The Wild West

There is no doubt that Freud is the father of modern psychology. In addition, many consider him to be one of the most influential thinkers of the 20th Century. While Freud’s psycho-analytic theme and techniques brought psychology in everyday life, his work is often viewed as controversial and leaving many ‘unfinished loose ends.’ 

Since his epic work other major theorists have followed in an effort to tie up these ‘loose ends.’  However, rather than bringing closure, it seems that today almost 100 years later, we have more questions than we have answers.

Today, the state of psychology - its theories, treatment, and practice - seem more disorganized and haphazard than ever before. While the field tries to portray itself as an organized scientific endeavor based on ‘evidence-based treatment’, those who are aligned with the medical / scientific establishment consider psychology - at best - a pseudo or soft science.

Orbits-Gravity Theory - In order to resolve the current disorganized state and move passed the common perception of psychology as a ‘pseudo-science’ this work offers a ‘new spin’ or model to address psychological phenomena. This model is based upon orbits-gravity theory.

It is understandable that given the abundance of psychology theories, many readers may be apathetic about reviewing yet another ‘new psychology theory.’  With all the ideas and methodologies out there, one might easily assume that we have already covered “everything under the sun.”    

Those of us who made it through undergrad and graduate school have heard enough theories to last a lifetime.   …  And not once did any professor suggest that the human personality and ‘orbits-gravity’ phenomena shared any commonality.  Is it really necessary to delve into yet another model in this already overcrowded field?!

And this is the point!

There are so many theories in psychology that the field remains in a perpetual splintered state. This disorganized state has lead to ongoing confusion regarding the ability to navigate treatment in a focused manner. 

Freud’s Attempt to Provide a Unified Theory – Although Freud’s work was considered revolutionary in its time, his intent to provide a comprehensive and unified theory was never fully realized.  While his intent was to provide a seamless theory to encompass personality, treatment, and ‘change’, a scientific review of his work questioned his methods and conclusions.

Part of the problem was that he mixed ‘objective’ science with ‘subjective’ pseudo-science. On the scientific level he identified observable phenomena. This included compulsive and repetitive patterns, instinctual behaviors, conscious and unconscious states, etc. Such objective phenomena could be independently observed and verified. Since researchers could observe certain phenomena independently their findings were considered to be unbiased and based on fact.   

However Freud also introduced concepts that were more in the realm of his personal and subjective bias. These ideas could be considered more in the category of pseudo-science since these psycho-realities could not actually be observed independently or objectively proven to exist.  Some of his most famous psycho-realities included: ‘id, ego, super-ego’; Oedipal Complex; penis envy, etc.  Although quite eloquent and descriptive, these ideas where based on his personal assumptions. These psycho-realities where biased to support his own logic and could not be independently verified. 

Over time it became clear that by incorporating unobservable psycho-realities, Freud undermined the scientific aspects of his work. By promoting unscientific psycho-realities, it opened the door for others to offer their ‘differing personal opinions’. To Freud’s dismay, many of his inner circle of disciples accentuated their “own difference of opinion” and eventually broke from his ‘gospel.’

Today Freud’s work continues to remain influential. This is due to the fact that his scientific observations remain as valid today as when he first described them.  At the same time Freud’s theories remain controversial due to the fact that he incorporated eloquent but un-provable psycho-realities into his work.

Primary Theories – While a strong emphasis on psycho-analysis has faded from the psychology scene, other theories have become more prominent. Today treatment is dominated by three primary approaches; behavioral, cognitive, and psycho-dynamic orientations. While other novel theories have evolved, they are often viewed through the lens by which primary approach they are most closely related.

Today the current split in psychology has broadened. Even though many clinicians claim to be ‘eclectic’, there is still an undercurrent that seeks to determine the dominant method between behavioral, cognitive, and psycho-dynamic approaches. In ‘real world’ treatment, it is obvious that there is a great deal of overlap and crossover between them. However the theoretical discussion of these approaches is presented as separate and unrelated to each other.

It is clear that while individual discussion of these theories can be quite elaborate, they are none-the-less limited in scope as none of them has the ability to incorporate relevant concepts from the other methods into their own sphere. 

The main issue that prevents their overlap is found in the circular reasoning that guides each theory. It is this circular reasoning that isolates each theory from the other.  This occurs because each theory defines itself by what they seek to explore. As one looking in the mirror reflects on his own reality, so too, each theory defines itself by reflecting and reiterating itself.  It is as if someone is saying, “The sky is blue, because the sky is blue.”

The circular reasoning of each theory leaves no room for overlap. In this way each theory is weighted by its own context that supports its own definition. Therefore: behavior theory defines itself by the fact that people behave; cognitive theory is defined by the fact that people think; and psycho-dynamic theory is based on the fact that people experience emotions, etc. 

