COUN 120: Quest for Identity/Life Skills

Section Number 30150

Catalog Description:

An exploration of the dynamics involved in the development of the individual in the search for identity and self-discovery. Specific emphasis will be placed on the decision-making process particularly as it relates to the individual’s own humanness, value system, and unique functioning. Emphasis will also be placed on the role of culture and a set of life skills that will serve to empower one’s identity and understanding of self. Examples of life skills include coping with the physiological effects of stress and anxiety, goal setting, emotional development, problem solving, critical thinking skills, creative self-expression, self-esteem, and interpersonal communication. CSU, Closed Captioned


Ventimiglia, T.

Class Meetings:

On the following Tuesdays: 2/6, 2/20, 3/13, 3/20, 4/10, 4/24, 5/8, 5/22
Room: HS-204

Options for Viewing Video Lectures
  1. Cable Television: Cox Cable North – CH 16, Time Warner Cable North – CH 16,
    and AT&T U-verse CH – 99
    See airtimes and specific channel info at: COUN 120
  2. Webcast online.
  3. Watch lessons online by logging into Canvas. See log-in instructions below.
  4. Check out DVDs from the libraries on the San Marcos main campus and the Escondido Education Center.
  5. For more information go to:
    Broadcast Information
Class Outline

Course materials are available the Friday prior to when classes begin. Access your course outline, assignments, handouts and announcements, as well as view video lessons in Canvas.


PASSWORD: Palomar eServices Password

Textbook and Other Required Materials:

Quest for the Empowered Self, 4th Edition, Tom Ventimiglia
Note: This book is not available at the Campus Bookstore. You can only purchase it at the Off-Campus Bookstore

Please contact instructor for textbook/online course material information.

Video Series Entitled:

Quest for the Empowered Self

Video Lesson Titles:

1) Finding Your Life Answers Within
We have gone to the moon, split the atom, unraveled the genetic code, and probed the birth of the universe, all with technological triumphs. But when triumphs within ourselves are not achieved, we feel stagnate, lost, and have no purpose. This program will help you to value your internal world and identify the obstacles to making inner change, why it is hard to make inner change, why many don’t change, and how to start making inner changes so you can reach for your empowered self.

2) How to Make Inner Changes
This program discusses the consequences of relying on the external world for approval of your self and life direction. You will learn to refocus on how to make inner changes and empower your identity by answering the four questions of Who am I?, Where am I going?, Why am I going there?, and How do I get there? This is achieved through examining your important life events, people in your life, and past wounds that are affecting your present quality of life. An introduction to the book is also presented.

3) Values Clarification
Why do you hold your current values? When you were young, biological and social value conditioning shaped your identity such as culture, parents, religion, the media, and education. This made you either strengthen your true self-nature or misdirected and/or wounded that self. Exercises like the five keys to value development, answering value questions, and the value clarification assignment will allow you to choose values that reflect your true self instead of somebody else’s. Nothing shapes your identity and drives your behavior more than your values.

4) Discovering What Motivates You
In this program, you will examine the messages you acquired from your family, as well as the influence of family careers, how birth order affected you, the beliefs that were instilled into you, the fears, the traditions, and the talents you acquired from your family and cultural background. This will help you to get a clearer sense of who you are and where you come from. You will view a student group activity that reveals what the oldest, middle, youngest, and only child experienced when they were young. As a result, you will begin to understand what shaped your self-image and how to develop a sense of self that transcends your conditioning. You will also be able to identify internal and external motivators that will bring out the best in you.

5) Discovering Your Personality
Use this personality inventory the CIA relies on to help agents understand the behavior of individual world leaders, Stanford University uses to improve students’ interpersonal skills, and the U.S. Postal Service applies to help employees resolve conflicts. After taking the test, you will discover your dominant personality with all of its fears, desires, strengths, and weaknesses. You will also gain insight into understanding the behavior and hidden motives of others, communicate with others in a positive, non-threatening way, and reach the awaiting potential of your own personality allowing you to reach higher levels of personal freedom and liberation.

6) Personality Theories/Writing a Life Mission Statement
In this program you will learn several personality theories that have dominated the thinking of humankind over the past several thousand years and some are new within the last 70 years. These theories will help you to develop a philosophy about human nature and behavior. Therefore, you can discover which theory works best with your personality so you can take control of your behavior and empower yourself to lead a happy, healthy, and productive life. Further, you will learn the 7 steps to discovering your mission which will allow you to write a great life mission statement that will guide you through life’s joys and challenges.

