Thursday, October 24, 2013

It's a school project

It's a school project...  that I finished very quickly ...because I was busy.  :)

Sunday, October 6, 2013

How Tara Became Tara (Introduction)

Tara grew up moving all over the United States, but she calls California home since it is the place she still feels connected to on account of her family who still lives there.

After graduating high school Tara was employed at Green Ridge Services, a wind turbine energy plant.  She also started attending courses at a local community college until her first daughter was born.  When Tara went back to work she talked/begged her way into a Field Biologist job even though she had not finished the schooling.  She spent ten years catching injured hawks and eagles and she grew to love being outside.

Following her husband's job, Tara and her family moved to Aarhus, Denmark.  Her fourth child was born there and instead of coming home after the two years they moved to Hamburg, Germany.  Traveling all over Europe with four children proved to be a very exciting and interesting time, but Tara is happy to be back in the United States and is enjoying the New England lifestyle.

Currently she also works at a local nature center leading field trips with local elementary schools.   She loves animals and has cats, guinea pigs, and chickens.  Her life is a bit chaotic, but she seems to have a good handle on it and seems to be enjoying every minute of it.

Family Beams with Pride (Psychoanalytic)

by "Alfred Adler"   

Thankfully, Tara had wonderful parents who provided her with a loving and supportive environment to grow up in.  She can't even think of a time when she heard her parents fighting.  This has led her to become the agreeable person she is today.  She proved to be a somewhat difficult child, perhaps due to the fact she is a first born (Burger, 2011), but overall she seems to have succeeded in life.

Tara is continually striving for superiority, which is a strength and weakness in itself.   Everything she does is seems as if it's been done in an effort to make her feel like she has won.  This is an asset when trying to run a family of six.  It ensures Tara gets everything done and very rarely does something fall through the cracks or get forgotten.  Feeling as if it's a "game" of some sort, enables Tara to have continual feelings of "winning" and makes it enjoyable for her.  As Tara says, "Winning might not be everything, but it sure is more fun!":

However, this competitive need for superiority can also be a weakness since it sometimes leads to unnecessary stress.  If things are piling up Tara can become very stressed until they are finished or become less overwhelming.  Since she has four kids she feels a huge amount of success at the end of the day when each kid has sucessfully been "taken care of": taken to and picked up from all activities, fed and bathed, read to and sung to, homework finished, school activities done.  When things get out of control and she gets behind, she will write a list and start fresh the next day... overcoming any remaining obstacles.

As I've said of my past studies, "I began to see clearly in every psychological phenomenon the striving for superiority."  (Burger, 98)  Tara displays this her striving for superiority stems from the fact that there was a time in her life when she could not care for herself or her children.  She needed help from her parents and help from her friends.  I believe it's this that spurs her on with a stream of determination.

As I noticed last week, Tara was feeling very overwhelemed with an upcoming huge house renovation project involving an 800 pound steel beam in her home.  This beam also arrivedwith eight family members and happened over the Canadian Thanksgiving holiday.  This meant she would have to make a big dinner for well over 20+ people all while her entire house was being gutted and a steel beam was being installed.

She got overwhelmed and went to bed.  The next day she woke up, made a list and started checking things off.  As each thing was checked off she "won".  Her own mother would have been so proud, because she would have reacted the same way and pulled off the holiday dinner without any problems.  In the end the steel beam was installed and the family had a wonderful holiday!

Party of Dreams (Psychsocial)

by "Sigmund Freud"

A while back I published "The Interpretation of Dreams".  Dreams are the way our id can communicate with us.  For this reason I chose to analyze one of Tara's recent dreams.  Her dreams, like everyone elses', are a way for her unconscious thoughts to surface.  However, dreams often occur in a symbolic fashion rather than being straight forward and obvious.  (Burger 53)

Tara had a recent dream in which she had a big party to celebrate the pond near her house.  It was described to me like a "birthday party for the pond".  During her dream she said she was preparing the food and it was becoming overwhelming with the amount of things she had to carry back and forth to the pond.  She told me that when she woke up in the morning she felt exhausted, as if she had really been up all night preparing food and cleaning the house for a party near the pond.  Perhaps this is in regards to the large event she recently had to prepare for, but it was not a party to celebrate the pond.  This could indicate her id was trying to give messages, but her conscious thoughts were too focused on her upcoming event to allow the id to get any thoughts in....  all the id could "say" was pond.

