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Our Approach

At the Fradkov Institute of the Mind, we focus on Message-Based Psychology (MBP) as the cornerstone of our therapeutic techniques. This innovative approach differs significantly from traditional psychotherapies, which typically oscillate between Freudian psychoanalysis and variations of Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT). While psychoanalysis delves into the roots of issues in the past and CBT focuses on present behaviors and thoughts, MBP sets its sights on the future.

MBP operates on the principle that our actions, thoughts, and emotions are future-directed. It emphasizes understanding the purpose behind behaviors rather than merely exploring their causes. This shift from ‘Why?’ to ‘What for?’ helps us focus on future outcomes rather than past events, addressing the intent behind maladaptive behaviors and guiding clients towards more constructive ways to fulfill their objectives. This approach is particularly effective for a broad spectrum of issues, ranging from interpersonal challenges and emotional disturbances, including anger and guilt, to addictive behaviors, phobias, psychosomatic conditions, eating disorders, and self-sabotage. MBP views these varied conditions as different expressions of an underlying struggle to communicate specific messages nonverbally.

A key aspect of MBP is its conceptualization of emotions as intricate nonverbal communication tools, providing a ‘dictionary’ that translates feelings into actionable messages. This emphasis on understanding and leveraging emotions for effective communication marks a significant shift in therapeutic paradigms, complementing other forms of therapy and excelling in its unique applications. MBP also sheds light on the brain’s information processing, offering novel perspectives on personality disorders, autistic spectrum disorders, and learning disabilities.

Our Clinical Programs

Our clinical programs apply MBP to a variety of contexts, including interpersonal relationship issues like confrontations and misunderstandings and mental health concerns such as emotional distress and mood disorders. Emerging treatments within our portfolio have shown promise in addressing addictive behaviors, learning disabilities, and autistic spectrum disorders, though they continue to be refined through ongoing research.

Our certified clinicians and qualified trainees under supervision employ MBP methodologies across all services. We do not limit our practice to specific conditions, recognizing that different issues often stem from similar underlying problems. Our approach counters the synergy of related disorders with a collective, MBP-informed effort.

We offer our services globally via teleconferencing and in multiple languages, ensuring accessibility and inclusivity.

Interpersonal Relationship Counseling

Many of our patients seek to build meaningful relationships, yet they often face obstacles such as anger, guilt, resentment, distrust, and emotional turbulence. Most of these challenging emotions are linked to one critical issue: the struggle with effective communication. This applies to romantic relationships and connections with friends, family members, and coworkers.

We believe that effective communication is a skill that can be mastered given the right guidance and a willingness to learn! 

Message-Based Psychology (MBP) was initially developed to improve interpersonal communication. It views emotions as tools for nonverbal communication, crucial in establishing relationship dynamics, including power balances and boundaries. This perspective has led to significant advancements in relationship improvement. Subsequently, we realized the profound impact of interpersonal relationships on mental health, leading to the integration of MBP into psychotherapy.

We offer interpersonal relationship counseling for individuals, families, and couples. Additionally, we provide training for corporate managers to effectively navigate diverse personalities and cultural expectations in their professional interactions.

Anger Management

Contrary to a common belief that views anger as purely destructive, we at the Fradkov Institute of the Mind understand it as a complex emotion that can be both healthy and necessary. 

Anger management is often misunderstood. Common perceptions suggest that anger is solely negative, a source of problems, and a destroyer of relationships, leading to the belief that we must control it, release it safely, breathe deeply, and count to ten. However, at the FIM, we recognize that anger is not just a disruptive emotion; it is a healthy and necessary response in certain situations. It can be a signal, alerting us to issues that need addressing or boundaries that must be set.

Our approach to anger management involves understanding the root causes of anger, learning to channel it constructively, and developing strategies to express it in a way that is both healthy and effective. This way, anger becomes a tool for positive change and personal growth rather than an uncontrollable force.

* Please note that a chemically induced rage is beyond our scope. 

Overwhelming Guilt

Overwhelming guilt is more common than often perceived, frequently stemming from experiences of abuse or manipulation. This condition extends beyond personal discomfort; it actively hinders individuals from taking positive steps to alter their situations.

