It  Seemed  Like  a  Good  Idea  at  the  Time….

  An  Executive  Function  Analysis    
By  Jane  Gilgun    

    ow  wonderful  and  freeing  to  be  spontaneous  and  just  do  it!!    Take  that   tumble  in  the  sack.  That  will  feel  so  good.  Who  cares  if  you’re  married?  Take   a  couple  of  those  valium  you  spotted  in  a  friend’s  medicine  cabinet.  He’ll   never  miss  them  and  you  will  feel  so  relaxed.  Give  in  to  that  temptation  to  put   someone  else  down.  How  good  it  feels.  Who  thinks  about  consequences?    Who   cares?     Have  you  ever  done  something  that  seemed  like  a  good  idea  at  the  time  and  then   you  had  regrets  afterward?  I  have.  I’ve  also  done  lots  of  interviews  with  people  who   told  me  stories  of  how  wonderful  they  felt  doing  what  seemed  to  be  the  fulfillment   of  their  dreams.  Then  comes  the  crash.  They  are  in  a  mess  when  the  clouds  of  fun   and  even  ecstasy  blow  away  and  the  sun  shines  brightly  on  their  deeds.     I  think  of  Olivia,  11  years  old,  looking  at  a  pen  that  seemed  to  sparkle  and  say  I  am   yours.  Olivia  took  it  and  walked  out  of  the  store  without  paying.  Later,  she  was   ashamed.  Too  afraid  to  bring  the  pen  back,  she  threw  it  away.     How  about  Jason?    He  tasted  wine  at  communion  at  church.  It  tasted  wonderful.  He   returned  to  the  sacristy  during  coffee  hour.  The  first  sips  filled  him  with  warmth  and   light.  He  kept  sipping.  By  the  time  he  had  sipped  half  a  bottle,  he  had  passed  out  and   fell  to  the  floor.    A  member  of  the  altar  guild  found  him,  his  mouth  full  of  vomit.  She   cleared  his  mouth  and  may  have  saved  his  life.    Church  members  watched  as  the   paramedics  carried  him  to  the  ambulance.     Mattias  daydreamed  about  sexual  encounters  with  beautiful  women.  He  practically   wrote  plays  about  them  he  was  so  detailed  in  his  daydreams.  She  would  look  deep   into  her  eyes  and  tell  him  she  loved  him.  When  he  entered  her,  the  two  of  them  


    3.  where  I  met  him  and  interviewed  him.     2.    Whatever  you  have  imagined.  Expound  upon  how  good  it  feels  and  how  much  you  deserve  these   wonderful  feelings.  She  picked  him  out  in  a  lineup.  Do  an  EF  analysis  with  any  persons  your  actions  might  affect.     .  He  waited  for  her  and  called  her  name.     6.  She  ran   from  him.  Wait  another  week  or  more.  Best   of  all  do  both.would  fly  to  the  moon  they’d  have  such  a  high.     2.     4.  Wait  and  do  another  EF  analysis.  List  the  benefits  to  you  of  this  course  of  action.    It  involves  thinking  through  who  will  benefit  and  who  will  be  hurt   by  actions.  Talk  about  the  awful  things  that  have  happened  to  you  in  your   life  and  how  much  you  want  to  feel  good.     7.  Go  into  great  detail  about  that.     These  are  just  a  few  examples  of  the  countless  ways  people  get  themselves  in   trouble.  That’s  not  how  it  was  supposed   to  be.  Don’t  forget  to  include  how  good   you  will  feel  and  how  much  other  people  want  you  to  do  the  action.  and  penetrated.  The  principles  to  follow  are     1.  Write  down  or  talk  out  loud  to  someone  else  in  detail  about  the  action  you  would   like  to  take.  Exhaust  yourself  explaining   what  this  action  means  to  you.  write  down  or  tell  another  person.  they  might  have  made  other   choices.  Go  on  and  on.  I’ll  explain  that  later.  She  bit  him.     5.    Here’s  a  list  of  ways  of  deciding  whether  something  that  seems  like  a  good   idea  is  a  good  idea.  Talk  about  how  much  other  people  will   benefit.     1.  Continue  this  process  until  you  feel  grounded  and  solid  about  your  course  of   action.  DNA  evidence   clinched  it.  he  grabbed  her  and  pushed  her  against  the  garage.     An  Executive  Function  Analysis     An  EF  analysis  is  an  examination  of  the  many  possible  consequences  of  actions   you’d  like  to  take.  Mattias  is  in  prison.   he  saw  her  pulling  into  her  garage.   pulled  her  clothes  off.  Do  an  executive  function  (EF)  analysis.  Walking  home  after  a  night  at  the  bar.  Do  an  EF  analysis  under  many  different  emotional  conditions  over  a  week’s  time.  Talk  to  a  trusted  person  three  times  in  a  week’s  time  about  the  various  meanings   and  consequences  that  any  action  you  are  considering  may  have.  Enraged  and  confused.  He  punched  her  and  ran.    Had  each  of  them  done  a  little  bit  of  thinking.    Make  a  decision   that  all  persons  affected  agree  to.

