I had an eye opening experience today. People are afraid to share their power. They won’t empower others. The air is too rarefied. To empower means to share, equip, enable, or supply to someone else what made you successful. If you don’t share your power, or what made you a success, you cannot empower!!! We must teach, share, enable, equip, supply our knowledge to empower. We need to do better. What are you afraid of? Losing your power, or someone doing better than you? If you have a friend who only depends on you to feed them, they will never be able to feed themselves unless they are taught to do for themselves. They will always need fed.
Teach a man to fish, he will always have something to eat, and share with others, then, teach him to own the pond from whence he fished from…empowering individuals only duplicates success…
#letsGo #empower
CMM ©2014


When placed in the same system, people, however different, tend to produce similar results.
The systems perspective tells us that we must look beyond individual mistakes or bad luck to understand important problems. We must look beyond personalities and events. We must look into the underlying structures which shape individual actions and create the conditions where types of events become likely.
A truly profound and different insight is the way you begin to see that the system causes its own behavior.

Stress Model of Crisis

Baseline behavior(Normal behavior) is considered PreCrisis..PreCrisis is normal behavior that is under control.

A person/client is triggered by an event, such as being told no, redirection, preferred activity to non-preferred activity, transitions, etc.

Now, triggers can be good or bad. In this model, we can assume triggers are bad.
Triggers are where the escalation begins. Think of an escalator going up. We don’t have to get on it to go upstairs, but we choose to. The main feeling experienced here is agitation.
It’s a choice to become escalated, as I explain to my clients, this is the part of the model where the deescalation techniques should be implemented. You will see why in a minute.
So let’s say our client is escalated, and won’t utilize any interventions. If interventions aren’t successful, and client isn’t following directions, client is headed toward outburst. We attempt to continue to de-escalate, curbing aggression. Aggression increases during this phase of the model.

Envision a volcano erupting, or the Incredible Hulk morphing into an angry beast. This is the apex of the crisis, where violence and destruction occurs. Windows get broken, staff get punched and kicked, and the volcano blows up. The client has become out of control. Something has to happen. This is the point of no return. Again, a choice has been selected here. There is still some control of behavior here, even in this stage.
Once the outburst has occurred, the client is moving toward Recovery, where you can reason with them and utilize interventions. What goes up, must come down.
That’s why it’s important to intercede and implement reasoning during the escalation phase rather than the recovery phase. When client deescalates, they are headed toward baseline (normal) behavior.
This cycle can repeat itself several times in a session, with a client or person fully recovered and can be triggered again in a matter of minutes if conditions are ripe.
CMM © 2014



Wonder why folks have a trigger finger? Wonder why folks are on edge and the next thing tips them over?
It’s mindsets and attitudes cultivated from previous generations…we learn how to cope from our parents. Coping skills drive the behaviors, good or bad. Once we show others how to cope with control, this world will change. We have to learn how to be under control. I teach that there are 3 types of control: In, Out, and Under. Take a deep breath and think about that one. Don’t make a permanent choice with a temporary situation. Too many have done that. Choice is always an individual one and not collective when it comes to you as a person, but your choices affect everyone in your circle.
CMM © 2014


At an outreach earlier, I spoke to an educator who teaches in the local community. He said that he felt like a social worker more than a teacher. I felt for him and I understand. I stated that in order to be effective in reaching youth that are affected, we need to fill the belly before we can fill the mind. He agreed.

If a child hasn’t eaten since lunch at school YESTERDAY, and hasn’t had a good night sleep, and had to duck and dodge bullets, drug pushers, etc on the way to school, the last thing they want to hear is how to multiply 10 times 10. They want to know where they going to eat, if I’m going to be safe, and if I can arrive home safely, and if my home is going to be safe when I get there. There will be no learning when 30 heads are hurting and 30 bellies are rumbling. A new appreciation for educators and administrations has been birthed today.

Cycles of Dysfunction- Trauma

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I want to talk about a subject that is continuing to keep the cycles of dysfunction going around. It’s a 6 letter word called:
Trauma is defined as a deeply distressing or disturbing experience.
In medicine, it’s physical injury.

Trauma is a situation or a memory that you want to forget, but CAN’T!!
The sad part about trauma is that it occurs, individuals are wounded, damaged, and injured physically, mentally, and emotionally. Some never get help for their trauma, as they never heal.

The sad part about trauma is that people know it happened to them or others, but won’t pick their head out of the sand. We allow it to happen, but don’t do anything to heal for it.

Think about a good memory, a memory that is pleasant, good, and an awesome experience. You remember every detail about the experience, and you want to tell everyone…

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Messiah College McNeil (2014)

Righteousness exalts a nation.

