Still Under Construction - No Peeking!

Goal 1. To advance a theory that supports the intrinsic connection between repetitive behavior and attachment.

In brief: Orbits are equivalent to repetitive forms of energy or behavior; the Force of Gravity is equivalent initially to parent-child Attachment. In the treatment setting this Force of Gravity is represented by the therapeutic alliance between client and clinician. The system is equivalent tio the individual’s personality structure as a whole, where there is a unified balance between behavior, emotions, and thoughts.

Here we explore the scientific connection between the orbits-gravity paradigm and psychological phenomena.

Repetitive Behavior - In organizing our thinking along the lines of an ‘orbits-gravity paradigm’, we start off by identifying that which can be ‘objectively observed’. In general, ‘good science’ is grounded in objective observations that are free from subjective and personal biases.  

One of the most important contributions of Freud was his recognition that ‘neurotic behavior’ was based on repetitive rigid patterns of behavior. He observed that his patients often seemed unconscious or lacked the ability to control their repetitive patterns. He called such behavior a “repetition compulsion.”

This observation is literally the cornerstone of psychotherapy and treatment. Its impact today is currently felt in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM-IV) which catalogs the repetitive criteria that identify various diagnoses. In particular the aspect that is most important about repetitive type behavior is that it can be observed in an objective and scientific manner. 

 

The ‘Repetition Compulsion’ Revisited - 

Today we understand that any behavior that is considered dysfunctional or problematic ultimately has a “repetition compulsive” quality to it; that the client is either unaware or lacks the ability to control his pattern.   Figure 1 diagrams the expression of energy / behavior that occurs in a cyclical manner, in a habitual way, has a rigid quality, and is seemingly ‘outside’ the client’s control. To indicate rigidity in client behavior, Figure 1 utilizes a thick and continuous circular line. The person involved with such behavior demonstrates a constricted or limited ability to make choices. As such these rigid patterns represent a lack of flexibility. This lack of flexibility corresponds to the highly predictable nature as seen in various  addictions, mental health disorders (anxiety, depression, personality disorders, etc.), couple and family conflict, and repetitive criminal behaviors

In mentioning these rigid patterns, the client often loses perspective of himself and his behavior. He is often unaware of the severity of his own behavior. Even when situations may change from day to day, the habitual pattern takes precidence.

In fact, it is not uncommon for the client to insist that his rigid behavior is really an expression of ‘free choice’. An example of this is someone who is addicted to smoking, yet insists he is smoking because this is “what he wants to do.” In his mind, he truly believes that he is making a choice. Although he may be claiming to be making a ‘free choice’, in reality he does not have the flexibility to “choose not to smoke”. From an objective perspective, even the most minute details of the frequency, rate, time, etc, often become quite predictable to outsiders observing such behavior. 

As a comparison, it is important to note that functional or healthy behavior also has a cyclical ‘repetitive’ quality. However, rather than being rigid, healthy behavior has the quality of being flexible, relaxed, and open. Figure 2 illustrates this type of flexibility using thinner lines and spaces to indicate a more open quality. It is this more open quality that allows the person to make more relaxed choices. When life situations change from day to day, the person is able to cope and adjust. This type of person has a higher tolerance to cope when and be flexible when “things are not going as expected.”. lity to cope when  

’s since it could be objectively confirmed by and  Psychology has always been aware of addictive and compulsive issues in the context of “repetitive behavior.”  

Freud, himself described   Today we understand that all psychological problems at various levels and frequencies are expressed within the context of rigid repetitive behaviors; whether addictions, mental health issues, couple or family conflict, or repetitive criminal behavior. 

More recently, the field has explored the area of early childhood attachment and how this effects the direction of a child’s emotional growth and maturity in later years. As a related issue therapeutic alliance, the attachment between client and clinician, has been shown