The Hidden Treasure

Where Ancient Wisdom Meets Contemporary Psychology

Spiritual Integrity: A Journey Into Wholeness

Written By: Vic Rebman Ph.D - Jul• 16•13

For those interested in developing a spiritually-based meditation practice, let me introduce you into a set of meditations I recently created for a private client.  He has really enjoyed them and encouraged me to make them available to others.  These meditations are very good for newcomers to meditation, as well as more advanced students of meditation.  I practice with them myself.  I entitled these meditations “Spiritual Integrity.”

Spiritual integrity is a set of seven meditations designed to deepen your ability to live in the world with spiritual integrity.  The word “integrity” comes from the Latin adjective “integer” meaning complete or whole.  The practice of spiritual integrity is the development of one’s awareness of personal wholeness as a spiritual being.  These meditations are designed to guide you in the development of increasing congruency in what you think, feel, say, and do, all of which reflect deeper values and spiritual truths consistent with the mind of Christ.

Through Spiritual Integrity, you are led through a process of spiritual growth that resolves cravings, obsessions and addictions, and heals emotional hurts and grievances utilizing the practice of genuine forgiveness.  With these meditations, your relationship with Christ grows to a “whole” new level.

You can listen to these meditations in any order, as each meditation stands alone.  I do recommend listening to the seven meditations in sequence the first time through; then you may practice them as often as you like, in any order.  The more you practice, the more you grow.

These meditations are available in our store under the Spiritual Growth tab.



Success With Balance: Webinar Quotes for Session 1

Written By: Vic Rebman Ph.D - Jul• 10•13

Dr. Vic Rebman

For those following my webinar on creating success with balance, here are some of the quotes we covered in Session 1 that are great to review and contemplate.  If you’re not enrolled in the webinar, they are still great quotes to review!

Quotes on how our thoughts create our reality:

  • “As a man thinkith in his heart, so he is.” Proverbs 23:7
  • “Men become what they believe themselves to be.” Ghandi
  • “Our life is a creation of the mind.” Buddha
  • “Life is a mirror and will reflect back to the thinker what he thinks into it.” Earnest Holmes
  • “It all depends on how you look at things and not how they are themselves.” Carl Jung
  • “The key to growth is the introduction of higher dimensions of consciousness into awareness.” Lao Tzu
  • “When we change the way we look at things, the things we look at change.” Wayne Dyer
  • “Belief creates the actual fact.” William James

Quotes on the two creative energies; love and fear:

  • “No one can serve two masters for he will love one and hate the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other.” Matthew 6:24
  • “You have but two emotions, love and fear.  One is changeless, complete and eternal and increases as you give it away.  The other takes many forms but they are all equally destructive.” ACIM
  • “The blossom vanishes of itself as the fruit grows, so will your lower self vanish, as the divine grows in you.” Hindu Proverb
  • “Miraculous outcomes are already here, we are simply required to choose them.” Greg Braden
  • “When you realize there is nothing lacking, the whole world belongs to you.” Lao Tzu
  • “As far as I can discern the sole purpose of human existence is to kindle a light, in the darkness of our being.” Carl Jung
  • “War and violence would become extinct in one generation if beginning at age 5 children were taught to meditate on compassion for 1 hour a week.” Dalai Lama

Quotes on the importance of learning to quiet the mind:

  • “He who discovers the perfect peace within has achieved the purpose of life.  He has fulfilled the duty for which he was born.” Paramahansa Yogananda
  • “Learn to be still and let your quiet mind absorb wisdom.” Pythagoros
  • “All men’s miseries derive from not being able to sit quietly in a room with himself.” Pascal
  • “Man was meant to sit quietly and discover his truth from within.” Lao Tzu
  • “Be still and know that I am God.” Psalm 46:10
  • “Meditation and the quieting of the mind brings wisdom, lack of meditation leaves ignorance.” Buddha
  • “You cannot see a reflection in running water.  It is only in still water we can see.” Zen Proverb
  • “And when you pray, go into your inner room, close the door, and pray to the father who is unseen.” Matthew 6:5

Ordeal Therapy – An Introduction to a Less Familiar Behavioral Intervention

Written By: Vic Rebman Ph.D - Jul• 08•13

By Lauren Rebman LMFTA

In the world of systemic family therapy there is a theoretical model by Jay Haley and Cloe Madanes called Strategic Therapy.  This theory has intrigued me since I was introduced to it during my graduate studies.  In particular, I am a fan of a technique of strategic theory entitled “Ordeal Therapy.”  This technique can be used with all ages.  If done right, it can be very successful.

