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The Owl or the Crocodile?

November 2, 2012

who's talking now, Dr. Boorstein, owl, Crocodile, psychotherapyThe owl represents your best, highest, and most mature values; the part of you that is loving, kind, and compassionate. The owl nurtures your self-esteem and cares about the feelings and needs of others and thinks things through slowly and carefully. The owl lives in the brain’s neo-cortex.

The owl’s agenda constantly changes as different skills, capacities, wisdoms and humor develop. As these skills get refined, the owl can help a person develop a satisfying career or work that is gratifying, and contributes to the wellwho's talking now, Dr. Boorsteinbeing of others.

As adolescents and young adults move towards intimacy and companionship with a partner, their owls develop the ability to recognize and accept or appreciate a partner’s different points of view. Intimate adult relationships include the desire to nurture one’s partner emotionally and physically beyond the most basic survival needs of food, and shelter.  This can extend beyond one’s partner or family, to include all living beings. What I call “The Wise Old Owl” is the part of the brain of a mature adult with a sense of meaning and purpose in life, moral principles and the courage to live up to them.

The crocodile represents the self centered part of your nature. It is powerful and reacts quickly. This can be useful if you are driving and need a fast reaction to avoid a collision, but, in a relationship, this quick reaction is destructive. The crocodile lives in the brain’s limbic system.

The crocodile’s main job is to make sure you don’t die. Depending on circumstances, the crocodile will either fight, flight, or Who's talking now, Dr. Boorsteinfreeze. Being cunning, it will often try to rationalize its selfish actions and words as being right, justified and even appropriate.  To make sure that it survives, the crocodile will express sexual feelings without caring much about the feelings of its partner. The crocodile has a strong sense of entitlement and is without morals.  Here are some of the slogans that the crocodile operates with: “Shoot first and ask questions later,” “All is fair in lust and war” and “What’s mine is mine and what’s yours is mine.” 

The size and strength of your crocodile is influenced by what you inherited from your parent(s).  If your mom and dad had a “short fuse” or showed a great deal of rage, then there is a strong possibility that you may also have those tendencies. In addition, if you experienced physical or psychological trauma as a child, it is likely you will have an overactive crocodile upsetting the balance of your mind when you become an adult. Regardless of the relative strengths of your owl and crocodile, practicing the techniques described in this book will strengthen the owl so it can be the one talking first.Who's talking now, Dr. Boorstein

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