achieve success.

Notice that on Monday nothing related to sales has transpired.  But the foundation for the coming days of training has been established, with the entire sales team knowing much more about their colleagues than before and a cohesive team is forming.

Stay tuned for my discussion of the second day of the Game Plan, Triumphant Tales Tuesday.

Free 20 Minute Telephone Consultation with Psychologist Dr. Jack Singer

About the Author:

Dr. Jack Singer is a professional speaker, trainer and psychologist. He has been speaking for and training Fortune 1000 companies, associations, CEO’s and elite athletes for 34 years. Among the association conventions which Dr. Jack has keynoted are those which serve financial planners.

Dr. Jack is a frequent guest on CNN, MSNBC, FOX SPORTS and countless radio talk shows across the U.S. and Canada. He is the author of “The Teacher’s Ultimate Stress Mastery Guide,” and several series of hypnotic audio programs, some specifically for athletes and some for anyone wanting to raise their self-confidence and esteem. To learn more about Dr. Singer’s speaking and consulting services, please visit DrJackSinger.com and FunSpeaker.com or call him in the U.S. at (800) 497-9880.

Mar 27

Stress Mastery Rx #12

By Dr. Jack Singer | Blog , Stress Mastery Rx Series

by Jack Singer, Ph.D.
Consulting Psychologist and Professional Speaker & Trainer

[contentbox width=”500″ borderwidth=”1″ borderstyle=”dashed” bordercolor=”000000″ dropshadow=”0″ backgroundcolor=”F5F5F5″ radius=”0″]This is Stress Mastery Rx #12 in a series of 77 proven personal prescriptions from psychologist Dr. Jack Singer. If you have any questions, please feel free to call Dr. Jack at 1-800-497-9880 or email him on the contact page.[/contentbox]

“There is more to life than increasing its speed.”  ~ Mohandas K. Gandhi

Challenge Your Negative ThoughtsDo you find yourself rushing through life so much you forget to stop and smell the flowers? When we do that, we tend to stress more, enjoy less, and possibly put ourselves at risk for burnout.  Whenever you recognize that you are upset and thinking negatively, use the quick reference guide of questions to challenge that negative thinking that we discussed in Stress Mastery Rx #11 here.

Once we recognize the distortions in our beliefs and thoughts, we can dispute or challenge them which then greatly diminishes the consequences.

The A-B-C-D-E Model

Activating event (Stress) → Beliefs (thoughts) about the event → Consequent emotions and behaviors → Disputing thoughts → Energized, revitalized emotions.
[linebreak style=”23.png”]

The Teacher's Ultimate Stress Mastery Guide by Dr. Jack SingerMy book has checklists and action plans for stress mastery but you can make your own and keep track of what you are doing to better your physical health, and thereby reduce your stress levels.

All 77 tips are featured, along with easy-to-learn tools for practicing stress mastery, in Dr. Jack’s nationally acclaimed book, ‘The Teacher’s Ultimate Stress Mastery Guide.’ You don’t have to be a teacher to change your life with this book. Dr. Jack’s tips apply to everyone, in all professions!”

Order the book here, for the limited time discounted price of $31.95

Free 20 Minute Telephone Consultation with Psychologist Dr. Jack Singer

About the Author:

Dr. Jack Singer is a professional speaker, trainer and psychologist. He has been speaking for and training Fortune 1000 companies, associations, CEO’s and elite athletes for 34 years. Among the association conventions which Dr. Jack has keynoted are those which serve financial planners.

Dr. Jack is a frequent guest on CNN, MSNBC, FOX SPORTS and countless radio talk shows across the U.S. and Canada. He is the author of “The Teacher’s Ultimate Stress Mastery Guide,” and several series of hypnotic audio programs, some specifically for athletes and some for anyone wanting to raise their self-confidence and esteem. To learn more about Dr. Singer’s speaking and consulting services, please visit DrJackSinger.com and FunSpeaker.com or call him in the U.S. at (800) 497-9880.

Mar 25

Major Upsets Are Predictable in Sports

By Dr. Jack Singer | Blog , Elite Athletes

By Jack Singer, Ph.D.
Licensed and Certified Sport Psychologist

For the seventh time in NCAA tournament history — and the third time in the last two years — a 15-seed has defeated a 2-seed. Florida Gulf Coast University (FGCU) defeated Georgetown 78-68 in FGCU’s first-ever NCAA tournament game. And, they added to their resume by becoming the first 15th seed to get into the Sweet 16, by then beating a much higher seeded San Diego State team. You ask, “How could this happen?” How can a David beat a Goliath? ”

We see it every year in team as well as individual sports.  For example, wild card qualifiers in professional tennis (that is, someone who has won in minor tournaments, but does not have enough points to regularly enter major professional tennis tournaments) upset highly seeded, world-ranked players, who draw these seemingly easy players early in tournament play.

It’s all about the Fight/Flight/Freeze (FFF) Nervous System.

This nervous system has been passed down to all of us genetically since we lived in caves and frequently had to avoid being killed by a myriad of predators.  The system is hard-wired to switch on as soon as the subconscious mind perceives the presence of a potentially life threatening situation.

