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Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Explained: therapist Amy Gallimore on human behavior

 Amy Gallimore has been in the counseling field since January of 1995 in capacities such as inpatient hospitalization, community mental health, group home treatment centers, private foster care, counselor supervision, and private practice. She has been a Licensed Professional Counselor since 2001 and received her Master’s Degree in Counseling from the University of Memphis in 1998. Her areas of expertise include assisting adults and adolescents with depression, anxiety, grief, life changes, anger, self esteem and relationship difficulties. She attempts to help clients learn healthy coping skills, manage emotions and behavior, make successful choices and reach one’s full potential. She has worked for the Exchange Club Family Center in Memphis, TN since 1998 and directs the Comprehensive Anger Management Program (CAMP) for parents and youth. She also works at LifeQuest Counseling Center. She assists families and couples with resolving conflict and restoring and strengthening relationships. Amy also directs and facilitates an adult male anger management program and conducts psychological assessments for the court. Amy lives in Southaven, MS with her two children, ages five and nine, and her husband of 11 years.

1) What are the most basic emotional needs that human beings have?  

Certainty (as in security)
Uncertainty (as in excitement)
Significance (as in power/control)
Intimacy and Love

 2) Why do human beings communicate? 

I think all living organisms communicate to survive and thrive in the environment in which they live.

3) Why do we have a need to tell someone the things we experience, achieve, decide? Not only profound issues but even the most simple ones…I cut my finger, I cut my hair, I bought a new shirt. etc.Why do people communicate such things?  

One idea on this was eloquently put by Diane Keaton in “Something’s Gotta Give” when she said that relationships exist because people want to share their experiences with others. I think it brings purpose to our lives to share ourselves with each other. Maybe it makes our mortality real and meaningful or maybe life itself truly is compelling especially in the simple things.

4) a) What does physical contact provide for humans? b) Why are some people affectionate and others are not? 
Physical touch is an expression of love and therefore can help us meet a basic human need. It has also been known to assist in growing premature infants, showing the significance to human survival. If someone has experienced abuse or trauma, it could have an adverse effect. Also, people have preferences just like any like or dislike and therefore physical touch could be important and enjoyed by one person but not another. It could have its roots in how we were raised, e.g. an affectionate family vs. a nonaffectionate family carries over generationally and becomes a “trait” in a sense. Typically for many people, however, physical touch is linked with comfort and positive feelings.

5) What psychological forces determine what a human values and how much they value it? The emotional investment in objects, and other people? 

Again, I think what we value depends on our early experiences and values that were taught growing up. Inadvertently, a person may come to value the opposite of what was taught if at some point we think to ourselves (and for ourselves) what is “right” or “fair”. It is my goal with clients to assist them in exploring what they value and what is “true” for them not necessarily what was instilled.   Some people emotionally invest in things or people that do not really serve them. We lose our way along the way when we face adversity and we cling to anything that brings comfort, even if it’s a false sense of security. People can not fulfill all of our desires and to think so could be a trap or misconception, it’s not in the external world where we will be at peace. Victor Frankl, Holocaust survivor/psychiatrist in “Man’s Search for Meaning” found that only when he went inside and searched for answers and meaning to his life experiences, did he overcome great human adversity (and he found his answers resided in that basic human need : love).

6)  How can you heal someone who has been emotionally damaged? 

A person has to choose to be healed, other people can only serve to assist and encourage. Life can be relentless if we resist the lessons to be learned. A person must take back what has been lost or stolen from them and grace is there to guide us. I believe there is a scripture that says we must first die (to self) in order to find ourselves. Its as though we have to lose who we thought we were to realize who we were all along- a child of God, an expression of Love.

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