Giving the id a chance to surface is a healthy thing.  In a healthy individual the id, ego and superego all work together.  (Burger 46)  It is a weakness if one takes too much control.  As with Tara, the needs of her awake days are perhaps too strong and intruding on her dreams which were meant to be a time for the subconscious thoughts to be heard.  If this went on for a prolonged time it could cause unnecessary stress.

On a smaller level, it is a good strength that Tara has such focus to a task she is responsible for, but it still needs to be put into perspective.

Moving Well Overall (Feminine)

by "Karen Horney"

After speaking with Tara she seemed like a confident individual who was seemingly coping with life successfully.  However, I would have to argue that she does indeed have some potentially neurotic needs when it comes to her need for perfection.  Just last week she spent a solid five hours over the course of three days painting a single side of a closet door.  She had to make every brush stroke perfect.  This is a need that she needs to withdraw from ...especially since she has an entire house with closets to paint.

At least Tara's self-realization of herself is fairly accurate.  She seems to have an accurate conception of who she seems to be and she seems to understand that there is no such thing as being perfect.  So while she may feel the need to paint her closet perfect, this is a weakness in that she has wasted her time, but on a positive note Tara realizes this perfectness is not something that a person can achieve.  Wanting to be perfect is not a productive goal; it's an impossible one and therefore will only result in disappointment.

I do in fact spend most of my time researching and analyzing those with various neurosis so I found Tara to be a bit dull.  She doesn't tend to fall into one of my specific categories of moving toward people, moving against people or moving away from people.  (Burger 120)  She seems to be moving quite well overall.

Keep Going Tara (Cognitive)

by "Albert Bandura"

Our minds are continually procession information when we make decisions.  It's not something that we even think about.  Our minds also produce our behavior based on our own self-regulation.  I have found that Tara continually rewards herself for completing tasks and this is a result of her self-regulation.  (Burger 345)

Tara has made an important change in her self-efficacy this past year by enrolling at Rivier University.  Her efficacy expectation was always too low and as a result she didn't believe she could manage the additional responsibilities.  However, Tara has since developed an outcome expectation that said she could do it and as a result one year ago she signed up for her first course on her way to a degree in Elementary Education.

Tara received her efficacy expectations from vicarious experiences.  She saw many other adults going back to school and decided they were not any better qualified to succeed than she was.  (Burger 355)   This positive self-efficacy is a definite advantage for Tara.  It has caused her to further her education, but it could also cause some problems if it doesn't work out.  I can start to see her doubting the vicarious experiences that had once originally given her the confidence.  I feel that she is doubting herself every time a difficult and time consuming class comes along and that her success will be compromised if she does not re-focus.

The Conditioned Tara (Behavioral)

by "John Batson"

I've always said that personality is the end product of our habit systems.  This means we are conditioned through various inputs to respond in more or less predictable ways.

I published an article called, "Psychology as the Behaviorist Views It."  (Burger, 2011). I've always believed that science cannot study mental states since they are intangible and can't be measured.  How can it be science unless one can measure the overt behaviors.  This is where conditioning is helpful because it helps us SEE how a person thinks.

Over the course of Tara's life she has been programmed to respond a certain way.  This is a strength when the programming is productive, but a weakness when a less desirable response has been programmed.  An example that could go either good or bad could be Tara's volunteering help.

While watching her son's soccer coach struggle with 15 young boys she offered her help and now she has an added stress of running soccer practices and games.  Tara has been programmed to offer to help if she is physically able to.  She may emotionally not be able to handle another commitment, but her instinct to help often takes over and offers her help.  This is actually a somewhat productive response, but offering her time to too many other people often leaves her overwhelmed when it comes to dealing with her common family activities.  This is a response that I can see in Tara's oldest daughter as well.  It is good Tara is trying to explain to her daughter that there is too much of a good thing.

This conditioned response that Tara has is an asset for the groups and people she associates with, but it also makes her feel happy to help others.  However it can be a weakness if it ends up causing more problems in her own life.

Blame it on Biology (Biological)

by "Hans Eysenck"

I've been referred to as a "conversationalist in the intellectual world", but as I've said before, "I prefer to think that on these issues the majority were wrong and I was right" (Burger 223).  Biology does in fact play a huge role in an individual's personality and Tara is a prime example of that.

It was no surprise to me that Tara, being a near photocopy of her mother would have also inherited her personality from her parents as well.  Unlike her physical looks, Tara seems to inherited the exact personality of her father.