In short, an ordeal is an intervention that seeks to extinguish a maladaptive behavior by introducing an activity that is more of an “ordeal” to engage in than the problem behavior itself.  Thus, by enforcing an ordeal you decrease the frequency and severity of the undesired behavior.

All parents are aware of the plethora of parenting and behavioral tips out there.  Self-help books aimed to increase healthy family functioning are flying off the shelves!  Many of these strategies encourage a point and reward system.  Many parents have found these techniques to be effective, which explains why they are so popular.  However, I find myself working with parents who’ve “tried everything.”  With exasperation, they delve into a description of their efforts.  They are tired, hopeless, and some even feel as if they’re failing their children.

As a clinician of systemic family therapy, I have found myself following the map of strategic theory with these families.  In fact, it is one of my absolute favorite techniques to implement into a family treatment plan.  I have NEVER used it without improvement!  I’ve even used it via telephone consultation and had success!  Ask me about it!  I’d love to share my thoughts and experiences with this technique.

Lauren Rebman, LMFTA

What Are You Thinking About?

Written By: Vic Rebman Ph.D - Jun• 26•13

One of the first Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) interventions I happened upon as I began my studies was a simple, yet powerful exercise by Dr. David Burns called the Stick Figure Technique.  (For more information, you can reference his book, “Ten Days to Self-Esteem”).  The purpose of this exercise is to assist individuals in restructuring their thinking; reframing their negative thoughts and thinking patterns into positive thoughts and thinking patterns.

Awareness is a powerful thing.  In my work with individuals, I have found that many of my clients are simply unaware of how their negative thoughts and perceptions are influencing their daily lives.  That’s what I LOVE about this technique; it is a simple, yet effective way to heighten an individuals awareness of their control over their thoughts.

As I’ve noted above, you can find more information on this technique in Dr. Burn’s book.  There is a particular worksheet he has created to facilitate this exercise.  To add to this worksheet, I like to bring out the good ol’ white board.  This, of course, is a favorite among my younger clients!  They wiggle with excitement and glee at the opportunity to draw and erase on the white board!!  In this exercise, they create two miniature versions of themselves: one of their selves is sad, the other is happy.  Through discussion and interaction, I participate in a psychoeducational lesson to teach them about the connection between their thoughts and emotions; a powerful lesson even many adults fail to understand.  Over the course of a few sessions, a new skill has been learned, awareness has been heightened, and a newfound feeling of self-control blossoms.  It is my pleasure to have this experience with children and adults every day!

One of my favorite successes was an 8 year old client of mine; a young lady full of love for others, a heart of gold, and a very talented mind!  Unfortunately, her strengths were clouded by her inner struggles: self-doubt, extreme fear of embarrassment in front of her peers, low self-confidence in academics, and poor self-esteem.  After being diagnosed with a mathematics disorder, she felt torn down and frustrated.  One day, she was called up to the front of her classroom to participate in a timed mathematics exercise.  All of her peers’ eyes were on her…the pressure was extremely emotionally overwhelming…her peers began to laugh…  Voila!  In one instant, her struggle with mathematics became even more profound and debilitating.

Fortunately, I was given the opportunity to work with this young girl following her experience.  Through a safe and strong therapeutic relationship, her open-mind, a few sessions focused on this technique, and psychoeducational lessons facilitated by myself, she is now able to confidently complete timed mathematical exercises in class, even when she is asked to complete timed math in front of her peers!

If you dig deep into an individual’s cognitive struggles, what is at the heart of the issue?  Possibly a deep self-distrust?  A negative personal schema or worldview?  Self-defeat?  Self-hatred?  A profound feeling of incompetence?  An extreme fear of embarrassment?  A low self-esteem, self-efficacy, and self-worth?  Possibly…

It is empowering to discover that your thoughts, perceptions, and feelings are in your control!  Yes, there are certainly things in this world that are very much out of our control.  But, what we choose to focus on, think, and feel is up to us.  Every day we choose to love ourselves, or tear ourselves apart.  What are you doing?  What are you teaching your children?  What can you change?

Comments are welcomed!

