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What is Schema Dynamics Programming

Posted by Ştefan Alexandrescu on 06/07/2017


The terminology

“Schema” comes from schema therapy and refers to the maladaptive schemas taxonomy developed by Jeffrey Young, Ph.D. and his collaborators since the ’80s. It is the problem-oriented component of the field, using psychometric questionnaires developed and tested by scientists to evaluate which are the schemas and modes which pathologically influence the emotions, the thoughts, the behavior and the language of the people. Schemas are triggered by traumas, most likely from childhood and, through complications, when activated, may generate discomfort, stress, challenge, failure and ultimately, psychiatric illness.

Dynamics” comes from “Spiral Dynamics”, a field founded in the ’70s by Clare Graves, Ph.D., and it refers to the multiple values levels layered in the personality, which may be changing in time. It is the results-driven component of the field, using advanced psychometric testing developed by professional researchers in order to discover which type of potential and perspective is enabled in order to support the transformational development of the individuals and societies.

Programming” comes from “Neuro-Linguistic Programming” (NLP), the field developed by Richard Bandler and John Grinder, Ph.D. starting in the ’70s, centered on using complex practical processes in order to provide with models of excellence. Although sometimes presented as a pseudoscience, some fields of NLP, such as metaprograms and values have been psychometrically tested as scientifically valid models of correctly structuring the language, behavior and personality.

ST (schema therapy) and NLP (neuro-linguistic programming) have both common roots in Gestalt therapy.

In some NLP Master Practitioner training, the Spiral Dynamics model is studied.



What are the characteristics of Schema Dynamics Programming? How is SDP different from:

  • Psychotherapy?

  • NLP (neuro-linguistic programming)?

  • Spiral Dynamics?

  • ST (schema therapy)?

  • Coaching?

SDP (Schema Dynamics Programming) provides the client with a flexible set of processes for personal transformation. This enables the functions of both psychotherapy and coaching: it works both for the traumas in the past and the goals in the future.

SDP provides a directed structure. The schema dynamic programmer knows how to recognize and measure the results of the changes when dealing with personal issues, professional goals, past, present and future. The structure is directed in the sense that the schema dynamic programmer uses both descriptive complex maps and tools to knows where the client is, knows where (s)he wants to go and, after considering the available options (tools, processes, techniques), chooses one or several procedures to follow and monitor.

To merely give an example, as a difference to coaching, the schema dynamic programmer may offer his/her opinion, contradict the client and give advice if necessary. The schema dynamic programmer is focused on practical exercises and homework which require a solid amount of effort (emotional, and even physical and logistic) from the client. This work is both oriented to the past and the future and it does not accept the personality of the client as a given, but as a starting point in the work done, which is a mere effect of life experiences and environment and may be subject to change.

Using this strategic approach, with the appropriate approach, issues such as introversion, panic attacks, PTSD, psychosomatization, phobias, alixitimy, allergies, emotional stress response, abandonment, mistrust, emotional deprivation, entitlement, abandonment and others (to name just a few) can be completely and ultimately removed and replaced with functional systems within the subconscious and the conscious.

As a set of tools oriented towards professional growth, SDP (Schema Dynamics Programming) can provide clients with life-changing experiences which enable them to advance in the Spiral Dynamics model within months (in stead of years) and achieve professional and personal benefits such as:

  • job and career change and performance;

  • happy marriages;

  • increased revenues;

  • status change.

SDP (Schema Dynamics Programming) focuses, as ST (schema therapy) does as well, on both emotional and cognitive-rational aspects of the change, but where ST (schema therapy) insists on working with modes (especially considering the psychiatric interventions), SDP (Schema Dynamics Programming) insists on working with metaprograms. Where ST (schema therapy) insists on working with imagery, SDP (Schema Dynamics Programming) has its own, much more effective and advanced process, designed by its founder. Such processes are similar to several NLP techniques but different from all of them, and it does not necessarily involve trance/hypnosis. NLP is also more focused on fast solving of the surface issues, which may work in alleviating effects but not always causes. For example, a metaprogram change can be successful for a healthy adult, but may be undone if at the root of the metaprogram change there is a maladaptive schema caused by an abusive trauma from the past.

Where ST (schema therapy) insists on analysis, SDP (Schema Dynamics Programming) insists on homework and delegating as much of the change work to the client, once (s)he earns the skills and learns the processes a model for personal change. While psychotherapy generally insists on the necessity of the process being administered by a state-approved specialist, the SDP (Schema Dynamics Programming) processes can be easy, independently learned and applied by each client, provided (s)he has the appropriate personality and skills inclinations. In this sense, SDP (Schema Dynamics Programming) is nearer to coaching. While the client is encouraged to use for the self some of the processes, (s)he is not encouraged to become a schema dynamic programmer with other people without proper supervision.

Spiral Dynamics offers a deep conceptual framework which many of the psychologists and psychiatrists are not aware of and not even most of the coaches. On this foundation, an important SDP premise is that almost any NLP-type process can be run, focusing on developing skills and attitudes, once the maladaptive schemas have started to change in intensity. Thus, Spiral Dynamics offers not only a strategic measuring tool, but also a chart, a map of transformations, a clear direction of development once the client is freed from many of the startling issues and also some tools, for most advanced knowledge.


A unified theory of personality psychology

For several decades, clinical psychology and organizational or positive psychology have insisted on different aspects of the human psyche:

  • interpreting the past (retrospection) vs predicting the future (prospection);

  • problems vs. goals;

  • why vs. how;

  • reflective analysis vs. active experience (exercise);

  • addictions vs virtues;

  • learning vs. growing;

  • abstract vs. concrete;

  • personal vs. professional;

  • body vs. mind;

  • solving vs. developing;

  • issues vs. potential;

  • negative vs. positive;

  • mistakes vs. performance;

  • comprehension vs. action;

  • reparation vs. fine-tuning performance;

  • emotions vs. reason;

  • awareness for insight vs. awareness for decision/action;

  • static vs. dynamic; 

  • treating vs training;

  • obstacles vs resources’

  • linear thinking (Aristotelian) vs. systemic thinking (non-Aristotelian);

  • diffusiveness vs. focus;

  • deliberate slowness vs. witty quickness;

  • cautious desurgency vs. exuberant surgency;

  • relationship vs. task;

  • pain vs. excitement;

  • long term vs. medium/short term;

  • acceptance vs. change;

  • diagnosis vs. enhancement;

  • tense strictness vs. moderate willingness;

  • guiding vs. directing;

  • assessment vs. evaluation;

  • teaching vs. knowing;

  • floating vs. flying

and so on.