7) Accessing the Intuitive Mind
This program will teach you to access your inner guidance system so you can access your creative, intuitive mind and make great decisions that reflect your true values and life purpose. Instead of confused thinking often produced by conflicting and misleading messages from parents, media, and other conditioning agents, you will learn key rituals which help you access your “inner heart” so you can be liberated to freely be you, have clarity of thought, and gain direction in life.

8) Increasing Your Emotional Intelligence
You will learn to identify, understand, and process your emotions to cope with internal and external stressors so you can feel confidence, stability, and inner joy instead of being weighed down by emotions like anger, hurt, and fear. This will enable you to enhance your relationships with others instead of letting your emotions damage them, thereby increasing your emotional intelligence.

9) Belief/Attitude Systems
This program will teach you the 7 step belief changer which empowers you to acquire empowering beliefs about life and yourself and eliminate disempowering beliefs and fears like the fear of failure and fear of success. You will also learn the 5 step method for challenging negative beliefs and attitudes so you can combat pessimism and achieve optimism.

10 & 11) Life Balance Part 1 & 2
For over the past decade, increasing demands upon the individual both at home and at work has contributed to a lack of meaning and purpose as well as a rise in stress and anxiety levels, depression, powerlessness, addictions, and escapes into alcohol, food, and other habits. You will view a student group activity as they demonstrate a meditation exercise to gain centeredness. This program also teaches you how to achieve life balance by spending time each day in the four key areas of life with the help of the proven “Power Hour Card.” Especially for highly busy people, the card will keep you accountable so you can feel greater levels of peace while staying productive. As a result, higher levels of control, centeredness, and harmony will be brought back into your life and a sense of wholeness will be left with you at bedtime.

12) Correcting Your Thinking Errors
Have you ever said to yourself, “I’ll never find the right person for me.” Or, “they’re not home, they must be in an accident,” or “what is the use of trying again when I have already failed.” We learned at a young age to assume the worst, reach conclusions without all of the evidence, distort the truth because of our own insecurity, and personalize things that have nothing to do with us. In this program, you will learn how to identify the most common thinking errors and correct them using the six steps to clear thinking so you can empower your thoughts, emotions, and mind. Understanding the “inner workings” of your mind will allow you to be able to spot thinking errors when you blow things out of proportion, use all or nothing thinking, prejudice thinking, over generalized thinking, and many others.

13) Stress Busters That Work
“Job stress costs American industry more than $150 billion a year in absenteeism, lost productivity, accident, and medical insurance.” You will learn in this program several clinically proven state of the art stress busters that soothe the mind and body to bring more peace of mind. Examples include: nature-guided imagery, focused breathing, fingertip meditation, neuro-linguistic visualizations, the progressive muscle exercise and many others. You will also learn how to recognize in yourself the six core fears, the three wants or desires, and the four stress sub-personalities so you can gain control of your mind and your life instead of life controlling you.

14) Defense Mechanisms
Have you ever said to yourself, “It’s no big deal,” when it was a big deal, or “it’s their fault, not mine,” when it was your fault, or denied a truth about yourself until the pain got so bad you had to deal with it? As children we learned to suppress our feelings, deny, distort, rationalize, lie, and other self-protecting behaviors. You will learn the six defense mechanism questions that will help you confront yours and the six strategies for gently removing defense mechanisms so you can accept and be your authentic self, and live with true freedom as opposed to constant fear.

15 & 16) Building High Self-Esteem Part 1 & 2
There are scores of people who are successful financially and have great relationships. It is stunning that these same people are often miserable, sad, or depressed, despite their success. This is often because they do not value themselves. They have low self-worth and self-esteem and judge themselves unfairly. Whether you are successful in life or not, what is most needed is the ability to have compassion for that part of our selves which has been wounded by criticisms. In these two programs, you will learn the societal causes and the 7 parental behavioral causes of low self-esteem. You will then learn the 7 step method for converting low self-esteem into high self-love and compassion. This development of compassion for yourself and others will propel you to reach higher levels of happiness, security, fulfillment, and energy that seem to escape most people. This will be one of the most significant acquired skills that will serve you throughout your lifetime.

17) Wise Problem Solving and Decision Making
This program teaches how to “think of the box” and learn the skill of creative problem solving. The six-step problem solving method allows you to think creatively at home, at work, and in your relationships so you can resolve problems instead of having them escalate into bigger problems. You will also learn to make quality decisions that will advance your personal and professional life. The five-step decision-maker method which teaches you how to weigh and quantify the pros and cons between two or more decisions/options, will help you make the smart choice. The decision-maker method combines the wisdom of both the logical and intuitive aspects of intelligence and can be applied to any professional, financial, or personal decision you need to make in your life.