Even as an adult, Tara has the same personality as her father.  This is interesting because Tara has lived apart from her parents for nearly 20 years.  She has even lived among different countries and cultures for the past five years.  Despite the different and ever changing environmental factors, Tara's basic personality remains the same.

Just last week Tara got into an argument with her daughter in which both her and her daughter lost their tempers.  After the argument ended Tara described it to me as was a scene that seemed very similar to her own childhood and to the arguments she had with her own father.  This makes sense.  Biology gave all three of them a hot-temper.

As in this example, this is a disadvantage, obviously because Tara has inherited some less desirable aspects to her personality.  However, on the plus side she has had a chance to see these negative aspects in others so she knows what it is like to deal with them as an outsider.  If she uses this knowledge she can make the effort needed to control them within herself.

Tara's Traits (Trait)

by "Henry Murray"  

My approach has always included a mixture of both psychoanalytic and trait concepts.  I consider myself a trait theorist, but I do feel that some aspects of the psychoanalytic approach that can be taken and used productively so I focus my work on psychogenic needs.  These needs describe the way an individual tends to respond to certain situations. (Burger 154)

Out of the twenty-seven needs I have identified I have determined that Tara has the highest needs need for Achievement and Nurturance.  

On an average day these traits are a strength for for Tara because they assist her with her "motherly" responsibilities.  Tara's high drive to nurture has a direct affect on her children as she cares for them.  She feels very comfortable with her role and doesn't feel burdened with it.

On the other hand her she may have too high of a need for achievement, an need that she is perhaps forcing into her children's lives.  I can tell she sometimes exerts her feelings of achievement onto her children a little too much.  At her children's sports games she becomes very competitive and can actually become upset or sad when one of her children does not preform well.  Her kids feel a great deal of pressure because of this. Making these sports too serious often takes away the enjoyment she should be receiving by simply watching her children participate.

The need for achievement is one of the more widely studied needs (Burger 155) and I hope that my future colleagues can continue it's research.

Make it Your Wonderful Life (Humanistic)

by "Abraham Maslow" 

Tara is steadily making her way through the Hierarchy of Needs.  For the first part of her life there were times of struggle to make the ends meet, but eventually she made a comfortable lifestyle for her family.  Tara and her husband sold their small house that was in "bad" neighborhood and moved into a safer neigherborhood with better schools to raise their family.  Her family grew and continued to form the bonds of love and trust.  She has developed esteem and self-actualiztion as well.

As everyone Tara has not yet reached 100% of all of these levels.  It is not a stepping up Hierarchy rather than a continual growth.  Tara is doing pretty well, but needs some more esteem...  she is doing a fine job of parenting and needs to realize her childhood cannot be duplicated.

"Freud supplied to us the sick half of psychology and we must now fill it with the healthy half"  (Burger page 279)  I believe Tara's life can be depicted much better through this more optimistic description.

Tara described to me a "peak experience" she had as a child that she feels is still a very important part of her life.  She said that she was on a week long beach vacation with her family.  It was at the beginning of the trip so there were many days left and she can picture herself in the pool which was along side the beach.  She was doing back flips off the side of the pool and just felt an unreal feeling of happiness.  She was just happy to be alive.  The sun was warm, she was having an amazing time and she was just plain happy.

This situation has often resurfaced in her life today as she raised her own children.  She has her own theory that if she can remember it from her childhood it must be important and feels obligated to give that experience to her own children.  This is a strength for her as a parent because it gives her goal and provides motivation, but sometimes when things don't work out it can upset Tara and she needs to realize that its a different life and it's not going to be the exact one she lived.

Tara's Future Journey

Going forward, Tara plans on successfully guiding her four children through their school careers.  As her schedule allows she will continue with her own education and perhaps one day secure a job in an elementary school.

Due to Tara's nomadic life-style so far they plan on living in New Hampshire forever.  While traveling across Europe was exciting Tara feels that her family will better benefit from a stable enviornement and setting up roots.  Their random selection of New Hampshire seems to be working out.

As for plans for Tara herself all of her future goals seem to revolve around her family.  It was hard to find a goal that had to do with just her.  She wants a nice house that is fun and happy and that is her end goal.  She wants a place that children and eventually grandchildren will want to be.  The fact that she doesn't have any major goals for herself doesn't worry her.  For now, she is wokring on her own education and that is enough for now.  Her goals are not for her as an individual, but her in regards to her family.


Burger, J. M. (2011).  The Psychoanalytic Approach.  Personality (8th ed).  Australia: Wadsworth Cengage Learning