Differentiating for the future

SDP (Schema Dynamics Programming) is not the only mixed approach available. It may even not be the best. But it works, and it will be tested of how well it works in comparison to any of the separate components to which it is compared.

SDP (Schema Dynamics Programming) is being developed by Ștefan Alexandrescu as a groundbreaking new field with its own applications and is NOT in direct competition with ST (schema therapy), Spiral Dynamics and NLP. It is important that this field would support the development and most especially, the research of these 3 original fields, on which it is grounded. It is not intended as a substitute, but as an alternative, as an enhancer, as a continuation, as it is different from all of the above mentioned.

However, SDP (Schema Dynamics Programming) does clearly enter in competition with:

  • regular psychotherapy

  • coaching

Regular psychotherapists and coaches which lack skills and knowledge in all of these three fields are not accredited, nor advised, nor recommended to clients. As SDP (Schema Dynamics Programming) is a practical field, the researchers are challenged to devise experimental tests and projects to compare the effectiveness of SDP (Schema Dynamics Programming) with either regular psychotherapy and coaching. SDP (Schema Dynamics Programming) is simply different and superior, through techniques, skills and results to regular psychotherapy and coaching. This is not a marketing statement, it is simply a reflection of the reality, based on the obtained. And it’s getting better and better, steady and slowly.

People who are interested in learning these skills are advised to contact Ștefan Alexandrescu directly.

The theoretical component of Schema Dynamics Programming also integrates models from transactional analysis, positive psychology, multiple intelligences, motivational psychology and from landmark specialists such as Jeffrey Young, Clare Graves, Abraham Maslow, Robert Dilts, Anthony Robbins, David McClelland, W. Gerrod Parrot, Robert Plutchick, Brian Tracy (correlating research to be determined) and could be correlated in the future with several other theories. You may download here a synthesis pdf.

Copyright © Ștefan Alexandrescu, 2017. None of the contents of this page can be reproduced without the written express consent of Ștefan Alexandrescu. No exceptions allowed.

If you liked this article, please also read this:

Schema Dynamics Programming with Stefan Alexandrescu (25.12.2016)

How to Live a Perfect Life. Part I. (31.10.2017)

How to Live a Perfect Life, part II. The First 4 Out of 12 Steps, In the Right Order (13.11.2016)

How to Live a Perfect Life, part III. Steps 5-8 Out of 12, In the Right Order (17.11.2016)

How to Live a Perfect Life, Last Part. Steps 9-12 Out of 12, In the Right Order (21.11.2016)

PS: Thanks to Diana Andreea Bădrăgan.

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Some differences between working hard and working SMART

Posted by Ştefan Alexandrescu on 27/06/2017

What is the difference between efficiency and effectiveness?

Efficiency is putting the ladder on the wall and climbing it down the other side of the wall as fast as possible. Effectiveness is knowing on which wall to put the ladder.

Some people learn in life, either by experience or modeling, to cherish the hard work. While this is important and certainly correlated with positive outcomes, it’s certainly not the most important.

Some people hear “strategy” and understand “procedure” or “technique”, hear “planning” and hear “lack of liberty” because some of the most relevant representations of these have been expressed in an extreme way.

Some people consider experience as a relevant source of learning. Hard work, trying and failing, persevering on one’s own path is currently mantra for many. Still, it is, for other people the poorest form of learning.

So if running after some unrelenting standards must be a very precious value in order to ensure quality, it seems weird that some of those who promote them (despite the qualities and advantages it defers to consumers of their products and services) are so tired, bored, unnerved and tense. Something doesn’t quite add up.

There is no need for conflict. Things can be done fast and best. You may learn through modeling more effective than through experience – if you have the right models (finding them requires skill). You may plan and enjoy your life. You may strategize and find opportunities that allow you creatively move in freedom. You may work enough and intelligently. Providing best quality can be a rewarding experience during the process. Want to know how to get there? Here it is some advice I find useful.

  1. Ask yourself every day or as often as possible: what little change, added to the baseline of my performance, can make an outstanding difference?
  2. What other perspective can this be seen from?
  3. How are others succeeding and why? What can be replicated?
  4. What is the proper structure for getting the results envisioned?
  5. How will this be mostly done in 5 years?
  6. Who has the proper experience, results and motivation to take in consideration as a model?
  7. How do you see yourself from the outside when having the goal completed? Backtrack from that moment: what will you be doing a week earlier, a month earlier?
  8. How is seeing the bigger picture helping you with deciding differently?
  9. How is this working plan helping you today with the perfect plan you mean to do tomorrow?
  10. How does changing the people you work with/for support you in making a bigger impact with fewer efforts?
  11. What other useful, important things might you be doing with your efforts if you’d have more time?
  12. How could the people you are working with/for make your work/life easier?
  13. What other people could you choose to work with/for and how could you find them?
  14. What other goals might be more worthy of your efforts?
  15. How would changing the challenges you confront support you to develop yourself?
  16. Who wold get an award for doing what you are already doing?
  17. What would make you able to choose better?
  18. In what context is the kind of hard work you do more appreciated or featured?
  19. Who would benefit the most from your efforts?
  20. Who would care more about your deeper intentions?
  21. How could you reinvent your work?

How do you think about your efforts now? Do they seem more intelligent? Now, that you will be able to do smarter work, you may choose if and in which directions you prefer to work hard.

What does SMART mean in goal management?