By Lauren Rebman, LMFTA

A New Opportunity: A look at ADHD through skills-based counseling.

Written By: Vic Rebman Ph.D - Jun• 11•13

Hello!  My name is Lauren Rodenbeck (Rebman).  I am a licensed Marriage and Family Therapy Associate at Adventures In Learning.  It is a pleasure to be a part of such a wonderful family business, and I’m thrilled with the new opportunity to share my professional thoughts and stories on this blog!

For my first entry, I’d like to share with you a little bit about myself and touch on why I love what I do.

I earned my bachelors degree at the wonderful Purdue University (Boiler Up!) where I majored in Psychology and minored in Child Development and Family Services.  I had grown up observing the field of psychology and had always envisioned myself working as a mental health clinician.  My studies at Purdue only encouraged me to continue learning and studying the fascinating field.  Excitedly, I forged ahead into graduate study at Indiana University – Purdue University, Fort Wayne (IPFW).  It was in my master’s program I found my home away from home and passion in the psychology field – Marriage and Family Therapy.

Recently, my focus has been working with children, adolescents, and their families as they navigate the stressors of ADHD.  In my sessions, I work with clients through skills-based counseling.  Many of my clients with ADHD struggle with working memory deficits, poor impulse control and emotional management, lack of attention and focus, and low self-esteem (to name only a few).  In addition, many of their family and peer relationships are strained due to their inattentive/hyperactive symptoms.  Parents feel like they have “tried everything and nothing works!” and may be looking for a helping hand, a new idea, unconditional positive regard, and support.  Siblings may feel ignored, less important, and frustrated.

My goal is to conjointly teach the individual with ADHD new techniques to decrease lagging skills, while working with their family to ensure success as a family system.  Sessions and treatment plans are built uniquely for each family.  Through the therapeutic alliance and exercises, an awareness of strengths, talents, and potentials are recognized; eventually, a constructive and healthy self-esteem is built.

Our world moves fast enough.  To be successful, we need to have the skills to pay attention, focus, concentrate, sit still, buckle down, and get the job done.  We need to have the social skills to deal with difficult people, family members, and our occasional frustrating neighbor.  More importantly, we need to have confidence and faith in ourselves to tackle what life throws at us; we need to be able to cope with the stressors of life in a healthy way to fulfill our human potential and reach our personal goals.

I love what I do.  There are few things that bring me more joy than to hear the happiness and relief in a child, parent, or sibling’s voice when a positive environmental, relational, or personal change has been made to improve their overall quality of life.

In this blog I will be sharing professional thoughts and exercises I use with my clients.  It is my hope and goal that, at some point, one of our postings through AIL will touch another’s heart and/or mind.  If I’ve peeked your interest, please stay tuned!


“I cannot think of a single psychological problem that is not traceable to a poor self-concept.  Positive self-esteem is a cardinal requirement of a fulfilling life.”  – Dr. Nathaniel Branden

We’re Back!

Written By: Vic Rebman Ph.D - Jun• 06•13

Hello!  Obviously, I recently took a sabbatical from blogging and am now back online ready to continue posting.  Like before, we will be posting informative, challenging, and inspiring ideas to help improve the overall quality of life for those who choose to follow our entries.  I used the term “we” because in my leave my daughter, Lauren, joined our practice!

Lauren is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapy Associate who enjoys working with individuals, couples, and families.  She has a specialty interest in skills-based counseling with young children and adolescents.  She has experience working with many children who struggle with ADHD and have skills-deficits in the areas of focus, concentration, impulse control, and social skills.  Her skills-based counseling works directly to strengthen these skills in her clients of all ages.  Presently, it is estimated that over 10% of our children are diagnosed with ADHD and prescribed stimulant medications!  The problem with this is two-fold: 1. ADHD is far over diagnosed.  True estimates of ADHD are probably about 5%.  2. Children who are truly ADHD need counseling to build skills in areas in which they show deficiencies.  No stimulant medication alone can improve organizational functioning, social functioning , or other important executive skill required for life success.  Clinical research clearly indicates that to effectively treat ADHD, specific skills counseling is required in addition to medication, if medication is necessary at all.  Many of the children Lauren counsels have remained off medication or reduced their medication significantly!

Lauren will be joining me on our blog!  You can look forward to her postings, as well as my own, on a regular basis!

