Bob Van Oosterhout

Practical Psychology: What Works and Makes Sense

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 I believe there are four words that can guide us in living an effective life: See Clearly (with an) Open Heart.

Think of any human problem, conflict, struggle or difficulty. Seeing clearly identifies obstacles, opportunities and direction. It allows us to see larger picture as well as relevant details so that we understand what is happening and evaluate the best ways to deal with it. Having an open heart connects with others and prevents us from acting ways that may lead to damage or harm.  It  helps us learn to cooperate and collaborate to do meaningful work.

Of course, we never see with total clarity and our hearts are seldom fully open.  But my experience indicates that we become more effective in whatever we are doing to the extent we see more clearly with a more open heart.

My approach to treatment and training over 40 years involved identifying underlying principles that are consistently effective in all situations and using and adapting them as a guide to navigating a wide range of symptoms and problem situations.  I realized that “Seeing Clearly with an Open Heart” incorporates  these principles and components. I also found that it neatly summarized progress made by my patients, clients, students, and trainees over the past 40 years.

I am developing “Practical Psychology: What Works and Makes Sense” as an app and website to help us understand how the principles and components associated with Seeing Clearly with an Open Heart can be applied to deal with a wide range of situations and concerns.  Unlike a book, which has a fixed, linear format, this project is being designed to be interactive and responsive to different needs, interests, and circumstances as well as new information.

I found that I could summarize the essential elements of Seeing Clearly with an Open Heart on a one page graphic or screen that is made up of boxes that are connected and arranged like roots of a tree to show the relationship of each of these components to the whole.

The pages or screens are being organized in five levels using a consistent format: "How it works,"  "What goes wrong" "What works," and "What health looks like" on each level. Each screen or page will be linked to screens above and below.  Level 1 provides summary screens where one can see how all of the parts relate and interact.  Clicking on boxes on the screens will provide links to other levels as well as options for more information in a wide range of formats including text, videos, animation, short fiction, children's stories, songs, poetry, activities, and games.  Lists of resources and options for discussion will also be made available.

In general, Levels 1 and 3 focus on understanding the components of Seeing Clearly with an Open Heart and how they relate while Levels 2 and 4 describe actions and interventions.  Level 5 consists of responses to an expanding list of questions about everyday concerns using the same format.  Links  to other levels will provide more in-depth information.

My  vision is that the “Practical Psychology” app and website will become an open, evolving, interactive system that provides information, tools, resources, and support to help us work and learn together to solve problems and explore and learn how to live effective lives that are fulfilling, satisfying and sustainable.

Click on the links below in view sample diagrams in pdf format.  

Level 1 How It Works and What Works

Level 1 What Goes Wrong

Level 1 What Health Looks Like

Level 2 How It Works

Level 2 What Works

Level 3 Body How it Works -What Goes Wrong

Level 3 Body What Works - What Health Looks Like

Level3 Mind How it Works - What Goes Wrong

Level 3 Mind What Works - What Health Looks Like

Level 3 Emotion How It Works - What Goes Wrong

Level 3 Emotion What Works - What Health Looks Like

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