For example take in consideration such a table that can be used in order to detail and support any goal formulation, to make sure it can be measured in tasks, time and units, therefore making it achievable in a realistic timeframe set.

How could I improve this goal, working smarter and less, using just some of the questions I recommended?

  • I could use an application which would correct my errors as I type (such as
  • I could record my voice reading the content of an article and delegate to someone to transcribe it.
  • I could delegate the translation into English from Romanian of several articles I already wrote
  • I could write useful copy to promote my services as posts which would also make interesting reading
  • I could write useful articles for my clients
  • Make a plan of how many clients do I want to gain using my articles on this blog
  • Use the time saved to serve existing customers and develop strategies to find new ones


SMART goal






What specifically?

How much? (for each article)

Publish 2 posts/month on Analytic Vision, monthly, covering by 2018 all the subjects in the Excel file (24 posts/year)






1. update excel ideas file 1. 5 mins
2. design structure 2. 5 mins
3. create content 3. 20-90 mins
4. check content 4. 10-20 mins
5. publish content 5. 10 mins
6. share content 6. 2 mins

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Schema Dynamics Programming with Stefan Alexandrescu

Posted by Ştefan Alexandrescu on 25/12/2016


Psychologists have worked for more than 100 years in order to find explanations for how the human mind and personality works, to heal the problems hidden deep inside of us. Personal development fields such as neuro-linguistic programming and transactional analysis have come up with effective and efficient solutions for breakthrough to success. Clinical psychology and development of excellence have been long time separated. Now there is a possibility to unite the best of both world: heal the suffering mind and personality and drive it to success and performance.

Questions for you

  • How would it be for you to find out what holds you back to access your full potential and succeed?

  • How can you confront, heal and solve your traumas?

  • Do you want to find the deep psychological and emotional roots of your problems?

  • Are you ready to confront a profound truth about who you are and and how to get yourself out of your way?

  • Have you implemented powerful changes using fields such as psychotherapy, coaching, personal development consulting but only up to one point?

If your answer to any of these questions is “YES”, then this will interest you.

Please read the following lines, as the world they open up might amazingly transform your life!

A revolutionary approach

My name is Ștefan Alexandrescu and I worked one on one with hundreds of customers since 2004. I have always been interested in finding out why some of the people who came to me for various problems or goals succeeded after just 2-3 sessions and some needed tens of sessions. Now I found out and everything else I knew fitted in like a puzzle.

The key I was missing was offered to my by schema therapy, but I found something even better. Using advanced techniques that I tested and developed in working with clients, I have found out what some might call ”the Holy Grail” of psychology and personal development. I have developed an integrative approach using schema therapy conceptualization and homework, Spiral Dynamics theory, NLP techniques and various correlations with other psychological theories that is unique.

Answers for you

I have so far worked with 6 customers in 2016 and after tens of individual sessions I have come to some amazing results.

  • Do you also want to know and deeply understand how your personality works inside out?

  • Do you also wish to unveil the deepest roots of all your sidetracks that cover your potential?

  • Do you want to set your path straight to a powerful future that will fulfill your goals and talents?

  • Do you also want to embark on a journey confronting all the fears, limiting beliefs, uncovered traumas and inner conflicts in order to break through of them?

  • Do you want to find out what has been keeping you from becoming who you were meant to be?

If your answer to any of these questions is “yes”, then please keep reading, because I am going to present you how and what.

The questionnaires

The first thing you need to do is to complete several tests (psychometric questionnaires), totaling a few hundreds of questions. These will require a lot of concentration and a state of introspection. Based on your answers at those questions, you will have to send me the results and I will calculate your scores, make a few correlations and offer you a free evaluation.

When we meet, either face to face or through Skype, the evaluation must be done with the results open (all the Excel and PDF files), so that you have a full understanding of how the model of interpretation works for you.

The tests I will give you will have identified a detailed list of:

  • your strong points, in skills, talents and personality traits

  • your main weak points, that hold you down from reaching higher goals

  • how these are correlated with your experience and manifestations

These tests work within the correlations between various theories from NLP, transactional analysis, Spiral Dynamics, schema therapy and classical psychology.

The tests can be done for free in a variety of forms. The first consulting session of brief, general interpretation of these profiles is provided fully free of charge, with no strings attached. If you decide that you want to start a journey of deep transformation, a program tailored specifically for your needs awaits you. The program is designed to be flexible and very efficient. It will require time, money and effort, but I promise you it will be one of the best investments you have ever done in your life if you choose to go through it.

You have now the chance to be part of the second wave of clients using this integrated approach between personal development for excellence and clinical psychology. This has already provided amazing results for clients in just a matter of months! Please inquire further if you want to know more about the consulting activity of Stefan Alexandrescu in 2016.

This isn’t for you if:

  • you cannot allocate at least 2 hour/week or 1 hour/week for the consulting session and at least 3-4 times more for homework (journals, letters, goal formulations, lists, questionnaires)

  • you think 50 euros/hour for a program that can change your life in a few months is too much

  • you are afraid to confront yourself, discover yourself in depth

  • you don’t care about what happens to you in the future

  • it’s OK to postpone your goals, happiness, fulfillment or healing time and again

  • you don’t have the discipline to invest the efforts into your development

with the likely results that:

  • you will try to fix surface issues (effects) which will appear in your life in various ways, with little chance to approach the deep roots

  • you will try to fix behaviors (effects) in stead of beliefs, emotions and experiences (causes)

  • the problems will cost you more than solving them

  • feel this sounds great, but you don’t have a few hours to complete the questionnaires

This is a difficult and challenging process. Not everyone is up for it. Are you ready? I can promise you this:

  • you will unveil painful memories

  • you will understand the mechanisms of faulty behaviors that endanger your life as you know it

  • you will experience intense negative emotions

  • you will feel disappointed towards people in your life

  • you might try to find excuses to interrupt the process

with the likely effect that in the end:

  • you will have deep insights

  • you will be able to choose in the present what is appropriate for you

  • you will understand and accept yourself and others

  • you will experience the power of forgiveness

  • you will train the skills you need to perform

  • you will become a better parent

  • you will be able to heal deep wounds in the past that restrain you from being yourself.