In the spectrum of emotions, while anger often signifies dominance, guilt is typically associated with submission. Message-based psychology (MBP) suggests that feeling guilty and being guilty are distinct concepts. People possess a remarkable capacity to justify their wrongdoings – from minor infractions to more severe actions – without experiencing guilt. Our research and clinical practice indicate that feelings of guilt are primarily induced by external aggression and manipulation, explaining the prevalence and effectiveness of guilt-tripping as a manipulation tactic.

At the Fradkov Institute, our treatment for overwhelming guilt involves uncovering the true origins of these feelings in our clients. We focus on developing strategies that empower them to alter their behaviors, thus reducing the impact of aggressors and manipulators on their lives. 

Stress Management

Common wisdom attributes the stress prevalent in our lives to the complexities of the modern world. The general advice often revolves around minimizing stress by simplifying our lifestyles and developing coping mechanisms and resilience strategies. However, at the Fradkov Institute of the Mind, we believe in a more nuanced understanding.

The vast majority of stress comes from interpersonal relationship issues caused by miscommunication, unmanaged expectations, and destructive defense mechanisms. We established that the best remedy for stress is managing relationships. What matters is not what you see; is how you interpret your reality. Our approach emphasizes the importance of understanding and adjusting these perceptions. For example, many people feel that they are “never enough” and compulsively pile up responsibilities believing that this is what others expect from them. Combined with a conviction that failure is not an option, this becomes such a powerful source of stress and anxiety that it might cause debilitating pain and illness. This is why it is so critical to learn how to manage expectations, including your own. Expectation management is one of the most effective stress-reducing tools.

We also focus on building skills for effective communication and developing healthier defense mechanisms. These skills are vital in not only managing current interpersonal relationships but also in resolving past conflicts that continue to influence our present. At the Fradkov Institute of the Mind, we work on managing perceptions and expectations, both in ourselves and in our relationships with others, which is key to effectively reducing stress. 

Anxiety

An estimated 31.1% of U.S. adults experience an anxiety disorder at some point in their lives. Some people are naturally more predisposed to anxiety than others, depending on their life experiences and personality traits.  

Message-Based Psychology (MBP) views anxiety as both an emotion – specifically, the fear of being unprepared for potential future events – and a behavior that communicates this fear to others. Our treatment addresses both aspects.

Reducing the feeling of anxiety involves clarifying one’s social role and establishing clear interpersonal boundaries. We’ve found that these roles and boundaries are essential for managing expectations effectively.  For the behavioral aspect, we guide our clients to express their fears in alternative ways, such as through verbal communication. 

Our approach is effective in treating a range of anxiety disorders, including complex conditions like social anxiety (extreme shyness) and various phobias. 

Depressive Disorders

Depression is a condition where the world’s colors fade to shades of grey, where even the smallest efforts feel insurmountable, and where hopelessness prevails, making it seem like nothing positive will ever occur again. In such moments, getting out of bed can feel like an impossible task.

At the Fradkov Institute of the Mind, we understand these challenges deeply. When you find yourself in this state, we are here to offer support and guidance. Our team provides tailored therapies and interventions aimed at rediscovering color in life, rekindling motivation, and restoring the sense of purpose that depression can obscure. Together, we work towards a path of recovery, where each step, no matter how small, is a progress towards brighter days. 

Addictive Behaviors and Eating Disorders

Addiction has become a major societal threat comparable to terrorism and climate change. Current treatments for addiction are often inadequate, as evidenced by high relapse rates, with many individuals reverting to their addictive behaviors. Additionally, new forms of addiction are being recognized with each update of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual.

The traditional view of addiction as primarily pleasure-seeking behavior is increasingly seen as limited. Our research indicates that social factors often overshadow the pursuit of pleasure. People endure significant physical discomfort and pain for social benefits, which may seem marginal.

Message-Based Psychology introduces novel approaches to addiction. We view addiction as a mix of escapism – an attempt to flee from the harsh realities of life – and dissociation, where willpower becomes ineffective. The physical aspect of substance addiction is usually secondary and addressed separately.