    9.     6.     7.  more  or  less  depending  upon  the  outcome  of  each   conversation.       Discussion     An  EF  analysis  sure  cuts  into  fun  and  spontaneity.  but  the  issue  is  who  is  harmed  or  hurt  in  the  short  and  long-­‐term.  Ask  the  persons  who  will  be  affected  by  your  action  to  go  with  you  to  talk  to  a  fair-­‐ minded  person  who  will  not  be  affected  by  your  action  and  preferably  does  not   know  anyone  affected.    Listen  carefully  to  what  they  have  to  say.  such  as  changing  jobs  or   moving  house.  List  the  benefits  to  others  of  your  course  of  action.  Some  people  may  not  like  your  decision.  List  the  possible  downsides  to  you  of  this  course  of  action.     5.  Be  sure  that  everyone  involved  is  in   agreement  that  you  course  of  action  benefits  yourself  and  others  and  brings  no   harm  to  others.  EF  analyses  may  also  help  you  avoid  public  shame.     4.    It  takes  some  judgment  to  know   when  spontaneity  results  in  lasting  fun  or  not.    Talk  to  each  person  about  the  benefits  and   downsides  that  you  anticipate  for  them  and  for  you.    EF  analyses  are  important  to  do  if  you  are  to  live  with   yourself  and  others  in  some  kind  of  peace  and  avoid  hurtful  consequences  to  others   and  to  yourself.         The  point  of  an  EF  analysis  is  to  do  no  harm  and  possibly  to  promote  the  well-­‐being   of  others  and  yourself.  talk  to  at  least  two  fair-­‐minded  persons  who  will   not  be  affected  by  your  actions.  Ask  each  person  who  would  be  affected  by  your  planned  course  of  action  to  list   and  talk  about  the  benefits  and  downsides  of  the  actions  you  would  like  to  take.  Even  doing  a  little  bit  of  the  full  analysis  is  better  for  you  and  others   than  not  doing  it  at  all.    It  would  be  great  to  do  this   three  times  in  three  weeks.  and  respected.  heard.  Listen   carefully  to  what  this  outsider  has  to  say.     8.  List  the  possible  downsides  to  others  of  this  course  of  action.  take  all  the  time  needed  to  consider  everyone’s  views   on  the  upsides  and  downsides  of  your  course  of  action.     10.     .  Make  a  decision  about  your  action.  Do  this  until  you  have  examined  all  the   consequences  you  can  think  of  and  have  come  to  some  peace  about  the  possible   consequences.  Whether  you  agree  or  disagree.    Sometimes  it  is  a  good  idea  to  do  an   EF  analysis.3.    Then.    Talk  to  each  person  who  would  be  affected  by  your  action  about  the  benefits  and   downsides  that  they  anticipate.  Talk  about  the   benefits  and  downsides  that  persons  who  will  be  affected  have  pointed  out.    Talk  about  the  benefits  and  downsides  that  you  see   for  yourself  and  for  others.  Do  this  until  everyone   concerned  feels  listened  to.

 390-­‐398.  Psychiatric  Annals   35(5).  Journal  of  Neuropsychiatry  and  Clinical   Neurosciences.   Moore.  Jane  F.  &  Richards­‐Child-­‐Family-­‐ Assessment/dp/1450586104/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1368027196&sr=1-­‐ 2&keywords=gilgun+NEATS%3A+a+child+and+family+assessment   Lieberman.  The  NEATS:  A  child  &  family  assessment  (2nd  ed.  Diagnostic  and  therapeutic   dilemmas  in  the  management  of  pediatric-­‐onset  bipolar  disorder.  Barnes  &  Noble.  Eric  J.   Davies.  Constance  M.10–15.  Meghan  Dougherty.  Wolf  (2007).com/Child-­‐Sexual-­‐Abuse-­‐Realities-­‐ ebook/dp/B0022NGUDO/ref=sr_1_1?s   Gilgun.  is  a  writer  and  professor.  15..About  the  Author     Jane  F.   Belmont.     Mash.  163.  Amazon.  LICSW.  Hooper.  (2005).  Bessel  A.   .  Alicia  F.  (2004).  Assessment  and  development  of  executive  function   (EF)  during  childhood.  Perry  F.   http://www.  62.  http://www.  Eric  Mick.  PhD.  Joseph  Biederman.  Neurometabolic  functioning  and  neuropsychological  correlates  in   children  With  ADHD-­‐H:  Preliminary  findings.  (2010).   and  children’s  stories  on  scribd.  Infant  Mental  Health   Journal.  Jane  F.).  316–318.  8(2).  books.  25(4).  Terri  Harpold.  Lester  Kwock.  Renshaw  (2006).  Differences  in  brain  chemistry  in  children  and   adolescents  with  attention  deficit  hyperactivity  disorder  with  and  without  comorbid   bipolar  disorder:  A  proton  magnetic  resonance  spectroscopy  study.  Child  Neuropsychology.    Child  sexual  abuse:  From  harsh  realities  to  hope  (2nd   ed.   Wozniak  J.  American   Journal  of  Psychiatry.  Edin   Randall.  Traumatic  stress  and  quality  of  attachment:   Reality  and  internalization  in  disorders  of  infant  mental  health.  (2012).  63-­‐69.  iBooks.       References     Anderson.  Camille  Fine.   New  York:  Guilford.  336-­‐351.  Peter  (2002).).  Abnormal  child  psychology  (4th  ed.  (2004).  Paul  Hammerness.  Child  Development:  A  practitioner’s  guide  (2nd  ed.  Douglas  (2004).   Van  der  Kolk.A.  &  David  A.  Megan  Wardrop..  Biederman  J.   rational  diagnosis  for  children  with  complex  trauma  histories.  (2001).  Developmental  Trauma  Disorder:  A  new..  and  other  internet   book  sellers.  Stephen  71-­‐82   Courvoisie.  Helen.  Megan   Aleardi.   Gilgun.  Journal  of  Clinical   Psychiatry.).  &  Mauricio   Castillo.  See  Jane’s  other  articles.).  Janet  Wozniak.  CA:  Wadsworth.

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