Start now!

The first steps are to get in touch with me, receive the questionnaires, complete them, let me score them and receive your free evaluation!

Find out more! Get in touch NOW! This is for you!

Ștefan Alexandrescu

0040 729 034 883

stefan [dot] alexandrescu [at] yahoo ]dot] com

Copyright © Ștefan Alexandrescu, 2016

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13 Hints – How to Separate Value from Mind Bugging In Webinars

Posted by Ştefan Alexandrescu on 26/11/2016

In the past years, putting together the increase of internet bandwidth supporting high definition instant live video streaming, the increasing capacities of server streaming for thousands of people, together with the price falling for hardware technology, internet access (even on mobile devices) and data centers services, more and more learning companies develop business models centered on webinars in multiple formats which promise to deliver some free information to the watchers/listeners and some sort of attractive special offer.

In my experience, such webinars can be somewhere between money-making & life changing to an utter waste of time listening to some charlatan’s bogus.

There are certain programs which facilitate access to various learning workshops providing practical blueprints with videos, audios, workbooks, transcripts, forms, procedures, tables and so on.


Of course, many people might be convinced to spend some time with these stuff, but I’m going to give you some suggestions about how to not lose too much time with this stuff while also getting most out of such opportunities. What you might not know about most of these:

  1. Most webinars are promised to last a certain amount of time. They usually last double, but if you stay till the end, you may find the real offer with special discount.
  2. Very many of the programs offered for hundreds of dollars can be found on the same website with a special significant discount, such just a few tens of dollars or even just 1 $. Of course, if you don’t know how to look for it or don’t at least try to close the page and see if you are tempted in that moment with a lower offer, you get taxed more. For example, I participated in a webinar where they were selling a course for 279$ and I found it at 1 $ while browsing on the web for it during the webinar. Another program was being offered at 999 $ and was later offered for 50 $ after a month for those who didn’t buy it initially.
  3. Some of what you learn can really make you a lot of money and change your life, IF you apply those things. But, basically, when you subscribe to a webinar you find out that there’s about 80% promotion and 20 % content because a webinar is essentially a 2-3 hour-commercial
  4. If you subscribed for the webinar and bothered appearing just for 5 minutes, most trainers will send you the replay to watch/listen whenever you want to, like for example on your dumbphone. This is a very good and practical idea especially if you are not convinced you want to buy whatever that person is selling you. In the same time, it must be said that by doing so, you are guaranteed to miss the time-limited offer at the end of the webinar.
  5. Theoretically, you have the opportunity to ask some questions during the live webinar, but there are chances that from thousands of people attending and hundreds asking questions, yours wouldn’t be answered unless they are very good and posted multiple times or by different people.
  6. Many of them have nothing to do with the advertised subject, they are just a bunch of shitty hocus-pocus new age mindbabble since the time of “The Secret”. I though people grew up and overcame that fashion, but apparently there are still thousands of suckers hoarding in thinking that through visualization they are going to mind-bend the universe.
  7. The most practical things I found are the entrepreneurship, marketing and social media oriented contents which practically show you how to organize business around consulting and training. I suggest you take some of those things, apply them and share them with your customers.
  8. When the topic is not oriented on something concrete about business or sales, there are some things to be taken from the amount of psychobabble, but it must be clearly discerned and that takes very much time. So be prepared to take some notes and not get bored with the rest of the content which might be confusing or useless. Watching/listening to a webinar DOES require some present and active knowledge about the topic, otherwise you might just believe everything the presenter is telling, which in most cases can be very dangerous.
  9. All the payments must also be done through PayPal or ClickBank. If the page you are directed to only obligates you to buy with your card, something might be wrong. Before deciding to buy, check the name of the program being advertised together with “scam”, “fraud” or “hoax” together. See what you find. Some of these stuff are just pyramidal schemes, working on the principle: step 1. give something small and valuable step 2. make people think there is more 3. repeat steps 1 &2 indefinitely until the buyers run out of money.
  10. If you are smart and know a little bit more about the subject, you can implement some valuable ideas without buying the whole program. Or you could use the presentation as a model and learn from the selling skills of the presenter and use them in your own experience.
  11. Whatever the topic of interest is, you may find free recorded and valuable webinars on . Also, look for similar topics in MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses). You might get a similar or better content for free. Find some MOOCs appropriate for you searching on customized keywords here:
  12. The most serious and well-planned online trainings do offer the access to a closed community, usually on Facebook, where you can interact with other participants and with trainers, ask questions and create business opportunities. I think this is one of the most important features, if you have time to access it.
  13. Find out if there is a return policy. Usually, there is something like if you don’t like what you find, you get a full or a partial refund in 7 or 10 days, so hurry up and check if you like what you found. If not, get your money back! Usually, the process takes a few days, so don’t last until the last days, because even if you send the request within time, if it’s not process you might lose the money you want to get back. Some companies retain something like 10-15 % for comission processing or stuff like that, some reimburse you the full payment. Also, don’t use this loophole to abuse the system! If the content is truly helpful, respect the work and pay the money.

Stefan Alexandrescu

consultant in personal and professional development

0040 729 034 883

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Rich Item Conceptualization.

Posted by Ştefan Alexandrescu on 26/03/2012

Here I gave you some examples of items. I have proven how they don’t work here. This article is part IV from the series of articles in English about survey-type research with focus on quantitative measures. Please also consider this list of articles in Romanian about research.

In order to attain the same goal in the second context, let’s say we would have these items in stead of the first:

    1. Do you experience any kind of distress at work, due to other people? [measures weather there is a problem or not]

  1. Yes

  2. No

If the answer is “no”, skip right to question nr. 6.

