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psychor

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Jan 27, 2007
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Hi,

Life has put me in a wonderful situation. I am volunteering for a charity and I am interacting with a lot of persons who haven't been too lucky: hobos, male and female prostitutes, drug addicts, ex-convicted criminals, alcoholics... you name it, I meet them.

My only job is to serve them food. I don't want to change any of their lives, I don't want to play "saviour" or "hero". At all. They have their dignity to choose their ways in life and I respect that.

I have found though that they really appreciate it when you just hear their stories and feel related. Also known as empathy.

I haven't studied any psychology course or anything at all. But I want to "cheat" in order to understand them better. So I would like you to help me to "cheat".

I consider this a big opportunity to *learn* about the human being and, ultimately, about myself.

I haven't got the time to do a psychology course. But I would like to make the best of my time with them. I would like to extract as much information and teachings from them as I can. I would like to get to know why they have been drawn to that situation. I would like to understand them better, in order to see in them the mirror reflecting our common human nature.

So.

I would like to ask you for some excellent books on human nature, behaviour and psychology. Those full of insights, tips, knowledge and wisdom. In a kind of "cookbook" fashion.

For instance, written in this style:

- "A weak father and strong mother, with an unresolved Oedipus complex will lead to a weak, and then homosexual, son, because the mother has too strong of an image, compared to the weak state of the father. Psychologists argue that this same arrangement would also possibly lead to a stronger son, striving for compensation of his father's weakness."
Taken from: http://allpsych.com/journal/homosexuality.html

I know, nobody can expect to get the equivalent of a PhD by just reading some dozen books.

But I'm sure you get my point.
 

foghlaim

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Re: "Psychology cookbooks" Knowledge the easiest and fastest way

So I would like you to help me to "cheat".
I'm not sure you can actually cheat and gain any real insight as to why these ppl lead the lives they do.. remember that each individual will prob have diff reasons for either choosing their way of life or didn't choose it. I think a "listen and learn " approach might be the way to go here if you want to learn about the human being, from your charity work experience.
 

David Baxter

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Re: "Psychology cookbooks" Knowledge the easiest and fastest way

For instance, written in this style:

- "A weak father and strong mother, with an unresolved Oedipus complex will lead to a weak, and then homosexual, son, because the mother has too strong of an image, compared to the weak state of the father. Psychologists argue that this same arrangement would also possibly lead to a stronger son, striving for compensation of his father's weakness."
Taken from: http://allpsych.com/journal/homosexuality.html

It's also important to be a critical reader and a critical thinker when it comes to self-learning, especially on the 'net.

As an example, the above quoted hypothesis about the origins of homosexuality are false. There is absolutely no evidence whatsoever to support the theory and I don't believe you would find anyone credible today who would try to argue in support of it.

Additionally, even the source you site does not promote this as a supported explanation. That leaves me to wonder about your purpose in citing that paragraph from the entire article in question. (My apologies in advance if I'm being overly suspicious.)

Why that part?
 

Halo

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Psychor,

While reading your post a few things popped out at me that I just felt the need to comment on.

They have their dignity to choose their ways in life and I respect that.

Something to consider about the above, you say that you respect their choice in life but I wonder if you have stopped to think that perhaps some of those people have not "chosen" that lifestyle but for different reasons sometimes beyond their control, they have ended up in that situation.

I have found though that they really appreciate it when you just hear their stories and feel related. Also known as empathy. I haven't studied any psychology course or anything at all. But I want to "cheat" in order to understand them better. So I would like you to help me to "cheat".

I honestly don't think that you can learn empathy from as you say cheating to understand these people better. I wonder if you have ever just sat down and really listened to these people and tried to honestly place yourself in their shoes which is the definition of [WIKIPEDIA]Empathy[/WIKIPEDIA]

I would like to get to know why they have been drawn to that situation. I would like to understand them better, in order to see in them the mirror reflecting our common human nature.

If you would truly like to get to know them better and know why they may have been drawn to a particular situation, I think that by talking with them and truly listening to what they have to say you will learn more about them than you think. No textbook, post on this forum or self-help book is going to replace the face-to-face interaction that you have with these people and to be honest they probably don't want you to be studying them. As you said, they mostly just want to have someone listen to them and hear them. If you gain understanding about their situation and about yourself and human nature in the process than that is a great but my thought would be to just enjoy your time with them.
 

sister-ray

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If you havent got time to do a full time course at University, maybe because of work commitments, have you ever thought about doing a home study course, which could be done in your spare time, that way you would be learning and maybe getting a qualification at the end, and also continute to do your charity work too, I agree with the other members that you need to actually be with people, and listen to them to really learn, but maybe a short course of some type might help and compliment the charity work you are doing, the course would help you understand more about the people you help, and the people you help might enrich your experience of the course. In my country some home study courses are offered at reduce rates or even free depending on your circumstances, maybe you could search the net and find out about whats on offer in your area/country. Anyway just something for you to think about.
 

psychor

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First of all, thanks for all of your answers.

Secondly, my apologies for the chosen paragraph. I could have chosen anything else, I just wanted to emphasize the need for it to be short.

So, basically, there is absolutely not a single book in the world that I could use. Fair enough. I'll keep on listening to them and getting loads of confusing ideas.
 

Halo

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Yes I think that listening to them is the key but I am not sure I understand your reference to "getting loads of confusing ideas". Can you explain what you mean?
 

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