Our findings suggest that it’s not just hardship that drives escapist behavior but rather a perceived helplessness and lack of control over one’s life. Our treatments, therefore, focus on these underlying perceptions, aiming to restore patients’ control over their lives. We view addictive behavior as a symptom and strive to address its root cause. Our definition of recovery shifts from ‘learning to control urges’ to ‘eliminating the urges altogether.’

Addictive behaviors often serve as compensation for a perceived loss of control in real life, providing an escape to a realm under the patient’s control. For example, in alcoholism, the act of drinking becomes a form of exerting control, as in computer gaming, the player dominates the virtual world. Eating disorders exhibit a similar pattern of control over food intake or purging.

To outsiders, someone with an addiction may seem ‘out of control.’ However, psychologically, addiction can be about gaining control, even though control over the urge to escape is lost.

Our treatments have shown success in several patients with alcohol dependency and Internet addiction. Further research is essential to enhance the effectiveness of our treatments and broaden their applicability.

Autistic Spectrum Disorder

Message-based Psychology offers a new perspective with respect to Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD): all signs and symptoms of the disorder follow from a single cognitive deficiency. While neurotypical people interact with their environment relying on similarities and analogies to what they are already familiar with, people on the Spectrum have difficulty disregarding the details that make the current situation different from what they saw before. This realization opens new approaches to helping such people to adjust better, become more productive, and ultimately, thrive. By identifying and making full use of their other cognitive functions, we help our clients use their strengths such as strong logic and attention to details to compensate for their weaknesses. We unite our efforts with Rutgers University to provide more clinical studies in this area.

Dyslexia & Dyscalculia

According to Message-based Psychology (MBP), the autistic spectrum does conclude with neurotypicality; it extends to include dyslexia. Clinically, dyslexia is recognized as a learning disability affecting reading abilities. MBP introduces the concept of an autistic-dyslexic spectrum, placing everyone somewhere between clinical autism and clinical dyslexia. Individuals closer to the dyslexic end typically excel in identifying similarities but struggle to notice differences. This insight has led to innovative treatments for dyslexia and related conditions on this spectrum.

People within the dyslexic range may not always exhibit typical dyslexic symptoms (like reading and writing challenges) but might face difficulties in understanding mathematical concepts, a condition known as dyscalculia. While some attribute this to gaps in current educational methods, MBP acknowledges the reality of this condition and suggests effective strategies for overcoming it. These include contextualizing mathematical concepts to utilize their intuitive strengths and employing guess-and-check techniques over traditional logic and memorization. 

Personality Disorders

Personality disorders are challenging to address due to their deep-seated nature in an individual’s personality. Message-Based Psychology (MBP) offers innovative approaches, particularly for Cluster “B” disorders, which encompass Borderline, Narcissistic, Histrionic, and Antisocial Personality Disorders. MBP identifies a shared root among these disorders: a rigid, black-and-white perception of social realities. Although this binary view is a normal developmental phase, most individuals progress beyond it.

Our treatment strategies, while still evolving, are focused and methodical. They revolve around helping clients adapt to social hierarchies and adjust their perception of their status in varying contexts. This approach marks a significant step forward in effectively managing and treating these complex conditions. 

Gifted and Highly Intelligent Teens and Adults

Is intellectual giftedness a blessing or a curse? High intellectual abilities bring with them distinct psychological challenges. Giftedness, often measured by IQ despite its controversies, can set individuals apart in profound ways.

Many gifted teens and adults find themselves feeling alienated in their surroundings, struggling with social discomfort and a sense of being fundamentally different. They grapple with isolation, peer disapproval, pressure to conform, and the frustration of not fully utilizing their extraordinary talents. In some instances, these challenges escalate into self-doubt, frustration, disappointment, and even existential depression.

Research indicates that gifted individuals perceive and experience the world differently from the norm. Dr. Fradkov, himself identified as gifted from an early age, specializes in supporting highly intelligent people. With years of experience as a gifted individual, he offers unparalleled psychological guidance. His method involves engaging as an equal in intellect, directly addressing each individual’s unique needs and concerns.

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