on October 2, 2012
My husband and I both read this book and found the concepts enlightening. He read it first in one morning, and told me that I "had to read it." The whole subject of "Behavioral Engagement and Pure Presence" that is described in the book is enough to change any relationship for the better - whether it's with your spouse, your children, or your workplace. My husband and I were able to discuss the strategies in this book and figure out how to implement them in our own lives to improve our communications between ourselves and those with our children. It's a game changer to learn how to really relate and be present in our busy lives. The strategies are even more compelling when you understand how our behaviors have evolved as a basic survival mechanism, and how our brains are wired. My step-mother started reading the book at my house when she saw it lying on the coffee table and then went home and bought her own copy. She was thrilled that it was written in layman's terms and made so much sense about why we behave as we do, and how to improve the way in which we relate to others by being present. I have recommended this book to my friends, and suggested to some that they host a seminar at their place of business for their employees to learn some of the concepts of Behavioral Engagement described in this book.
on August 28, 2012
Do not hesitate to read this book! It is especially helpful for healthcare practitioners, but a must read for everyone. It is thorough, practical, and intuitive. If I could pick one thing that would make or break your relationships (romantic, personal, professional) it is communication within the relationship, without a doubt. Dr. Georgianna Donadio's voice is clear, no-nonsense, and light.
I always considered myself a great communicator, and while reading the book I realized that there were behaviors that I used to distance myself from others, without realizing it. Pick up this book, open your mind, and share it with a loved one. It is one of the best gifts you could give yourself and others.
on October 4, 2012
*I've edited my review for better understanding. I've removed personal statements and disagreements with the author's position but that doesn't change that this book is nothing more then a brochure with no real substance.*
First, the writing style is *highly* opinionated. Quite often the writer comes off overly haughty or disdainful with blunt, blanket statements like "Most people are narcissists" and seemingly rhetorical questions that this book should answer but doesn't.
Second, (and this is a big one) the content is contradictory to other content found later in the book. More then a few times in part one the author writes "Thoughts do not change behavior" (implying that we are all robots and slaves to our sensory nature); then in part two outlines the steps on how we overcome bad behaviors by new knowledge, willpower, and desires- our thoughts. Often the author will make a statement of fact regarding a behavioral theory but immediately afterwards point to inconclusive, on-going studies that prove her statement unresolved.
Thirdly, the title is entirely misleading. There is very little writing spent on actually giving "communication skills". There is a few pages dedicated to outlining a process she refers to as "BE" but the few paragraphs are basically instructions on how to listen and converse better (which could be found in almost ANY other book on communication, albeit more detailed).
Which brings me to the last and most important point:
This book offers NO help whatsoever to people who suffer from behavioral disorders. More then half of the book is dedicated to research and study information which shows that people have problems. The author repeatedly bemoans the need for change, but doesn't talk about how to achieve that change. She does list a brief overview of how people *can* change, and a few symptoms of people who have enacted positive change, but doesn't put the pen to the pad on actually helping someone through a changing process.
Moreover, I found this book completely DEVOID of any actual explanation or background as to what causes destructive behaviors. There was no talk or evidence about environmental factors, shame-based views, or addictive natures. Occasionally she would talk *around* a cause (like saying that children who had been abused would often become abusers later in life) but never once delved into the who/what/why/how.
Finally, the book abruptly ended by saying "congratulations on completion of this tutorial...", which left me curious as to who would consider this sort of reading "tutorial". It did go on to mention the courses provided by the author's affiliated institute, which as some other reviews have mentioned, made it seem like this book was more of a "taste" of the courses they offered.
There are many better, and more complete, works on how to change negative behaviors that could not only help you, but help you understand the nature of destructive actions. Try "Healing The Shame That Binds Us" by John Bradshaw, "Outwitting the Devil" by Napoleon Hill, "Toxic Parents" by Susan Foreward, or even "It Starts With Food" by Melissa and Dallas Hartwig.
You can help yourself but if you don't know how you have to search out others who can help you. This book shouldn't be searched for- by people looking for help or by people looking to give out help.
on February 29, 2012
It is not often that what doubles as a text book for a postgraduate course is also a highly readable guide that has universal appeal for professionals, students, and lay people alike. Without descending into complex jargon, Changing Behavior lays out the what, why and how of communication from the perspective of a modality called Behavioral Engagement.
Who amongst us would not benefit from working on our communication skills, whether in relationships or professional situations? There are numerous 'how to communicate' books and theories in circulation. However, I would especially recommend the Behavioral Engagement model for its easy-to-understand guidelines, instant (and did I say universal?) applicability, and proven effectiveness.
I have utilized Behavioral Engagement in my own personal and social life with transformative results; life is so much richer and more enjoyable when you take the time to hear what someone has to say. And as a wellness professional, I am thrilled to be able to facilitate my clients' attainment of their health goals thanks to the application of nonjudgmental awareness. When a client - or anyone for that matter - feels validated and listened to (REALLY listened to, not just mimicry of their body language) they are able to relax and access their own inner wisdom. Who would have thought that giving someone your undivided attention could be the ultimate gift.
Something really magical happens when you truly connect with people, for you as well as for them. Don't take my word for it; read the book for yourself, apply it at the earliest opportunity, and enjoy the results.
on May 19, 2016
Changing Behavior is an easy to read, informative book with a lot of "a ha!" moments and practical advice about how to get the most out of your professional and personal interactions. The techniques for communcating with Pure Presence are clear and precise, and as soon as I read them, I thought, "of course!" It makes so much sense that being present with another human being in mind, body, intention, and speech, and allowing them to share their feelings without feeling judged or rushed can lead to some very powerful communcation and connection. I found the twelve steps of Behavioral Engagement to be very helpful; they were concise and easy to envision. Finally, the scientific background information (how the brain works, health statistics, etc) assisted me in forming a deeper understanding of the material, and really internalizing the reasons why Behavior Engagement and Pure Presence both work so well and are so badly needed in the healthcare field.
