Christine B. L. Adams, MDThe Emotional Conditioning Expert
You can improve all of your relationships and enhance your life.
Christine B. L. Adams, MD, a child and adult psychiatrist, is responsible for bringing to the forefront the new concept of emotional conditioning and how it creates your personality and shapes your relationships throughout your life.
Time and again I have found people curious about why their children, spouses or dating partners behave as they do. Many patients tell me they have lost confidence in themselves, feel anxious or depressed, and are desperately trying to figure out a new path.
Throughout my career I have worked in many places – private practice, academia, community mental health, for the Social Security Administration, the Department of Defense, and in courtrooms in custody and visitation disputes.
I have published widely in psychiatry journals and books. I also teach university classes for older people on personalities and relationships.
I am also co-author with Homer B. Martin, M.D., of the book, Living On Automatic: How Emotional Conditioning Shapes Our Lives and Relationships, which offers an exciting and groundbreaking new concept of how people relate to one another. (See my Book Page for more details.)
Why Is This Work Important To Me?
Why are you passionate about helping people with their relationship difficulties?
I grew up surrounded by psychiatry. My father was a university-based child psychiatrist and my mother was secretary to the world-renowned psychiatrist, Sandor Rado, M.D., a protégé of Freud. Many of their friends who visited us were also psychiatrists. By age ten I knew I wanted to follow in my father’s and great grandfather’s footsteps.
Then, when I began my psychiatry residency, I met Homer Martin, M.D., who became my mentor. He taught me about the importance of good close relationships for emotional health and the impact that poor and conflicted relationships have in creating emotional illnesses. Dr. Martin discovered an insightful new concept he called Emotional Conditioning. This concept concerns how personalities form and how people conduct relationships with one another that create chaos and suffering.
Dr. Martin also developed a new treatment approach for Emotional Conditioning, called Deconditioning Psychotherapy. I learned about his discoveries and, as a child psychiatrist, I added to his concept an understanding of how children’s personalities are formed and how children are taught to conduct relationships at very young ages. Dr. Martin and I have 80 years of combined experience in treating thousands of people, from infants to adults in their 90s.
Have you had any personal experiences that caused you to be curious about people and your relationships with them?
When I was eighteen I took an introductory psychology class. When I didn’t understand some of the ideas being taught, I asked the professor questions. Shortly after the class began the professor summoned me to her office. She was irate that I was asking questions in class. I was offended, furious, but mostly confused. I asked her, “What am I supposed to do when I don’t understand what you are teaching?” She replied, “Your job is to take notes, memorize what I teach and then take the exam on the information I have taught you.” I protested, “But my job is to understand what I am learning. The only way I know to do this is by asking questions.”
This example of a highly educated woman being angry and behaving irrationally caused me to ask questions: Why was she angry? What causes a bright, educated person to make irrational decisions when her emotions are involved? Why do some people act unreasonably while others do not? These unseen, unknown forces in my relationship with my psychology professor controlled my life while I was a student in her class.
We all have these unknown constraints operating in our thinking, beliefs, and how we relate with others. I wanted to learn what these are. Eventually, Dr. Martin’s concept of Emotional Conditioning helped me understand what shapes our emotions, thoughts, and behaviors, and gave me valuable insights on how people can create helpful relationships and avoid emotional illnesses.