    1. How often do you experience this distress? [measures frequency]

a) 2-3 times a day

b) daily

c) 2-3 times a week

d) weekly

e) 2-3 times a month

f) once a month or even more rare

3. How does the intensity of this distress affects you and your work? [measures intensity]

a) I feel suffocated by it

b) My work is suffocated by it

c) My work is affected by it

d) My work is just slightly delayed by it

e) I can handle it most of the times

f) It doesn’t have a great, if any effect on my work or on myself.

4. Who, from your office, do you think contributes to / influences the distress? (You can pick one or more choices) [measures cause]

a) the boss

b) my superviser

c) colleagues I work with

d) colleagues in the office I do not work with

e) collaborators / people I delegate tasks to

f) Janitors, cleaning personnel, and other similar

5. When does the distress produces? [measures period and space specific to distress related to the office work]

a) in the working time, in the morning

b) in the working time, in the afternoon

c) in the working time, in the evening

d) during coffee breaks

e) during the lunch break

f) after the working time finishes / outside the working space

Author’s experience in questionnaire design. The Author has worked within a research group developing organizational evaluation tools. Since November 2006 to June 2007, he contributed to five questionnaire designs in students’ groups. Also, he has designed the first psychological questionnaire for application in political branding using NLP (Iaşi, 2004), for which project he was awarded the first prize at the students’ contest EconomMix in 2005, the management-marketing section.

Besides that, he has designed psychological questionnaires for own researches on parental education (2005), self-esteem (2007, 2009, 2011), insurance (2009), memory (2009), he enhanced an evaluation questionnaire for career consulting (2008).

The author can be contacted for questionnaire design consulting services at [at] yahoo [dot] com

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The Questionnaire Design for Surveys, part III

Posted by Ştefan Alexandrescu on 21/03/2012

This article is a follow-up to this one and it refers to the questions presented as an example here:

 Let’s take it step by step. First of all, methodologically. The first question uses a scale with an even number, which requires the responder to mark only one answer. The second item presents an odd number of choices out of which one, several or all can be picked by the responder. This creates confusion, because it requires the responder to use a different rule for answering question 2 from the rule use to answer question 1. No matter how well you explain, it is subject to mistake. You must eliminate these mistakes, out of respect for your work, for your personal branding as a compenetent, non-time waster professional, for the responsibility which you have towards providing actionable intelligence and for the responders’ intellectual effort.

The second question uses an unclear scale for choices, which combined with the words used in the item may create confusion.

If it’s a scale, it must be from white to black, from dark to light, from alpha to omega. You cannot play around with the responders’ perception. If the first choice is “daily”, the other choices may be “2-3 times a week”, “weekly”, “2-3 times a month”, “about once a month”, “3-4 times a year” “Yearly”.

“Pretty often “is a poor choice because what is “pretty often” for someone can be very different than what is “pretty often” for someone else. It could range in the individual perception from once a month to twice a day to all the time. Don’t use relative language. Use precise words when you measure frequency or intensity. And if you want both frequency and intensity for example, measure them with different items. Yes, that means putting the same questions again, with similar scales.

“Sometimes” is a different item for measuring frequency than “pretty often”, but it may be similar. You may use these terms together in rather a six points scale like “never”, “rarely”, “sometimes”, “pretty often” “very often”, “always”. You can also cut the extremes and have it a four points scale, conditioned that the rest of the items besides “pretty often” and “sometimes” are “rarely” and “very often”. I myself I wouldn’t use this kind of vague terms, but they are not wrong.

Let’s take a look at the first words of the item: “How often do you usually”, continued with option d), “rarely”. So the question the responder has to ask himself in order to understand what the item means in this case is: “How often do I usually rarely… ? Do I rarely often usually… ?”. It’s a non-sense. Use logic. If you aren’t used to logical thinking, learn it or drop human resources, NOW.

Another issue with the first question is the word “feel”. It’s a tricky word to use in a subjective description. In general, people are already very subjective when completing a questionnaire. Especially when you measure subjective experience of frequency, it is rather preferable to use moderate, neutral words. Besides, some people could relate more to seeing or hearing than to feeling. In formulating an item, you must respect the reality that people have different perception styles which you have to respect in order to speak on their own language. For these two reasons, it is recommendable to use the word “find” in stead of “feel”. It appears to describe a more objective experience, but in reality the subjectivity comes from the term “tension”. When using subjective nouns in items, don’t enhance it by adding subjective verbs to them. “Find” is more objective than “feel”. Pay attention to the choice of words. “If you ask wrong questions, you will get wrong answers” (3).

“When starting work” describes an unclear event. It could mean the minute entering the building, it could mean the moment actually starting doing work (after coffee, talking to the boss or a morning conference), or it could mean coming back to work after the meal. To which moment does the researcher refer?

Another thing to pay attention is that the first question refers to “working with colleagues”, when the second questions also refers to other departments or family. When you want to evaluate the organizational environment in a specific office, you focus your questions in such a manner to discover which are the elements inside the system not working. If the researcher wants to find out also the external elements, than item 1 must be restated, in order to integrate the external causes. Not to mention there is a high difference in perception weather the responder has a internal locus of control or an external locus of control in context of working in that specific environment.

The first question uses the term “tension”, the second question uses the term “pressure”. Although they may be synonyms, if you used one term for the first item, then you must also use it in the second item, too. Some people might relate differently to “tension” than to “pressure”, not to mention that “tension” is often perceived as internal, and “pressure” external. It’s not a rule, but there are subtilties to which you have to pay attention.

The second question is wrong for the beginning. If the purpose is to find the cause of a distress, you must first consider all the reasons of the distress. Let’s say, for example, that an employee has a good chair at his own office, but when joining others to work on a common project, the table around which they sit has wrong chairs for his back. The person feels psysical tension, but none of the variants are responsible for that. It’s the chair. It’s not someone’s fault, it’s something. So define well what you want to measure and what words you use for it.

Please also consider this list of articles in Romanian about research.

