Komorous speaks to Kiwanis Club

Published 3:34 pm Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Kiwanis Club President Steve Cobb (right) thanks Dr. Patricia Komorous for her program at the club's Wednesday, February 9, meeting. The children's book, “Peek-a-Boo Bedtime,” will be donated to a local school in her honor. (photo submitted)

Dr. Patricia Komorous presented a program at the Kiwanis Club’s Wednesday, February 9, meeting. Her topic was “Roles People Play.” Dr. Komorous, a licensed psychologist, said we live in hierarchical social groups with some socially prescribed roles. Humans’ self-esteem is dependent on our positions within our human tribes or groups – families, work place, churches, acquaintances, political parties, etc.

Komorous also said, “There is always some tension in life between our need to be part of a community and our need to be true to ourselves as individuals. If we are to be happy, healthy people, each of us needs to find a comfortable balance that allows us to be both our individual selves and our “tribal” selves. Because we are meant to live in social groups, we reflexively tend to do what is necessary to fit in. The primary way that we adapt to our tribal situation is through the playing of roles. We emphasize those aspects of ourselves that fit the role we are playing and suppress the parts of ourselves that don’t. The roles we play can be positive or negative and can be healthy or unhealthy for us. It depends on how well the role we play fits our personalities, skills and values.

“We tend to play the roles we assumed in our families of origin in many or most circumstances throughout our lives. We even tend to choose our mates for their potential to play roles in relationship to us that fit with the roles we learned to play in our families. In one-to-one relationships, pairs tend to fit together through complementary roles, such as active-passive; givers-takers; dominant-submissive; aggressive-passive aggressive; bullies-victims; teachers-students; caretakers-sick people, to name a few possibilities. The minute that one member of a couple adopts a role, the other will begin to play the reciprocal role. To the extent our habitual roles are unhealthy or unpleasant for us, we, as individuals, need to take responsibility for doing something about it, even though it is difficult.”

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

As a therapist, Dr. Komorous said she tries to help clients achieve more positive roles in all their relationships and tribes. She encourages them to focus on themselves as individuals, to clarify for themselves what their values are and what kind of people they consciously choose to be. Then she helps them maintain that sense of self when faced with negative pressures from others.

The children’s book, “Peek-a-Boo Bedtime,” will be donated to a local school in Komorous’ honor.