18) Launching a Goal Setting Plan
You will learn from a highly successful realtor about the pitfalls and keys to launching a goal setting plan. Guest speaker Harry Joseph will reveal his experiences in working with the top agents in the country on what it takes to develop goals and achieve them. After Harry’s presentation, Tom Ventimiglia interviews Harry to discover why people usually fail in their goals, and what it takes to reach beyond one’s comfort zone to the next level.

19) Learning Key Life Skills
“If you don’t write your goals down, you’ll be working for somebody else who does.” Why not choose your destiny through writing a plan for your goals. Do you want more money, love, friends, education, health, or empowerment? If yes, then make it a goal. Using the best of both western and eastern schools of thought on goals, you will learn how to make your goals measurable, believable, and most of all, achievable. Like following a treasure map, you’ll learn how to follow the nine sequential strategies experts use to train champions such as anticipating obstacles, scheduling tasks, and staying motivated after setbacks. Other life skills that are taught include budgeting to increase your financial worth, identifying your dominant learning style so you can be an “A” student for life, and determining your dominant intelligence to maximize your learning mind.

20) Self-Integrity and Valuing Difference
In this program, you will learn how to thoroughly think through your values, ethics, and morals enabling you to bring honor, respect, dignity, and integrity to others and yourself. You will also cultivate an understanding, acceptance, and appreciation of other people’s value systems that are different from your own. You will see the value in cultural differences and diversity as well as the political philosophical differences that enrich and stimulate our lives. By developing these integral skills, you will be on the road to bringing integrity to yourself and developing an invincible character.

21) Differences Between Men and Women
This program discusses the biological, anthropological, and environmental social forces that make men and women different. You will discover the pressures and conditioning both men and women experience in American culture. You will also view a student group activity that reveals the differences between men and women. Astonishing facts and figures about how men and women differ will also be presented. After this program, you will be able to embrace and empower your own gender while developing the other side. Carl Jung, the famous psychoanalyst, was insistent that women and men must express both dimensions of their masculine and feminine sides of their personality. Failure to do so meant our nature was denied resulting in a one-sided development and not reaching your potential to be fully human.

22 & 23) Mastering Self Discipline Part 1 & 2
There are tendencies and drives within human nature to become too lazy, selfish, addictive, and hedonistic or pleasure seeking. As a result, we watch too much TV, get fat, and get addicted to things that eventually squeeze the joy out of life like alcohol, drugs, gambling, food, and yes even shopping. We then don’t bring the things we want into our lives and feel like a failure, a blob, and become unhappy and dissatisfied. In this program, you will learn how to discipline your mind and behavior through practicing and mastering the seven self-disciplines of perspective, patience, detachment, performance, perseverance, goodwill, and moderation. You’ll learn custom-made time management strategies for Type A and Type B personalities. Imagine being able to acquire any skill, discipline, or habit that you want in the world. You could achieve almost anything!

24) Self-Assertion
“You get treated in life the way you train people to treat you.” In this program, you will learn how to set physical, emotional, intellectual, and spiritual boundaries with others so you can protect yourself while gaining respect from others and yourself. You will also learn the Boundary Request Communication model which will teach you how to diffuse an argument, communicate your thoughts and feelings gently but firmly, and get results doing it. You will also learn to identify and transcend communication obstacles as well as set character standards so that you can master self-assertion.

25) Developing Rapport with Others
In this program you will learn to develop rapport with others as well as how to deal with difficult personalities and people in your life. Learn how to deal with know-it-alls, stallers, bullies, gripers, silent types, negative types, and invalidators so you can stay centered and keep your character strong. A student group exercise will demonstrate these difficult personalities. One of the best ways to communicating and developing rapport, rapport meaning creating harmony in your relations with anyone you are talking with, is to put into action exceptional listening skills which you do using the Empathetic Communication Model. Finally, you will learn the national best seller “the platinum rule” of dealing with relaters, socializers, drivers, and thinkers to increase rapport with others and thrive in your relations with others.

26) Creating Win/Win Solutions
This program will address how to create win/win solutions in your relations. We are often taught in this culture that there can only be one winner and the rest are losers. This mentality infects not only competitive games but our love relationships with significant others and others we care about. Instead of creating lose/lose, lose/win, or win/lose, you will learn the 7 step communication method for creating win/win solutions in your dealings with others. Wouldn’t it be great to resolve the issue you might have with the car dealership, resolve years of fighting with your spouse or boyfriend or girlfriend, and smooth over relations with those you work with? You’ll also learn the pitfalls of nonassertion, aggressive, and passive-aggressive behaviors as well as the two keys that help make you feel love from people like nothing else you’ve ever heard.