I was invited to write this review as a part of the Whole Health Educator program that I am taking through the National Institute of Whole Health. I was, in no way, encouraged to write a favorable review, or to include any certain content or opinions in my review.
on December 5, 2011
Hopefully my title is not too dramatic: However, the principles put forth in this book can add some much needed life to the current healthcare system. I am in the employ of this vast system, and one of the largest complaints from nurses and administration is the lack of "patient compliance.": It is costly and time-consuming, which of course just means 'costly' again. One thing that is not understood, though, is that most people want to make decisions for themselves. For so long it has appeared that the patients are the children and the nurses and doctors are the parents telling them what to do. The response is something like teenagers-NO, we won't do, or fully do, the things you TELL us to do. Now, if we can confer about the matter as adults, and I, as the patient, can have the ownership of my health back again, maybe we will get somewhere! That is the principle that is outlined in this book through a process called "Behavioral Engagement." It engages the patient in their care, and puts the onus for their own good health right back where it belongs...to the patient. The methods by which we approach a patient must change, or the lack of compliance will always be an issue.
Dr. Donadio has a well-written manuscript here and it is greatly worth the read....it carefully outlines the who, what, where, when and why of this valuable process of engaging patients in their own care. A must read for hospital administrators and healthcare workers. The book is well-researched and some pretty powerful people in the field are now endorsing it.
And, it just may change your own relationships as well, to more respectful levels that foster peace.
on February 4, 2012
Donadio's "Changing Behavior" throws an overdue spot light upon the basic ingredients which enhance all human relationships and enable behavior to change. Her focus is essential for health care professions to embrace, yet the ingredients she lists are not well-researched and get too little attention in health care reform. The plentiful public health information in these pages about eating, smoking, domestic violence and abuse are testimony to the author's humane motivation for writing this book.
She emphasizes for the public and health care professionals what some psychotherapists have long known, that human behavior change occurs via relational connection. Her theme applied to health professionals seems to go as follows: when the health professional accesses what Donadio calls their pure essence (open, calm, without judgment and personal agenda) and relates to another person in that state, this enables a relationship called behavioral engagement which in turn makes it possible for health-related behavioral changes to occur. She lists 12 steps of personal tasks which foster and support behavioral engagement in relationships with others. These items are languaged in the form of what all people should try to accomplish in relationships. Among them are: "Clear any stress or distraction", "Keep your intention open and non-judgmental", "Be patient".
The book also states that there are 8 key elements for people to change their own behaviors, including: a strong positive intention and commitment, few environmental limitations, a belief in positive outcome, the emotional response to the particular change needs to be more positive than negative, and a personal perception that one is capable of making the change.
The 12 ingredients of relationship and the 8 of behavior change listed by Donadio are a refreshing and welcome start and- there is more to the story. Now, fortunately, there are new specific methods to empower all people more consistently to reach those goals.
For most people it is an inner battle for them to increase their ability to keep judgments out, to remain patient, to clear out distractions, and to acquire positive intentions. Most people normally experience on their inner radar strong judgments, pressing responsibilities, and sometimes strong feelings of worry, sadness,and outrage. These inner personality forces cover over "pure essence". Meditational centering and breath work may be a temporary relief but they do not shift the inner forces- the stuff that gets triggered from intense relationships or when faced with a new illness. Based on the Internal Family Systems Model, developed by RC Schwartz, PhD., and our psychologically-based clinical and naturalistic studies in health coaching, new specific methods are available to everyone and often do not require being in psychotherapy.
There are now effective ways to work with these inner forces instead of trying repeatedly to control or bury them- which actually allows them to become stronger and keep re-visit us, while we criticize ourselves for not being able to manage them better. We suggest two resources to supplement Donadio's work: "Introduction to The Internal Family Systems Model(IFS), RC Schwartz, PhD, (2001) Trailheads Publications ISBN 0-9721480-0-0, and also a book chapter, Livingstone,JB, Gaffney,J (2012). IFS and Health Coaching: A New Model of Behavior Change and Medical Decision Making, in "Internal Family Systems Therapy: Versatility in Application". Sweezy,M. and Ziskind,E, Eds., London: Routledge Pub. (in press).
"Changing Behavior" is a breath of fresh air about relational attachment which offsets an over-focus on the use of information and logical thinking to bring about behavior change.
on July 8, 2015
This book by Dr. Georgianna Donadio is a masterpiece of education that should be mandatory reading for all health care practitioners, social service workers, clergy, psychiatrists (especially psychiatrists), psychologists and, most of all, for lay people who want to know how to make their life immeasurably better. The lessons to be learned here are essential to growth and development of all of us.
Other reviews posted here really accurately describe the journey we all must take to become loving, caring, understanding people.
on May 11, 2012
This book can transform your relationships. If you are in any sort of business where you are dealing with people, then this should be required reading for yourself and your staff on how to work with clients and fellow employees. Social media has transformed society, and not in a good way because we are losing how to connect and interact with each other. Changing Behavior can change that, and revolutionize your life with a common sense approach to communication that can and NEEDS to be applied to retain, transform and start relationships. This book should be in everyone's library.
on March 21, 2014
This book is a real help with everyday dealings with people who you like of maybe dislike but have to be with at work or outings.
Sometimes I just want to scream at people for things they do or say and I can't so instead I hold it all in until I get in the car and then start screaming like a mad woman all the way home. (My husband loves it :) But with the help of this book which I am reading for the second time I am more able to just deal with it and sometimes I can even divert the conversation so that I don't have to get into subjects that I don't want to hear. I also can see where they are coming from and can be more understanding.