Ed's newest book: Creating Peace Within
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This remarkable book explains how two very different cultures, inmates in a county jail and students in primary and secondary schools, are taught a unique way to look within themselves, decide the way they want to be, and restructure their own lives so they can think for themselves, eliminate conflict, and restore harmony and peace in their lives.
Foreword by William T. Powers
Edward Ford says that he created the Responsible Thinking Process, or RTP, to teach students "how to think for themselves." Since thought takes place in each person's own brain, all people think for themselves-nobody can do it for them. But that's not what Ford means: he means that he wants to teach students to examine their thoughts and reorganize them, so what they think is not just a tape recording of what other people have said, but something they themselves have built that truly harmonizes all of what they want and hope for, without internal contradictions. Nobody else can do that for them.
This book is evidence that Ed Ford's way of helping people reorganize their thoughts is working.
It's not literally possible to help another person reorganize, but it is possible to facilitate that process, to offer a social framework that does not get in the way of reorganization, and even to provide outlines that can help organize the process for those who have lost confidence or achieved a state of confusion, and for the youngest among them who are just starting to get organized for the first time.
The suggestions Ed offers are not attempts to solve problems for other people. They work at a higher level than that. For example, Ed asks people to make a list of the things that are most important to them and then number the items to indicate their priorities. That's not exactly psychotherapy-it's more like coaching. He's not telling people what should be most important, nor even suggesting items for the list (except as possible examples to show what he means). Nor is he saying which items ought to be more important than others. Like a coach, he's just showing people how to apply a technique that uses whatever content each person wants to put into it. The result is that people (like a county jail inmate he quotes) say, "You made me think."
Of course Edward Ford can't make anyone think or tell them what to think. What he does is to create a framework into which people can put the thoughts that are already there in their heads and look at them from a new point of view which they might not have occupied for a long time. This makes it possible for people to start seeing their own thoughts, wishes, desires, hopes, and intentions in a new light, and to explore ideas for new things of this sort in their minds. Ed would never put it in that intellectual or pompous a way: he just says, "I teach them to think," and most people know, or find out, exactly what he means.
It would not do anyone any harm to try to be a little more like Ed Ford. I say this because I am pretty much a heathen while Ed is a person of strong and clear religious conviction-yet I have never, in 30 years, felt an ounce of pressure from Ed to adopt his personal beliefs or to change what I say to accommodate them. That is important to know, because that attitude of tolerance and acceptance is built into his whole RTP approach, and I believe it is as important as the formal process itself in generating the relationships among and within people that he strives to create. When you're not quite sure what Ed means as you read this book, consider the attitude that lets Ed and me get along with each other, and choose the interpretation that fits.
Ed likes for people to think for themselves.
William T. Powers
Creator of Perceptual Control Theory
Author: Behavior: The Control Of Perception
Foreword by William T. Powers . . . v
Comments from the inventor of Perceptual Control Theory (PCT), which provides the theoretical foundation for the ideas in this book.
1. How We Really Change . . . 1
About the remarkable results of Ed's Responsible Thinking Process (RTP), as initiated in 1994 at two elementary schools in Phoenix and four years later at the local county jail with a slightly different approach.
2. Tools for Change . . . 13
Details about what you need to do to change your life for the better: the importance of setting standards tied to your values and beliefs, and how to make specific, detailed plans with measurable goals.
3. How the Mind Works . . . 25
On the basic ideas of Perceptual Control Theory, with some personal reflections by Ed. PCT teaches that we use our behaviors to get what we want.
4. Nourishing Relationships . . . 33
An exploration of the importance of quality time, an extremely valuable tool that has proven to be highly effective for students, jail inmates, and many other people.
5. Commitment = Change by Jake Jacobs . . . 47
On teaching these ideas to jail inmates, by the adult probation officer with whom Ed has been working for 25 years.
6. Teaching Students to Look Within by R. Olin Levitt . . . 53
The story of a fourth-grade student who turned his life around, using a similar process to that taught to jail inmates by Ed.
7. Creating My Own Happiness by Erin Powell . . . 61
Erin has been highly successful as a special ed teacher using RTP with severely disabled students. Here she explains how she applies Ed's ideas in her own personal life.
8. My Own Reorganization by Leanne Newman . . . 67
Leanne works in an Australian high school. She relates how she went through major changes while learning about RTP, and how her personal understanding of the way change occurs now influences how she works with students.
Appendix. RTP Card for Parents and Caretakers . . . 72
For parents and caretakers of children, this card briefly summarizes how the RTP process can be used successfully.
Testimonials from back cover of book
What I read was no nonsense, common sense, reality based information and tools that I will use to be a better person the rest of my life." Jami Newkirk, technology assistant, Clare MI.
The bank, it's customers, and employees have no idea how much they benefit from my conversations with Ed Ford and his ideas expressed in this book. It sure makes my job easier. - John Blanks, Bank Manager, Phoenix, Arizona
I would strongly recommend this book to anyone, regardless of their state in life, relationships in their marriage, with their children and co-workers, as it would help troubled relationships to improve and make strong relationships even stronger. - Jim Rauch, Regional Sales Manager, Mission Viejo, CA
"After reading this book, I realized that my priorities had gotten out of line. When I got to work the next morning, I immediately sat down at my computer and constructed a list of important items, prioritized them, set guidelines for each one, printed them off and posted them where I can see them everyday. Steve Newkirk, school administrator, Clare, MI.
Comments by inmates at the county jail who took the Responsible Thinking class.
"You gave us the tools and taught us how to use them, but we have to do the work. It is up to us. If we wanted to stay miserable, we could. Also, we now have the tools if ever we want to continue making a better life for ourselves once we are on the outside. You did all you could."
"When I started this class, I didn't think of what was important. Now after thinking of what I value and setting my priorities, I realize that my family is my number one priority after God, thanks to this class. "You changed my life….."
About the Author: Ed Ford
Ed Ford, M.S.W., is 81, has authored 11 other books, taught at Arizona State University's School of Social Work, consulted and taught programs in correctional and mental health facilities, residential treatment centers, and school districts nationally and internationally. He and Hester, married 57 years, have eight children, 21 grandchildren, and one great grandchild.