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An Introduction to O.S.C.A.R. THERAPY
By Casey Sugarman, Behaviorist
An Introduction to O.S.C.A.R. Therapy:
Do you know an animal with weird behavior? Dangerous Behavior? Abnormal Habits? Aggressive behavior? Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder?
Do you think his/her unfortunate choices are caused by anger? Or by fear?
This kind of animal is a mystery to trainers, to therapists, and even to veterinarians.
Abnormal Behavior: So what DO we know...?
Let’s think back to the first grouchy person we all remember: Oscar the Grouch!
What do we know about Oscar? He’s green, he’s trashy, and…
He’s in a can. A banged up and DENTED old can. Is he in there by choice? Or is he stuck in there? I think all of us kids wondered a little about that…
When a furry friend’s psychological can gets dented, I’ve found that s/he IS in fact stuck in there, just as you would be, and being stuck makes anyone feel rotten. His CHOOSING to push those dents back out is the thing that can turn him into a happy individual again. On the other hand, if you try to pull him out of that crimped psychological can, he will bite/kick/rear because he is trapped between you and the dent. In the same circumstance, you would do the same. Yet, monster reversal therapy is straightforward, often quick, and permanent, and its name is… you guessed it: O.S.C.A.R.
OSCAR stands for: “operant spatial (for) cognitive angle reach/reversal.”
Translation: these are the brains (of any species) that have at some point learned that reaching out to touch another living being (or fear-inducing object) is likely to cause their own demise. OSCAR is an as yet undescribed sub-category of PTSD.
It is presumed that these animals have a problem with starkly under developed or traumatized brain-to-body mapping capacity.
For non-behaviorists, here’s what OSCAR Therapy is describing:
operant : a positive reinforcement conversation, operated by the animal
spatial : discussing the 3D space immediately around animal’s body
cognitive : animal choices are directed by thought, creativity, courage, learning
angle : the 3D space is described by vectors invented by the animal
reach & reversal : exploration of bi-directional vectors in animal’s personal space
Case Presentation and Diagnosis: Two Opposite Extremes
OSCAR animals will show you two extreme sides of the same coin:
It is always true that OSCAR can never touch you first (before you touch him.)Many animals cannot touch you with certain body parts and/or touch you with/from certain angles of their bodies.
But on the other side of the same coin, the extreme version of “I can't touch you” is often… “I will shove you out of the way.”(If you're afraid to reach out to touch a spider and one falls on you, you will still push it away.)
In any OSCAR animal, Oscar’s “trash can” is located 1 inch to a few feet from the exterior of his body, as if he was encased in a bubble. But for an easier to imagine version, imagine a wall clock. If you were to draw a circle around you, like the face of a clock, and if you stood at the center, your nose points to 12 o’clock, your hind end would be facing 6 o’clock, and so on with the numbers as if they were points on a compass.
When I say that you are “missing” one of those numbers on your clock, I mean that your personal “trash can bubble” has a dent at that exact angle to your center. You are likely unaware that you are interacting with the world in an abnormal way at this angle to your body, especially when the world (anyone or anything) interfaces with you at that very same angle. This sounds implausible to most people regarding their own bodies, so it’s easier to see this phenomenon when it’s occurring in a different kind of body, like in our (unbiased) animal friends.
So now, in order to see where this animal is trapped by dents in his own psychological can... if he can reach out once or twice with said body part and touch you with it, then that particular body area is normal. You want to see them push on you with about the same amount of pressure as you would need to flip a light switch.
Of course, no animal would have any reason to reach out and touch you (or some other focal target) with an unusual body part unless s/he was to earn some reward for trying such an unusual thing. For this reason, OSCAR therapy requires that the practitioner be well versed in conceptual operant conditioning technique, a skill set that can be easily acquired from WillingResults.com or many other behavior teachers.
If she either CAN’T reach out or if he SHOVES into you at that angle, then you’ve found the exact location and angle of the body’s brain map that needs a repair. Trauma always leaves an exact fingerprint of what happened; the speed of attack, direction of attack, and whether the attacker was a living being or an inert material all become directly evident. Past trauma will show itself as a bull’s-eye type dent, like a forensic snapshot of the original insult, frozen in time and space, and shown in detail by the animal’s current capacity. There is no guesswork; the map for repair is now straightforward and built with a standard operant reward system. Here are some examples of rebuilt-OSCAR case stats.
Example Cases in O.S.C.A.R. Therapy:
Tuukka: Canine, age 2, Boxer Rescue
Owner’s Report: Aggressive toward strange humans and all dogs. Vets and trainers recommend euthanasia. Physical exam impossible.
OSCAR Exam: 30 min diagnosis, whole RIGHT front chest to midline is missing, Right and Left lower jaw missing.
Total reversal time = 5 hrs.
Best Guess as to original cause: kicked repeatedly in chest by human right leg.
Current: Great with all human strangers and dogs.
Clara: Equine, age 8, Quarter Horse mare
Owner’s Report: Charges at humans, rears up and stomps on humans.
Vet recommends euthanasia.
OSCAR Exam: 30 min diagnosis, whole LEFT front chest to midline is missing, Right neck/face missing. Right hip missing.
Total reversal time = 8 hrs.
Best Guess as to original cause: unknown original trauma followed by aggressive rider
Current: Perfect around kids, babies, good riding horse.
Painter: Human, age 50, Painter, Italy
Owner’s Report: Curiosity about his own OSCAR fingerprint and expression.
OSCAR Exam: 60 min diagnosis, one thin slice angle at 1:45 o’clock is missing.
Total reversal time = none requested.
Painter quote: “My traditional father was embarrassed by my irregular right foot and made me wear special shoes to make me look normal, and I hated him for that” “Is that why I start every one of my paintings with a wind coming out of the north east? I have always wondered why I do that!”
An astonishing amount of information can be gleaned by keen observation of gaps in animal choice, but it is even more amazing that most of us are not aware of these “dented trash cans” our animals are wearing. Willing Results teaches rehabbers and owners how to apply OSCAR Therapy. The OSCAR approach to problem reversal does not utilize any medium, psychic, communicator, telepathy, or similar methodologies.
O.S.C.A.R. is the acronym for a clinical description first described in New England in 2009 by Casey Sugarman, Behavior Specialist of Willing Results.com. http://www.willingresults.com/
O.S.C.A.R. Therapy is in no way affiliated with Sesame Workshop.org, or its predecessor, Children’s Television Workshop (CTW).
Casey Sugarman, Phobia Specialist/ Behaviorist
Sugarman has been reversing phobias in animals and in people for 18 years.
WARNING: This article is not instructional. Emotional recovery in phobic and/or dangerous individuals should be directed by a professional behaviorist to reduce risk of injury to people and to animals.