believe everything we need to know about psychology, human relationships and living an effective life can be summed up in
four words: 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 all
of 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.