Dr. Vic

Part II: Skills vs. Pills

Written By: Vic Rebman Ph.D - Dec• 05•11

In Part I, I reviewed the clinical literature which clearly contradicts the “clinical imbalance” theory of depression and anxiety.  Results indicate approximately 80% of the effectiveness of anti-depressant medications are due to placebo.  Here are some other interesting facts to be aware of in the effective treatment of depression and anxiety:

Genetic pre-disposition for the development of anxiety and depressive disorders is about .4.  This means that about 40% of the tendency toward development of an anxiety or depressive disorder can be attributed to genetics.  This also means the majority of what influences the development of anxiety or depression is due to environmental influences and stress factors.

There is no evidence to claim that drugs are the most effective treatment for depression and anxiety.  This claim that drugs are the most effective treatment has been made by the American Psychiatric Association and widely published by the pharmaceutical industry, but is not consistent with clinical research.

Research over the last two decades indicates CBT, not pills, is the most effective treatment for depression and all anxiety disorders, both in the short and long term.

There are exceptions to every rule.  Medications can be helpful, even lifesaving, for those struggling with severe depression or anxiety.  In these cases, however, they should be combined with CBT.

There are several psychiatric disorders which absolutely require medication.  These include schizophrenia and bi-polar disorders.  Uni-polar depression, generally referred to as major depression, is most effectively treated by CBT alone.

Treatment of anxiety and depression through CBT generally leads to the ability to taper off medications with no relapse.  Treatments for anxiety and depression can be just as effective when CBT is used alone, as when it is used in combination with medication.

The withdrawals from anxiety medications, such as Xanex and Valium can produce anxiety far in excess of the anxiety they were prescribed to treat.

Dr. David Healey, from the University of Wales College of Medicine, recently used the Freedom of Information Act to obtain data fromt he FDA on adults treated with SSRI anti-depressants, such as Prozac.  The results were startling and indicated the suicide rates of those individuals receiving placebos.

While these are shocking truths, the news is beginning to get out.  Just last year, in January 2010, Newsweek’s cover story, entitled “The Depressing News About Anti-Depressants” exposed truths about the placebo effects at work with anti-depressant medications.  In this article, they wrote, “Yes, the anti-depressant drugs are effective in that they lift depression in most patients.  But, the benefit is hardly more than most receive when they, unknowingly, as part of the study, take a dummy pill (placebo).”  As more and more scientists study depression and the drugs to treat it conclude, the research suggests that anti-depressants are basically “expensive tic-tacs.”

If you are one of the millions of individuals attempting to treat your depression or anxiety medically, it would be wise to educate yourself.  I recommend David Burns, M.D., “When Panic Attacks” 2006.  This book provides a great review of the research and literature, and a treasure-chest of CBT tools and techniques for developing skills to break free of anxiety and panic.


Pills vs. Skills–Part 1 The Shocking Truth About Anti-Depressant and Anti-Anxiety Medications

Written By: Vic Rebman Ph.D - Sep• 12•11

At any given time, it is estimated that one out of four individuals struggle with anxiety.  The World Health Organization indicates major depression will be the leading cause of human suffering by 2020.  That said, this means millions of Americans are attempting to treat their depression and anxiety medically, and the theory that anxiety and depression are the result of a chemical imbalance has become deeply ingrained in our society.

However…the truth is…A thorough review of the clinical research indicates there is no evidence to support a bio-chemical imbalance theory for either anxiety or depression.

Perhaps even more difficult to wrap one’s mind around is the clinical evidence that the effectiveness of anti-depressant medications are primarily the result of placebo effects!  In a review of world literature, which includes all data submitted to the Food and Drug Administration over the last several decades, Dr. Irving Kirsch (University of Connecticut), discovered the difference between anti-depressant medications and placebos were minimal, at best.  At least 75% of the effectiveness attributed to anti-depressant medications were the result of placebo effects alone.  This research clearly indicates the effectiveness of the medication is primarily due to the positive expectation of improvement.  Ahhh…the power of the mind!

Over three decades of research indicates the effectiveness of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) in the treatment of depression and anxiety.  CBT teaches skills for dealing with life stressors.  Dr. Henry Westra (York University in Toronto) concluded CBT to be the golden standard in the treatment of all forms of anxiety.  His research found CBT to be more effective than any other type of psychotherapy or medication for the treatment of anxiety.  They also discovered that CBT without medication appeared to be more effective than CBT with medication.