Even though it is intuitively evident that each person is a fusion of his actions, thoughts, and feelings, the theories that describe these processes tend to dissect them as aspects that can be addressed separately. While each theory is true within its own context, their reflective definition prevents them from bridging the greater reality of the simultaneous truth shared between them. By splitting off aspects of the human personality that are inherently integrated the field perpetuates confusion within itself.  

The advantage of the orbits-gravity model is that it allows for an integrated view of the human personality. In so doing it offers an umbrella theory that gives equal weight to behavioral, cognitive, and emotional aspects. 

The Wild West - As things stand, the current field can be likened to the “Wild West.” Clinicians pick and choose their “personal orientation” and then rely on their “opinion and intuition” to decide which treatment to promote in their next therapeutic venture. In ‘Wild West’ style, everyone “takes the law into their own hands” and makes up his own set of rules and opinions that govern treatment. As one might imagine, such a ‘Wild West’ approach does lend itself for organizing client treatment in the most straightforward and focused manner.

The ‘Wild West’ nature of psychology is highlighted by the fact that while there are many glamorous theories, there is no central theory to anchor them. Without this anchor, varying theories tend to compete with each other in an attempt to prove their superiority. The inability to find common ground has encouraged the formation of different “camps” that favor one orientation over another. It is this competitive mind-set that is indicative of the field’s underlying state of confusion.

The significance of the orbits-gravity model is that it brings scientific order to the current ‘Wild West’ state of affairs. It accomplishes this by offering an umbrella theory that provides a unified perspective that encompasses the spectrum of approaches. 

Confusion – Confusion in the field has been perpetuated in various ways. As it stands, clinicians remain divided by language in the description of identical phenomena. While some may argue that variations in language provide a ‘more rich and diverse understanding’, in truth, divided language leads to contradictory explanations and conclusions. As a result, interventions targeting the same symptoms and behaviors often work against each other.

A major question the field struggles with is the definition and process of ‘change.’ One of the main ‘loose ends’ of Freud’s work was that he never offered a concise and clear understanding of ‘what it means to change.’ The inability to articulate this process has resulted in the ongoing debate regarding the purpose and focus of treatment. The lack of definition around ‘change’ is a significant factor that has prevented advancement in the field.

Confusion around ‘change’ means that there is also a lack of clarity as to the ‘active ingredient’ that promotes ‘change.’ As a result, the major theories tend to accentuate and isolate behavioral, cognitive, and emotional factors. In fact, true change encompasses all these factors simultaneously. If not for the umbrella theory offered by the orbits-gravity model, one would have difficulty showing the unity of these overlapping aspects that on the surface seem unrelated and separate.    

Unified Field Theory - We can contrast the current state of psychology with the ongoing advances we see in modern medicine and the ‘hard sciences.’ It has become evident that the ‘hard sciences’ of biology, chemistry, and quantum physics are moving toward a ‘unified field theory’.

Although initially these sciences were viewed as separate, they are now considered inter-related and extensions of each other. As their inter-related nature has become more clarified, they have moved toward a common language to communicate and share information.  As such, discoveries in one area have influenced and benefited other areas. 

It is evident that one of the main reasons that allow for unified advancement in the hard sciences is the fact that they all share a common denominator as their theoretical anchor. This common denominator has fostered acceptance between the various sciences and mutual respect for each other. Scientific areas that were previously viewed as separate now compliment each other and provide unified and mutual support.

And what is this common denominator between the sciences? Orbits-gravity theory. The orbits-gravity model is the ‘glue’ that represents the anchor and foundation that confirms the unified core that exists between the sciences.

By indicating that human psychology theory can be explained through an orbits-gravity process, we suggest a conceptual advance that connects the ‘hard sciences’ with psychological phenomena. By utilizing an orbits-gravity context we provide evidence for a tangible bridge that shifts psychology from the category of ‘pseudo-science’ to a respectable scientific endeavor.  

The significance of utilizing an orbits-gravity paradigm means that we are able to bring closure to previously unresolved ‘loose ends.’  Unlike previous psychological theories that unrealistically divide and split our understanding of the personality, the orbits-gravity model is unique in its ability to provide an umbrella theory that encompasses the whole personality as a way of achieving treatment success. An advantage of the model is that it allows us to clearly illustrate and diagram the process of change, as well as a scientific based hypothesis that identifies the ‘active ingredient’ that underlies all successful treatment.

In addition, while paradox psychology may sometimes seem disarmingly simple on the surface, the orbits-gravity model allows us to explore the unexpected depth of the method.      EPK: 3-26-12