“We complain about the causes, we gripe about the scope of the problem. Well, here’s some solutions:
Community leaders
Additionally, we must build and develop a platform on which to stand and grow and develop programming that empowers, equips, and teaches men to be the head of their homes, respect women, be heroes to their children, and be pillars in the community. Let’s develop programming that empowers young girls to respect themselves and focus on healing from the hurtful, abusive things that were done to them. We didn’t just stumble into fatherlessness over these several centuries, but we can do an about face and use our experience as our fuel to transform our communities to reduce the problem. Many children are lacking their natural protector, which is their father.
From poverty to aggressive behavior to attention-seeking behaviors, our affected individuals need to see relative individuals in positions of authority. Everyone they see in authority, they fear, There isn’t enough men out here!!!

Our children need to develop critical thinking skills, goal setting, and gaining knowledge with empowerment AND skill sets.

It’s time for us to merge forces to form a clearinghouse. It’s time to save the boys AND the girls. Not everyone is called or chosen to do this. Why? Because anyone can put facts and figures together and present their findings but if you don’t have the sweat equity to go with passion, it won’t be effective. It’s as a sounding brass. Real recognizes real at this point.”

Civil Rights Act of 1964


king-1964-06-19 Juneteenth 1964: Martin Luther King, Jr after finding out that the Civil Rights Act of 1964 had passed (after a 534-hour filibuster by Southern senators).

The Civil Rights Act of 1964 outlawed discrimination in the US based on race, colour, religion, sex or national origin. It also outlawed segregation, keeping races separate, at schools, public places and most businesses. It, and the Voting Rights Act a year later, overthrew Jim Crow.

School busing and affirmative action grew out of it as policies designed to meet its demands

It was one of the main civil rights reforms of the 1960s:

  • 1964: Civil Rights Act
  • 1965: Voting Rights Act
  • 1965: Immigration and Nationality Act
  • 1967: Loving v Virginia – overturned laws against mixed-race marriage.
  • 1968: Fair Housing Act

It was not passed because of a White man in a suit, like in a Spielberg film or an American high school history book.

It was…

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BF Skinner : Operant Conditioning

Skinner coined the term operant conditioning; it means roughly changing of behavior by the use of reinforcement which is given after the desired response. Skinner identified three types of responses or operant that can follow behavior.

• Neutral operants: responses from the environment that neither increase nor decrease the probability of a behavior being repeated.

• Reinforcers: Responses from the environment that increase the probability of a behavior being repeated. Reinforcers can be either positive or negative.

• Punishers: Response from the environment that decrease the likelihood of a behavior being repeated. Punishment weakens behavior.

We can all think of examples of how our own behavior has been affected by reinforcers and punishers. As a child you probably tried out a number of behaviors and learnt from their consequences.

For example, if when you were younger you tried smoking at school, and the chief consequence was that you got in with the crowd you always wanted to hang out with, you would have been positively reinforced (i.e. rewarded) and would be likely to repeat the behavior. If, however, the main consequence was that you were caught, caned, suspended from school and your parents became involved you would most certainly have been punished, and you would consequently be much less likely to smoke now.

Reinforcement (strengthens behavior)
Skinner showed how positive reinforcement worked by placing a hungry rat in his Skinner box. The box contained a lever in the side and as the rat moved about the box it would accidentally knock the lever. Immediately it did so a food pellet would drop into a container next to the lever. The rats quickly learned to go straight to the lever after a few times of being put in the box. The consequence of receiving food if they pressed the lever ensured that they would repeat the action again and again.

Positive reinforcement strengthens a behavior by providing a consequence an individual finds rewarding. For example, if your teacher gives you £5 each time you complete your homework (i.e. a reward) you are more likely to repeat this behavior in the future, thus strengthening the behavior of completing your homework.

The removal of an unpleasant reinforcer can also strengthen behavior. This is known as negative reinforcement because it is the removal of an adverse stimulus which is ‘rewarding’ to the animal. Negative reinforcement strengthens behavior because it stops or removes an unpleasant experience.

For example, if you do not complete your homework you give your teacher $5. You will complete your homework to avoid paying $5, thus strengthening the behavior of completing your homework.

Skinner showed how negative reinforcement worked by placing a rat in his Skinner box and then subjecting it to an unpleasant electric current which caused it some discomfort. As the rat moved about the box it would accidentally knock the lever. Immediately it did so the electric current would be switched off. The rats quickly learned to go straight to the lever after a few times of being put in the box. The consequence of escaping the electric current ensured that they would repeat the action again and again.

In fact Skinner even taught the rats to avoid the electric current by turning on a light just before the electric current came on. The rats soon learned to press the lever when the light came on because they knew that this would stop the electric current being switched on.

These two learned responses are known as Escape Learning and Avoidance Learning.