While this startling information for most, this knowledge has actively been around for almost two decades.  Of course, pharmaceutical companies continue to reap the benefit of anti-depressant and anti-anxiety medications in the form of  billions of dollars annually…providing a great incentive to continue to perpetuate the bio-chemical imbalance theory, even if there is evidence to contradict it.

Please stay tuned…I have other interesting points to be made on this subject.  Everyone is, or knows someone who takes anti-anxiety or anti-depression medications, making this information valuable virtually everyone.   Stay tuned for Part II!


Warning: Don’t text and expect meaningful communication

Written By: Vic Rebman Ph.D - Feb• 08•11

As a practicing psychologist over the last 30 years I have helped hundreds of couples examine and improve the quality of their relationships.  While the ingredients of a healthy relationship will forever remain the same; trust, respect, and open and honest communication, to name a few, somethings have changed significantly.   One of these changes is the way in which we communicate.  With e-mail, texts, and Facebook, we have new ways of communicating and keeping in touch with the world around us.  However, these new ways bring with them a whole new set of relationship issues through which to navigate.

One common mistake, made by those I have recently counseled, involves the attempt to address conflict and issues through text messages and e-mails.  It is not a wise practice to attempt to communicate about emotionally charged issues electronically.  There is too much room for miscommunication.  Even small issues can easily escalate into major conflicts.  A guiding rule to follow: Don’t text and expect meaningful communication!  Miscommunication through electronic communication is not surprising when you consider that only 7% of effective communication is verbal.  Effective emotional communication strongly depends upon accurate visual information.  In an informational exchange, it is estimated that 38% of effective communication depends on accurate assessment of vocal tone and inflection, and 55% relies on facial expression and body language.  This means that 93% of the information we need to communicate effectively is lacking in electronic communication!!

When I counsel couples, one guiding rule is that they do not attempt to communicate any meaningful emotional issues through e-mail or texting.  By all means, you can text your grocery lists, schedule changes, and positive affections, but leave the communication on emotionally charged issues for face-to-face time together.  Learning to sit down and respectfully listen to one another requires the ability to process all the emotional information available, and in the moment.  Effective emotional communication cannot, nor will it ever be, through electronic methods.  It is only that human-to-human, face-to-face communication, with a genuine desire to understand and respect one another, that we have the ability to accurately interpret and convey the emotional information we need to both give and receive in building and enriching genuine emotional intimacy. 

For more information on building effective relationship communication, I highly recommend John Gottman’s book, The Relationship Cure.  In this book, Dr. Gottman lays out five steps for guiding and strengthening marriages, families, and friendships.  This book has a good deal of useful information.

Critical Thinking: Why ask why?

Written By: Vic Rebman Ph.D - Aug• 01•10

I remember when our daughter was around 3 or 4 years old and it seemed like 90% of her vocabulary consisted of the word “why.”  Everything generated a question and there was not an aswer that would satisfy her curiosity.  At that age, children are learning about cause and effect and the process of questioning every aspect of their life experience, from brushing teeth and eating vegetables to why Santa rides in a sleigh and not a mini-van is open for discussion.  It is now easy to find the humor in what were then very trying times!  It is unfortunate that we grow so far away from that childhood curiosity to question every life experience, because it is the willingness to ask why that is at a foundation of developing strong critical thinking skills.

When I complete selection assessment reports for businesses seeking to evaluate the quality of fit of a candidate for employment, the first measure is an assessment of critical thinking skills.  Individuals with strong critical thinking skills think faster under pressure and draw more accurate conclusions from the data and information they have at hand.  To an organization, these individuals are far more likely to avoid costly errors in judgment, find cost savings others miss, and devise the strategies that improve operational functions.  These are folks who never stopped asking “Why?”

The willingness to ask “why?” is the courage to question and challenge assumptions.  When we stop questioning the underlying assumptions upon which our methods and practics are built, we become locked into strategies and procedures which can ultimately become outdated and ineffective.  Our methods can become less than optimal, even outdated, and we have no way of knowing it, because that’s the way it’s always been done and we don’t ask “why?”

The failure to ask this question is the failure to constantly challenge assumptions, explore new possibilities and discover new solutions.  Great organizations are filled with folks who never stopped asking “why?”  Are you one of them?