Psychology/List Making

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Question
I am doing some research for a book about lists and would love for you to answer as many of questions listed below as possible:

1. In your opinion, is list making a healthy exercise?

2. Do you feel that list making gives people a better sense of control or is it more of an illusion of control?

3. As a psychologist, how do you use lists with patients? (i.e. Do you have certain questions you always go through or processes set up dependent upon one's response to you or a question)

4. Why do you believe that our culture is obsessed with lists?

5. How can list making help propel a person forward? What type of list(s) would it have to be?

If you have any studies that speak to these questions as well, I would love to use them as resources.

Thank you!

Answer
Hello Ray!

Thank you for contacting me here at AllExperts for information for your book.

1. In your opinion, is list making a healthy exercise? Yes and no. If you are making lists of a reasonable number of things that you can accomplish  in a set amount of time (i.e. a set number of things to accomplish today) and then use the list to guide your actions, lists can be a wonderful tool. Unfortunately, many people are unrealistic in their list making and place too many items on the list or place items on the list that are not within their control. In these instances, lists can be harmful. Carrying over 1-2 items from the prior list is okay, but it is best to complete what there is.

2. Do you feel that list making gives people a better sense of control or is it more of an illusion of control? I think it makes the control people feel more tangible when they can look at their list and see all the things that they have completed for the day. They already have the control when they accomplish the tasks, but now they have a written record of what was actually completed.

3. As a psychologist, how do you use lists with patients? (i.e. Do you have certain questions you always go through or processes set up dependent upon one's response to you or a question): I may use lists with clients to set up a plan between sessions of self-care tasks or preparation for a big deadline. There are no certain questions across the board, but if I am setting up a self-care plan with someone, I would ask them what feels good to them, what makes them feel (strong/nourished/cared for/comfortable)? Then we would make a list of these activities and a plan to implement something from the list a set number of times over the week.

4. Why do you believe that our culture is obsessed with lists? Because it is easier to make a list than it is to do what is on the list, at least we think it is. Additionally, when an employer has a list given to an employee, there are clear criteria of what the employee's responsibilities are, that makes termination/promotion choices much simpler.

5. How can list making help propel a person forward? What type of list(s) would it have to be? Ideally, a list of 5-6 tasks per day is about all a person can manage successfully. The list may be shorter if there are sub tasks (I.E. 1) write quarterly report; 1a) collect data from regional managers; 1b) summarize data from regional managers; etc...) or longer if the tasks are brief and easy to complete (I.E. 1) clean dishes; 2) wipe down stove; 3) vacuum floor); etc...). Ideally, the person making the list should create a list of the things he or she wants to accomplish in a set period of time. Whatever is not met should be re-evaluated at the end of the period to determine if it should be moved to the next day as a higher priority or if the task was unreasonable for any reason.

Hope this helps!

Best wishes,
Dr. Luna

Psychology

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Kristina Luna

Expertise

I specialize in clinical psychology with particular experience in clinical hypnosis, borderline personality disorder, LGBTQ, and aging. I have not worked with children for several years and would not feel comfortable answering child and adolescent based questions. My interests in adult psychology are fairly diverse, so please, sent me a question and lets see if I can help.

Experience

I have been working in the field of psychology, to some degree, since 1998. Initially, my work was more behaviorally based, but through my educational and training experiences, I have expanded to a more eclectic viewpoint. I have taught introductory psychology and have worked in college counseling. I have also studied hypnosis for several years, completing my dissertation on basic research in hypnosis. Finally, I completed my internship and residency in a transitional treatment program for young adults (18 - 16) with difficulty transitioning from home.

Education/Credentials
Doctor of Psychology 2009 Indiana University of Pennsylvania Indiana, Pennsylvania Master of Arts in Psychology 2002 MCP Hahnemann/Drexel University Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Bachelor of Arts in Psychology 1997 Keuka College Keuka Park, New York

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