Punishment (weakens behavior)
Punishment is defined as the opposite of reinforcement since it is designed to weaken or eliminate a response rather than increase it.

Like reinforcement, punishment can work either by directly applying an unpleasant stimulus like a shock after a response or by removing a potentially rewarding stimulus, for instance, deducting someone’s pocket money to punish undesirable behavior.

Note: It is not always easy to distinguish between punishment and negative reinforcement.

Behavior Modification
Behavior modification is a set of therapies / techniques based on operant conditioning (Skinner, 1938, 1953). The main principle comprises changing environmental events that are related to a person’s behavior. For example, the reinforcement of desired behaviors and ignoring or punishing undesired ones.

This is not as simple as it sounds — always reinforcing desired behavior, for example, is basically bribery.

There are different types of positive reinforcements. Primary reinforcement is when a reward strengths a behavior by itself. Secondary reinforcement is when something strengthens a behavior because it leads to a primary reinforcer.

Examples of behavior modification therapy include token economy and behavior shaping

Token Economy
The token economy is a system in which targeted behaviors are reinforced with tokens (secondary reinforcers) and are later exchanged for rewards (primary reinforcers).

Tokens can be in the form of fake money, buttons, poker chips, stickers, etc. While rewards can range anywhere from snacks to privileges/activities.

Token economy has been found to be very effective in managing psychiatric patients. However, the patients can become over reliant on the tokens, making it difficult for them once they leave prisons, hospital etc.

Teachers use token economy at primary school by giving young children stickers to reward good behavior.

Operant Conditioning in the Classroom
Behavior modification therapy is much used in clinical and educational psychology, particularly with people with learning difficulties. In the conventional learning situation it applies largely to issues of class- and student management, rather than to learning content. It is very relevant to shaping skill performance.

A simple way of giving positive reinforcement in behavior modification is in providing compliments, approval, encouragement, and affirmation; a ratio of five compliments for every one complaint is generally seen as being the most effective in altering behavior in a desired manner.

Operant Conditioning Summary
Looking at Skinner’s classic studies on pigeons’ behavior we can identify some of the major assumptions of behaviorists approach.

• Psychology should be seen as a science, to be studied in a scientific manner. Skinner’s study of behavior in rats was conducted under carefully controlled laboratory conditions.

• Behaviorism is primarily concerned with observable behavior, as opposed to internal events like thinking and emotion. Note that Skinner did not say that the rats learnt to press a lever because they wanted food. He instead concentrated on describing the easily observed behavior that the rats acquired.

• The major influence on human behavior is learning from our environment. In the Skinner study, because food followed a particular behavior the rats learned to repeat that behavior, e.g. classical and operant conditioning.

• There is little difference between the learning that takes place in humans and that in other animals. Therefore research (e.g. classical conditioning) can be carried out on animals (Pavlov’s dogs) as well as on humans (Little Albert). Skinner proposed that the way humans learn behavior is much the same as the way the rats learned to press a lever.

So, if your layperson’s idea of psychology has always been of people in laboratories wearing white coats and watching hapless rats try to negotiate mazes in order to get to their dinner, then you are probably thinking of behavioral psychology.

Behaviorism and its offshoots tend to be among the most scientific of the psychological perspectives. The emphasis of behavioral psychology is on how we learn to behave in certain ways. We are all constantly learning new behaviors and how to modify our existing behavior. Behavioral psychology is the psychological approach that focuses on how this learning takes place.

Critical Evaluation
Operant conditioning can be used to explain a wide variety of behavior, from the process of learning, to addiction and language acquisition. It also has practical application (such as token economy) which can be applied in classrooms, prisons and psychiatric hospitals.

However, operant conditioning fails to taken into account the role of inherited and cognitive factors in learning, and thus is an incomplete explanation of the learning process in humans and animals.

For example, Kohler (1924) found that primates often seem to solve problems in a flash of insight rather than be trial and error learning. Also social learning theory (Bandura, 1977) suggests that humans can learn automatically through observation rather than through personal experience.

The use of animal research in operant conditioning studies also raises the issue of extrapolation. Some psychologists argue we cannot generalize from studies on animals to humans as their anatomy & physiology is different from humans, & they cannot think about their experiences and invoke reason, patience, memory or self-comfort.

Bandura, A. (1977). Social Learning Theory. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall.

Keller, W. (1924). The mentality of apes.

Skinner, B. F. (1938). The Behavior of Organisms: An Experimental Analysis. New York: Appleton-Century.

Skinner, B. F. (1948). Superstition’ in the pigeon. Journal of Experimental Psychology, 38, 168-172.

Skinner, B. F. (1953). Science and human behavior. SimonandSchuster.com.

Thorndike, E. L. (1905). The elements of psychology. New York: A. G. Seiler.