Author’s experience in questionnaire design. The Author has worked within a research group developing organizational evaluation tools. Since November 2006 to June 2007, he contributed to five questionnaire designs in students’ groups. Also, he has designed the first psychological questionnaire for application in political branding using NLP (Iaşi, 2004), for which project he was awarded the first prize at the students’ contest EconomMix in 2005, the management-marketing section.

Besides that, he has designed psychological questionnaires for own researches on parental education (2005), self-esteem (2007, 2009, 2011), insurance (2009), memory (2009), he enhanced an evaluation questionnaire for career consulting (2008).

The author can be contacted for questionnaire design consulting services at [at] yahoo [dot] com

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The Questionnaire Design for Surveys, part II

Posted by Ştefan Alexandrescu on 15/03/2012

Once defined the public, step yourself into their shoes. Create items in such a manner that your responder knows what to answer to very clearly. Use words (s)he will understand. For example, if you want to test someone’s knowledge on pricing in marketing, it’s preferable to ask: “How do you do decide pricing on a product?” rather then “What would be your elaborate strategy for recommending a pricing scheme according to the market, organizational requirements and financial parameters?”. Think simple. Let your questions to clearly state what you desire from that person. Before doing pretesting, use your common sense. What would you answer to that question, if you were asked as a responder? That is the most important frame of mind to consider when doing a questionnaire, because sometimes people are creating questionnaires without even having a clear purpose of what they want to know.

What would be the questions to ask yourself before formulating any items?

  • What is the final structure in which I am going to prelucrate the answer to this question?

  • How am I going to use the specific information from this question?

  • How will I correlate the answer from this item with answers to other items? How can I formulate questions in such a manner to help find better what I want?

  • What is the best items type I can use to structure this question?

  • What would be a better question to find out the same answer I’m going after?

Another common sense thing to consider is use logic when creating items.

Let’s say you formulate an item with multiple choice, addressed to present employees, with only one correct answer, for the purpose of annually evaluating organizational environment in an office with 40 people. This item is one of those which is designed into the subjective individual perception over group behavior category.

Poor item conceptualization

1. How often do you usually feel tension at work around the colleagues when starting to work?

  1. daily

  2. pretty often

  3. sometimes

  4. rarely

2. To who do you attribute this pressure?

  1. to the boss

  2. to the colleagues

  3. to other departments

  4. to the work itself

  5. to the family

Can these items be functional? Just in appearance. The truth is these are some very poorly conceived items.

What’s poor in these two linked items?

Please also consider this list of articles in Romanian about research.

Author’s experience in questionnaire design. The Author has worked within a research group developing organizational evaluation tools. Since November 2006 to June 2007, he contributed to five questionnaire designs in students’ groups. Also, he has designed the first psychological questionnaire for application in political branding using NLP (Iaşi, 2004), for which project he was awarded the first prize at the students’ contest EconomMix in 2005, the management-marketing section.

Besides that, he has designed psychological questionnaires for own researches on parental education (2005), self-esteem (2007, 2009, 2011), insurance (2009), memory (2009), he enhanced an evaluation questionnaire for career consulting (2008).

The author can be contacted for questionnaire design consulting services at [at] yahoo [dot] com

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The Questionnaire Design for Surveys, part I

Posted by Ştefan Alexandrescu on 11/03/2012

Motto: „How often do you prefer not to think hard about the questions you ask?

a) Always b) In Most Cases c) Sometimes d) Soft

There’s a way of doing the right things in the right way. Fortunately for me, I’ve been to a good school for formulating items in questionnaire design and I must tell you the best way for being ethical about this is to do it the right way. There is no room for creativity in the beginning. If you want to explore research methodology, I congratulate you, but chances are, if you’re not a researcher by profession, you won’t choose to do that. Keep your creativity for formulating items. I will guide you through the important things to consider while doing this process.

First of all, any questionnaire, weather psychological or for marketing, has a niche. A target, well defined, like the advertising agencies do it. As a personal note, I think the most advanced profiling system is being done by Leo Burnett (excepting, of course some of the branding agencies, which might have more advanced tools).

Which are the goals of the questionnaire? Depending on what you want to find out, you can have one or more goals. But keep in mind a questionnaire cannot cover all the possible things you would be interested in. Once, a corporate HR manager came to me and she told me she wanted an instrument to measure job performance of present employees and to evaluate their potential to attaining higher positions in the company. I told her she had to decide. There is a structure for putting questions for evaluating one’s potential and there is another structure for evaluating present performance. Present performance is evaluated through effectiveness in relation to the job description, to the objective results and to the peers and potential evaluation is something rather closer to job specification and it requires a psychological approach in questionnaire design.

This may seem natural, but, amazingly, over 90 % of the Romanian recruiters which design an interview questionnaire for hiring don’t know what the want to find out (1). They simply ask classical questions, hoping to hit something relevant. It’s like Ionuţ Ciurea (2) told me once, on the amateurism of beginners: “If you asked a lot of questions, it’s impossible not to hit something”.

Once you have chosen the goals of the questionnaire, decide what type of questions will you use.

  • Will it be a qualitative research or a quantitative research? Will it be mixed?

  • What is the infrastructure for registering answers in a database? Will you choose Excel, Open Office, SPSS, LISREL, or another program?

  • Will the items be opened or on choice?

  • Do you prefer multiple choice items or bipolar items?

  • Will you use a scale?

  • Will you use a Likert scale in 5 or in 7 grades / points?

  • Will you use an odd number of grades to the scale or will it be even?

  • Why do you prefer to use an odd number, or an even number , for the grades to the scale?

This is not a manual in research, but you should have answers to all of these questions before beginning. This is not rocket science. It’s common-sense before doing a questionnaire. If you don’t know the answers to these questions, DROP THE QUESTIONNAIRE!!! Learn how to do it or give it to someone else. If you do not, chances are you’re going to waste the organization’s time and the responders also. People are not obligated to support your learning process. It’s tough, but that’s how it is.

Please also consider this list of articles in Romanian about research.