Once the system switches on, a whole host of physiological processes spring into action, each one playing a role in helping the person evade or fight off the predator. For example, arm and leg muscles quickly tighten, in order to be at full efficiency for fight or flight; the heart rate speeds up, in order to pump nutritious blood to the brain for efficiency; breathing rapidly increases, in order to rapidly bring oxygen throughout the respiratory system and quickly eliminate carbon dioxide; and adrenalin is pumped into the blood stream from the adrenal glands, in order to make the person alert and have short bursts of energy.  The key word here is “short.”  The FFF is programmed to function over a few minutes and then the body needs to rest and recover from all of these physiological changes.  If the system stays on for more than a few minutes, exhaustion is a likely consequence.

Self-Talk and the Mind-Body Connection.

Negative Self-TalkIt is a known axiom that an athlete’s performance at any given time equals her/his natural talent, minus distractions.  Distractions can be external, such as being distracted by the cheering for your opponent.  But the most common distraction all athletes face is their own internal dialogue–their self-talk. There is a broad body of research showing that thoughts translate instantly to every cell (and muscle) in the body.  Where positive thoughts “switch on” the nervous system that relaxes the body, negative thoughts “switch on” the FFF. The more the negative self-talk, the more the distractions, leading to poorer performance than the pure talent would predict.

With this in mind, think about what happens when an athlete says to himself: “I hope we don’t blow this,” or “If we lose to this team, we’ll be so embarrassed and will disappoint our conference and our fans.”  The underdog rarely has such thoughts.  He (or they) are not expected to win, so they can go out, have fun and do their best.  The pressure is all on the favorite not to choke or blow it against the underdog.  Negative thoughts are much more likely, then, to occur among the favored players.

Worry/Negative Self-talk Triggers the FFF System by Default.  Here’s the problem in a nutshell:  We humans have evolved to the point that the subconscious mind does not wait to determine if there is life threatening danger; instead, whenever a person worries or fills his/her head with negative self-talk, this triggers the FFF system. It’s as if the subconscious mind is not going to take any chances and at the first sign of worrying, it protectively triggers the FFF. Consequently, an athlete just thinking about how embarrassing it would be for the team, and how humiliating it would be for himself to lose to this huge underdog is enough to trigger the FFF System.

And…the natural consequence of switching the system on (e.g., arm and leg muscle tightening, rapid breathing, increased heart rate) leads to rapid fatigue after a few minutes.  So, imagine how this is compounded as the game moves on, the favored team or athlete is struggling, the negative thoughts magnify, the FFF stays switched on, and fatigue mounts.

This progression undermines self-confidence. and a lack of self-confidence leads to more negative self-talk, so the circle of unfortunate outcomes continues.

Preventing FFF Triggers. Teams and individual athletes all need to learn relaxation techniques to engage in prior to and especially during games. Staying relaxed, despite the circumstances, plus, keeping thoughts and expectations positive, prevents the onset of the FFF.

If negative thoughts creep in, then the athlete needs to slap his thigh, and tell himself to “Stop these thoughts immediately!” Then, he needs to replace those thoughts with positive thoughts, such as:

“I trust my skills, I will continue to play aggressively, regardless of the score. I (we) won several games before, after falling behind, so just relax, stay focused on success, and trust my skills.”

For a basketball player, here is the sequence of events that typically takes place:

  • Negative Self-Talk (e.g., fear related to losing) → Negative Emotions → Muscle Tightness → Uncomfortable Shooting Motion +Inconsistent Focus = Poorer, Inconsistent Performance 
  • Positive Self-Talk (e.g., expecting to succeed) → Positive Emotions → Relaxed Muscles → Easy, Flowing Shooting Motion + Consistent Focus  = Better, Consistent Performance

Upsets are inevitable in sports, but their frequency is certainly under the control of the favored athletes.  They must become aware of their self-talk, eliminate the negative thoughts and beliefs, change them to positive thoughts, and maintain positive expectations, quickly bouncing back from inevitable setbacks during the game.

Free 20 Minute Telephone Consultation with Psychologist Dr. Jack Singer

About the Author:

Dr. Jack Singer is a professional speaker, trainer and psychologist. He has been speaking for and training Fortune 1000 companies, associations, CEO’s and elite athletes for 34 years. Among the association conventions which Dr. Jack has keynoted are those which serve financial planners.

Dr. Jack is a frequent guest on CNN, MSNBC, FOX SPORTS and countless radio talk shows across the U.S. and Canada. He is the author of “The Teacher’s Ultimate Stress Mastery Guide,” and several series of hypnotic audio programs, some specifically for athletes and some for anyone wanting to raise their self-confidence and esteem.

In his speaking presentations, Dr Jack teaches sales and financial services professionals the exact same skills he teaches to elite and world champion athletes to Develop & Maintain the Mindset of a Champion!

To learn more about Dr. Singer’s speaking and consulting services, please visit DrJackSinger.com and FunSpeaker.com or call him in the U.S. at (800) 497-9880.

