What Does Donald Trump Have in Common with Psychologists?

What does Donald Trump Have in Common with Psychologists?

Both believe they have the authority and the right to practice behavioral coercion.


Because they operate under the assumption their particular kind of knowledge and power gives them the right to require those under them to submit to their behavioral demands, the highest form of power one human being can have over another one. This is disturbing because becoming the master of another human’s behavior is a direct violation of that person’s human rights.

Let me break down what I mean.

Donald Trump can manipulate the financial and career paths of his 34,000 employees for better or worse, because he has more resources, money, and authority than they do. Trump can leverage this power imbalance to expect those under him to submit to his behavioral demands, sexual and otherwise. In other words, he has the power to engage in behavioral coercion. You don’t comply, you’re fired.

In our schools, children have even less power than Trump employees . They have no power. Educators not only control every single environmental variable in each school, but thanks to psychological theories, educators have been granted the right to control the behaviors of the students as well. In fact, thanks to our psychological theories, behavioral coercion is not just accepted of educators, it is expected of them.

Our developing boys and girls quickly learn they need to acquiesce to authorities who take control of their behaviors because they have no power to do otherwise. Because it is done to them, our developing boys and girls simultaneously learn it is not only OK to take control of the behavior of others, they learn exactly how to do it. Boys and girls learn, all you have to do to elicit a desired behavior from someone else is to first want it, and second to attain a position of power so you can expect it.

Donald Trump kissed and groped women unsolicited because he wanted to elicit sexual behaviors. He learned, as all little boys and girls learn, once in a position of power he could go beyond wanting and move into expecting.

A powerful person expecting sexual behavior from a less powerful person seems obscene and wrong to most us. But expecting all other kinds of behavior seems just fine. Thanks to our psychological theories, it has become accepted practice for our powerful educators to expect behavioral compliance from their powerless students and to practice behavioral coercion if they don’t get it.

What is the difference between expecting sexual behavior as opposed to a non-sexual behavior from another human being?

To the brain and body of a human, there is no difference. Having one’s behaviors manipulated by another person is perceived as a threat by our brain and therefore highly anxiety provoking. We must exploit the anxiety response of a person to get them to behave as we want them to, that’s how behavioral coercion works across the board.

Thoughts, emotions, and behaviors cannot be arbitrarily split apart to suit the fancy of others as if they exist in a vacuum inside the body. Disrupting the integrity of an individual’s thought/emotion/behavior dynamic disrupts mental and physical stability, the reason the brain perceives behavioral disruption of any kind as a threat. Thoughts, emotions, and behaviors are personal and private as well as highly integrated and customized to work with the brains and bodies of the person to which they belong.

Forcing children to submit to behavioral expectations of their educators is so highly anxiety provoking, it is likely a main reason 1 in 5 individuals suffer a mental illness each year. Mental illness is such an epidemic we know we are doing some things very wrong. What if behavioral coercion does erode the mental health of our developing children and is one of the things we are getting very wrong? What if behavioral coercion is equally wrong and damaging whether or not it is done by Donald Trump for sexual favors or sweet Mrs. McGillicutty in Room 7 for compliance behaviors?

Do psychologists have the right to condone, practice, or teach behavioral coercion any more than Donald Trump does?

Do psychologists have the right to decide which human behaviors are normal and expected and which behaviors are abnormal and unexpected any more than Trump does?

If so, who gave them this right?

Money and authority gave Trump the right.

So who gave psychologists the right?

Privileged male academics who architected the field of psychology using non-evidenced based theories throughout the 1900’s did, that’s who.

The foundational concepts upon which the whole field of psychology is built were conjured, concocted, and completely made up out of thin Freudian, Jungian, Skinnerian, and Eriksonian air.

It takes very little research to uncover the fact that psychology is built upon non evidenced based definitions, concepts, and theories.

It takes a little more digging to realize psychology shares something in in common with non evidenced based eastern and western religions and philosophies, new age spirituality, and all manner of woo. All of them are built on top of ideals of perfection for what human thoughts, emotions, and behaviors should be, not on observations of developing humans over time in multiple, non-clinical environments.

Even though completely lacking any evidenced based facts or theories, the founders of psychology convinced other scientists they had figured out perfect formulas for how to know how an ideal human being should think, emote, and behave. Early psychologists convinced other scientists they could measure up real live humans to their idealized model of a ‘psychologically’ perfect human to assess which humans have behavioral, emotional, attentional, and/or personality disorders and which ones do not.

Psychologists quickly convinced everyone that to help developing children get as close to being an ideal human with ideal ‘psychological fitness’ adults should practice behavioral coercion on them.

After 3 decades of teaching, caregiving, and parenting, I have observed time and time again that individual humans do not think, emote, or behave in alignment with how psychological theories have led us to believe they do. I have observed the application of psychological theories in our schools wreaks havoc on the mental and physical stability of our developing children. I have observed, in particular, the practice of behavioral coercion, no matter how nicely or well intentioned it’s done, is particularly disruptive to the mental health of a child.

Paradigm shifts are scary. So is Donald Trump.

If we want to protect ourselves and our children from the devastating consequences of behavioral coercion, sexual and otherwise, we need a paradigm shift in how we define an actual person.

We need to move away from psychological and behavioral explanations and move towards understanding humans in terms of how they interpret, understand, and manage information. The brain is an information manager. Behaviors serve at the behest of the brain’s need to manage information, the reason it is so important to preserve the behavioral integrity of each person.

It is true caring psychologists are good at comforting those who have suffered trauma or grief. Psychologists do reasonably well with people once they have developed a mental illness. It is true inquisitive psychologists are good at predicting, if x number of people do y in environment z, a certain percentage will respond this way and a certain percentage will respond that way.

It is also true most psychological research studies are put together and carried out in alignment with the scientific method, but the psychological information upon which psychological studies are built are non evidenced based, so results are distorted and invalid. This is why psychological tests do not replicate well and it is why psychologists have made no inroads in preventing mental illness, quite the opposite.

As an educator, once I stopped understanding my students in terms of their behaviors and started understanding them as information managers, my interaction patterns with them chances.

To understand my students as information managers instead of behavior choice makers I had to understand them for how they recall, order and make sense of information in order to form opinions from which they make predictive decisions for what to do next. If students are making predictive decisions for what to do next, then their choices reflect intellectual decisions, not behavior choices. Behaviors are automatic responses to predictive decision making. What I used to interpret as problems of behavior I now interpret as differences of opinion.

Differences in opinion are easy to target and work through with one’s students. When students are not on edge with the possibility I might violate them at any moment by coercing them to behave one way or another, they are calm, much easier to engage, and much easier to resolve conflicts with when conflicts arise.

Differences in how I interact with students now that I don’t violate their behavioral sovereignty are subtle and and sometimes mostly semantic. I still have the same rules in my classroom, but use these subtly different methods to make sure rules are followed. My results have far exceeded my expectations, so much so I am devoting the rest of my career towards refining existing psychological theories with a biologically accurate, evidenced based theory of the brain.

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