Author’s experience in questionnaire design. The Author has worked within a research group developing organizational evaluation tools. Since November 2006 to June 2007, he contributed to five questionnaire designs in students’ groups. Also, he has designed the first psychological questionnaire for application in political branding using NLP (Iaşi, 2004), for which project he was awarded the first prize at the students’ contest EconomMix in 2005, the management-marketing section.

Besides that, he has designed psychological questionnaires for own researches on parental education (2005), self-esteem (2007, 2009, 2011), insurance (2009), memory (2009), he enhanced an evaluation questionnaire for career consulting (2008).

The author can be contacted for questionnaire design consulting services at [at] yahoo [dot] com

Posted in Analytic & Critic Vision Over... | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

Procedure for Changing Metaprograms

Posted by Ştefan Alexandrescu on 20/07/2011

Changing Meta Programs


STEP 1:  Identify the Meta Program you wish to change.

a. Specifically identify and fully describe when, where and with whom you are using it that does not serve you well.

b. Specifically identify and fully describe how it does not serve you well.

STEP 2:  Describe fully the Meta Program you would prefer.

a. Specifically identify and fully describe when, where and with whom you would like this new Meta Program to govern your perceptions, awareness and consciousness.

b. Specifically identify and fully describe how it will server you better.

STEP 3:  Try it on.

a. Physically change your location to another chair or standing spot.

b. Imagine adopting the new Meta Program in a fully associated way.

c. Pretend to use it, sorting, perceiving, attending, thinking, feeling, etc.

d. Notice how it feels, how things look, how it seems, what thoughts occur to you. Feel free to walk around with it a bit if you like, experiencing what it would be like to use this new Meta Program. Expect that it might seem a little strange at first because it is new and unfamiliar. Notice what other feelings besides discomfort arise with it.

e. Imagine some specific contexts where you think this Meta Program will serve you better.

STEP 4:  First Ecology Check

a. Step Out of the ‘try on’ experience and move to a new location, leaving it behind.

b. In this new location, adopt the state of mind of an detached but interested observer who can review, from a distance, the ‘try on’ experience you just had.

c. Check it out. What occurs to you right away?

d. Check it out from a standpoint of the low to mid neurological levels. That is, what will this new Meta program do for you in terms of perceiving, behaving, capabilities, beliefs and values.

e. Check it out at the identity level. What “kind of person” would it begin to make you?

f. Check out its broader effects. What effects would it have on the rest of your life and other people?

g. What effects would it have on your spirituality?

STEP 5:  Second Ecology Check

a. Move back to the original physical location — where you were when you were doing steps 1 and 2.

b. Go inside yourself and respectfully submit this question to your entire inner being and all your parts: “Does any part of me have any objection to making this change, or to making this change in this way?”

c. Allow yourself to be still and quiet for a few minutes as you openly wait for any new thoughts or objections to make themselves known to you.

d. If there are any objections, acknowledge them and say an internal “Thank you” for the communication. Make a note of them and continue.

e. Specifically identify how, when, where and with whom the old Meta Program served you in some positive way(s). What secondary gains does it provide that will be important to preserve?

f. How will you preserve them?

STEP 6:  Take Care of Ecology

a. Address any conflicts, objections or incongruities. Use any other NLP processes that may be useful and appropriate, such as reframing or redefining, so that all objections are taken care of and you have resolved the old emotions, thoughts, beliefs, decisions, etc.

b. If you have difficulty addressing any of these incongruities, if any are persistent or difficult to resolve, Stop Here — for now. You can return to this process after they have been thoroughly addressed. Consider exploring other NLP processes to address them in different ways. If you can use help with this, make arrangements to consult with a professional NLP practitioner until they are resolved.

c. When you’re “good to go” and all of your systems give you the green light, continue.

STEP 7:  Permission

a. Give yourself permission to install the new Meta Program for a specific period of time. This can be anywhere from several hours, to several days, to a week or two.

b. Make the internal agreement that at the end of that time, you can decide to keep the new Meta Program, extend it for a longer trial period, or switch back to the old one.

c. At this point in the process, a person can install a new Meta Program simply by giving permission to use it.

d. To strengthen it, move back to the physical location you used during the “Try it on” process (Step 3), and “map it across” to your original physical location. This is done by fully associating back into the “Try it on” state, getting the full sense of it again, then making internal arrangements to create a mental symbol or a few words which will represent the experience. Then walk the symbol or words over to your original position and take a few moments to accept and integrate the symbol or words into your consciousness. Allow it to “self-organize” in its own way, and allow yourself to experience the new Meta Program again.

STEP 8:  Final Ecology Check

a. Go inside and check to make sure all is well and you are excited and looking forward to using this new Meta Program for the time period you have specified.

b. If any last minute ecology issues arise, temporarily put a ‘hold’ on your permission, walk the symbol or words back to the “Try it on” location, leave them there, and return to your original position and state. Then go back to Step 6.

c. When all is well and you are “good to go,” continue.

STEP 9:  Future Pace

a. Practice, in your imagination, using the Meta Program in as many future contexts as you like, until it feels comfortable and familiar.

b. Return to the present and enjoy your new Meta Program!

Posted in Analytic & Critic Vision Over... | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

What Questions to Ask Your Psychologist

Posted by Ştefan Alexandrescu on 17/05/2010

[later edit: welcome to the most read article of this blog. enjoy!]

Last week I have met a former client of mine who asked me how to figure out weather the psychologist he is seeking for counseling is more or less competent. So a good question came into my mind. I would like to share with you my own subjective opinion on that.

The psychological & psychotherapeutical market in Romania has developed during the last years, although themselves the service providers don’t pretty much have any clue on how to promote their services. I know the situation is different around the world, so my suggestions won’t be limited to Romania, but applyable all around the world.

Besides that, there are plenty of specialists, among which you can suraly find a good one. So I will give you some suggestions on what to pay attention to.