Mar 19

Giving All Professional Psychologists a Bad Name!

By Dr. Jack Singer | Blog

by Jack Singer, Ph.D.
Licensed Clinical Psychologist

Dr. Richard Samuels Giving All Professional Psychologists a Bad Name!

Dr. Richard Samuels Giving All Professional Psychologists a Bad Name!Much of the world is riveted on the Jodi Arias murder trial, where a “hired gun” psychologist just testified that she has symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), allegedly “caused” by her brutal murder of Travis Alexander, and this PTSD is allegedly responsible for selective amnesia regarding the specifics of the murder, itself.  Dr. Richard Samuels, a clinical and forensic psychologist, pointed to all sorts of “traumatic” events that could cause amnesia, including the trauma of murdering someone.  To extrapolate from his testimony then, any killer could claim amnesia regarding the murder they committed, because of the apparent PTSD.

As the defense unfolds in the Arias case, there are many absurdities, and one of the most egregious is Dr Samuels himself,  drawing such ridiculous conclusions, based on only 12 visits with Ms. Arias over four years, plus the results of administering only two, marginal psychological tests. This hardly fits the professional standard in forensic psychology of a complete psychological evaluation, especially with Ms. Arias’ history, which includes lying and changing her story numerous times with the authorities.

A complete and objective psychological evaluation of a defendant would include a whole battery of psychological tests, interviews with relatives and friends of the defendant, reading all documents written by the defendant, and watching video tapes of police interviews, etc. by the defendant. Then, when all the data is put together, an objective, reliable series of conclusions can be drawn.

When the evaluation takes place over such a long time as four years, repeating the  psychological tests is mandatory in order to determine the test-retest reliability of the results.

Dr. Samuels’ evaluation falls dramatically short of the standard.  First, he only visited with her over 12 sessions in four years (during which her story changed multiple times).  Second, he only administered two psychological tests and these were administered while she was still lying about her involvement, thus invalidating any conclusions he could draw from those results. Under cross-examination, Dr. Samuels admitted that he should have repeated the tests once he realized she was lying during the same time frame in which he was gathering the data.

The most frequently administered psychological examination in criminal cases is the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI), which not only would have determined whether Ms. Arias had a mental or emotional issue (including PTSD or a personality disorder, for example), but the MMPI also includes three lie scales, which would definitely tell if she was lying, confabulating or fabricating her responses.

A complete battery would also include projective tests, which cannot be faked and which would help uncover the true dynamics of Ms. Arias’ character or emotional issues.  None of these tests were administered.

Another disturbing issue is Dr. Samuels’ admission that he ordered a self-help book for Ms. Arias while he was in the middle of the evaluation process.  He claimed he did that because she was talking about suicide and he wanted to help her.  The rules for psychological evaluators clearly differentiate evaluations from conducting any sort of therapy.  Combining the two or blurring the lines represents a major conflict of interest and shows a disregard for the boundaries involved in clinical evaluations. This error is similar to a violation that Dr. Samuels was already fined for by the New Jersey Board of Psychological Examiners, in a case in 2000. What he should have done when he sensed that she was suicidal is told the authorities and insisted that she get a treating psychologist or psychiatrist, thus removing himself completely from that role.

Clearly, Dr. Samuels could not remain completely objective during his evaluation, if he was concerned enough with her mental health to give her a gift of a self-help book. He claims he was not doing therapy; but, in Clinical Psychology, providing reading material to help a client is definitely a form of therapy and is referred to as “Bibliotherapy.”

Because of the inappropriateness of his testing, thus invalidating his conclusions, plus the blurring of his objectivity by crossing the line between evaluating and treating, all of his testimony should be disallowed.

Dr. Samuels certainly smells like a typical “hired gun,” who used unacceptable methodology and data to draw inappropriate conclusions, which were rendered to fit the defense’s theories and claims.

It is certainly a shame that in such a high profile case that the honorable professions of clinical and forensic psychology are represented in such a sad fashion.

Psychologically Speaking w/Dr. Jack: Jodi Aria Doctor Sells Out

Click here to listen to interview.

Free 20 Minute Telephone Consultation with Psychologist Dr. Jack Singer

About the Author:

Dr. Jack Singer is a professional speaker, trainer and psychologist. He has been speaking for and training Fortune 1000 companies, associations, CEO’s and elite athletes for 34 years. Among the association conventions which Dr. Jack has keynoted are those which serve financial planners.

Dr. Jack is a frequent guest on CNN, MSNBC, FOX SPORTS and countless radio talk shows across the U.S. and Canada. He is the author of “The Teacher’s Ultimate Stress Mastery Guide,” and several series of hypnotic audio programs, some specifically for athletes and some for anyone wanting to raise their self-confidence and esteem.

In his speaking presentations, Dr Jack teaches sales and financial services professionals the exact same skills he teaches to elite and world champion athletes to Develop & Maintain the Mindset of a Champion!

To learn more about Dr. Singer’s speaking and consulting services, please visit DrJackSinger.com and FunSpeaker.com or call him in the U.S. at (800) 497-9880.

1 2 3 6