First of all, stay away from any service providers who are deeply in love with one specific method or type of psychotherapy. A good psychologist, even if (s)he is specialized in one particular form or method of intervention, must know different and alternative approaches and must be able to provide reasons for why (s)he picked it. That is, (s)he can offer argumented opinions on differences between the approaches (s)he studied and must be able to say why (s)he chose a particular specialization. Also, (s)he must be able to tell you on what kind of problems their specialization works better on. Considering different types of problems, there are different types of suitable approaches.

For example, for troubles in childhood which affect the present life of the client, short-term therapy will not do. It might work: psychoanalysis, transactional analysis, psychodrama, hypnosis, cognitive-behavioral approach. It might provide less effects: neuro-linguistic programming  or jungian psychotherapy.

For anxiety disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder or burnout, you would use neuro-linguistic programming, hypnosis, cognitive-behavioral approach and even psychiatry but rather not psychoanalysis.

So a good services provider must tell you what type of problems does what (s)he’s good at solves. (S)he might even give you examples of types of problems which he solved of a certain kind. The worst kind of answer that you could get is “this works for everything and with anyone” or “I haven’t tried other methods”. If you hear this, just say hello and walk on by.

Another kind of therapists you should stay away from are those who combine spirituality into therapy, or have new-age approaches. If you do not know what “new age means”, please read and watch documentary here [ro&en, php] and here [ro&en, php]. Stay away from these people. Religion is not therapy, although it can offer therapeutic insight. Therapy is not religion, although it might offer spiritual inisght. Keep them separated.

Another thing which you should pay attention to is weather while during talking to him/her,  (s)he interrupts you. A good psychologist must have the ability to listen first, especially while talking to a potential client, and not cutting him/her off while (s)he tries to put questions. A psychologist must, before all, have respect for the client’s inner reality, beliefs and values. That’s why a good psychologist will not approve or disapprove in any manner and in neither case will it emit judgements upon a client’s saying without prior understanding their inner world. A client does not need get the psychologist’s approval, but understanding. The experience of a psychologist does NOT determine their quality as a professional. One can be 30 years of experience and not have basic listening skills and one can have 1 year of experience and have a great deal of interpersonal skills. The quality of the service provided does not depend upon the experience, but upon the personality. Remember that before passing any judgement on psychotherapists or psychologists.

For example, if you believe that UFOs are driven by aliens, I myself would think you’re talking bananas, but that is my own opinion and I am not a psychologist. But a service provider in this field is not allowed to pass any form of judgement, no matter how silly your belief might seem to them. It is your belief and you are entitled to any belief you desire, consciously or uncounsciously. The psychologist must accept it as part of your model of the world, listen to your opinions and respect them, no matter how different they are from their perception.

Ask the psychologist on which criteria does (s)he determine the number of sessions necessary for a certain type of problem and how (s)he structures his/her time during the therapy and during each session. A good service provider must be able to convince you that (s)he has a strategy that has been proven to work.

Ask the psychologist of any potential challenges (s)he has met during his/her career, especially in confrontation to a certain ethical aspect from the psychologist’s deontological code. If (s)he says (s)he has never had challenges it is because:

a) (s)he’s lying

b) doesn’t have enough experience  or

c) doesn’t know the ethical requirements of the job.

Nobody is perfect, and a good psychologist would not deny challenges. (S)he might avoid to answer the question, but (s)he wouldn’t deny such challenges exist. It is better for you to get an answer when putting this question.

Another question to ask is what is the longest period a client has been in therapy. If the service provider answers: “oh, I have clients which go back years, about 3-4”, say hello and walk on by. A therapist who does his job does not make a certain client dependent on him or her, but makes sure that client is getting improvement throughout the process. In some cases, therapy might even take up to 2 years, but any good psychologist, when going after a certain term, must be able to explain WHY (s)he decided to continue therapy with that particular client. Even if it’s a process that takes time, it doesn’t have to take too much time, otherwise you might just be looking at an incompetent or a money-drier.

Ask him or her about the training (s)he’s taken, and about his/her plans for personal development. Such a job requires continuous improvement. If since completing licence or master’s degree, the only training (s)he took was in the main area of expertise (let’s say, psychoanalysis, or hypnosis, or transactional analysis – but only one), it is rather likely that psychologist does not have a broad enough perspective. A good service provider must continuously improve himself/herself.

Ask the service provider what tools of diagnosis does (s)he have. How did (s)he acquired those skills, where did (s)he practice them and for how long? An important part of solving the problem is to call for a right diagnosis. How much time is it alloted to diagnosis? A good psychologist would allot at least 1-2 initial sessions for diagnosis and also must tell you that there is a variate set of diagnosis tools. In some cases, simple questioning might do it, and some might say they have just developed that intuitively. Even if that is the answer, the service provider must explain where did (s)he learn it from, for how long, where did (s)he practiced it, with who, and with which results.

Some psychologists, due to the long process of training, become stiff and tend to think they know it all. The good ones don’t. So they are open to feed-back, as they know feed-back is source for continuous improvement. A good question is “What feed-back did you recently applied and worked”. If they make a pause or look at you blank, just say hello and walk on by.

And, as a final tip, to get a business approach, you can ask the psychologist what’s his/her charge and then put the question: “what are you offering me for this money?” and you will see weather the service provider has a selling pitch or not.

Remember that a psychologist may claim a number of things, but in the same time, (s)he must be able to argument each of those claims with training and/or experience. The simple fact of not complying to some of these request doesn’t mean that the psychologist you’re talking to is incompetent or wants to rip you off. It might not be their fault. In the mean time, the fact that a service provider is well-intentioned or sure of himself/herself doesn’t mean that you should just blindly write a white check and definitely trust them. Some of them might do you more harm than good, even without realizing it.

Another thing to pay attention to is to judge carefully for references. If a friend of yours says a certain psychologist is great, it might mean that service provider is good for them. Not necessarily also for you.

Considering you expect to pay for getting quality questions from a service provider, be sure to get the right answers to earn quality!

I consider that excellent professionals and unfortunate incompetents exist. Both get clients. The problem is that an incompetent ruins someone’s trust to get a good service provider and an excellent professional might not help a customer due to harm done to him/her by an incompetent.

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