Meet Michael Oden
Michael S. Oden, is the founder of “The Final Step” and The Needs Based Method®. He is a Speaker, Behavioral Specialist, Personal & Corporate Coach, with Masters in Counseling Psychology and Author.
In the early stages of his professional career, Michael pursued an acting career that expanded 8 years. During that time, Michael also taught at the juvenile halls as a substitute teacher and the juvenile camps as a Deputy Probation Officer. Today, Michael is currently a Deputy Probation Officer II for the County of Los Angeles who has mentored thousands of individuals and worked with various support groups with behavioral issues for the past 15 years.
Because of his day to day contact with his clients, as a Deputy Probation Officer, Michael decided to write a book about their life experiences in a book titled, “When Nobody’s Home” – Winner of the Eric Hoffer Award 2016 – Self-help – which discusses the impact of growing in a fatherless home. Due to this experience, Michael has combined several powerful techniques that make up what he utilizes in his practice called, “The Needs Based Method®.” This approach gives awareness and understanding about the “whys” of an individual’s behavior and how getting or not getting specific social/emotional “need(s)” met during childhood and present day can impact how a person navigates in their world; be it life diminishing or life fulfilling. The goal of TNBM is to acknowledge the origins of the wanted or unwanted behavior, shift the belief about the behavior( if need be), and heal the belief so the individual can be empowered to change. This holistic approach has allowed Michael to enhance thousands of lives. Those who are willing to understand, listen, learn and apply will gain the best results. With this approach Michael has reached an 85% success rate.
“…sometimes we need to go through the darkness to get to the light and that it may be emotionally painful…”
Having conducted “over 8,000 plus interviews with emotionally troubled and alcohol and drug offenders, regarding their drug/alcohol dependency,” Oden developed an effective program to help his clients break the cycle of dependency. “With that in mind, this book reviews and explains the Needs Based Method® of [overcoming] alcohol and drug abuse,” and how Oden deals with the “why” dependency happens—”the emotional, physical, or social absence of or ‘neglect’ by a caretaker, or when nobody’s home.”
What People Say
When Nobody’s Home is both book title and metaphor on the underlying contributing factors leading to addiction. As a title, this book presents information based on the author’s thousands of interviews and statistics on the increasing incidence of single parent families and families in which the parents are absent, either due to the requirements of working to support the family or neglect in the role and responsibilities as caregiver in the home. As a metaphor, When Nobody’s Home speaks to the unmet needs addicts experience during childhood that creates emotional suffering. Often, this underlying root cause is unrealized by the individual, and in an attempt to gain relief from this emotional suffering, individuals frequently find solace in drug or alcohol addiction.
Michael Oden’s book is clearly written and an easy read in plain language without psychological jargon. The author’s compassion for those suffering from addiction and his desire to help them understand their addiction, and how they can turn their lives around, is evident in his effort to strive to understand them, not just their problems, but as feeling human beings. Spread throughout the book are client stories that reveal the family experiences of his clients, explaining how Oden helped them identify the unsatisfied needs of their childhood, and sharing the impact this had on their self-image and prospective outlook on life changes they needed to make. I especially appreciated the various diagrams and charts in the book that defined and demonstrated the concepts, methodology, development, and thinking processes relevant to helping addicts make a lasting change.
In today’s society, addiction can be seen everywhere: a family member, friend’s family member, in certain neighborhoods, and even on television in the news or in fictional shows. While this book focuses on the author’s experience in assisting those with drug and alcohol addictions, I think the process applicable to the broader population. I feel we are all affected, to some degree, in our life stories by unmet needs at some point in our lives, and, as a result, we experience some emotional discomfort or trauma. Like drug and alcohol addicts, we seek solace in other things to lesser degrees that are likely more acceptable in society and not illegal. We have sought solace in shopping, eating comfort foods, sweets, or risky behaviors that are unhealthy for us. We even make light of these other pursuits by calling ourselves shopaholics and even chocaholics! How many other behaviors might we gain more control of and perspective on if we used the tools offered in this book to better understand ourselves and the drivers for our own behavior?
Parents can also gain lessons from this book on how their children might be impacted by unmet needs. Parents should not feel judged by this or complacently feel this book is not applicable to them. Today’s youth are also highly influenced by their peers and can be traumatized by these peers through school or cyber bullying, very pertinent issues in our present day lives. Nothing is as indelible as a child, and children often adopt misconceptions that we as adults don’t even realize they harbor. How can we make children less vulnerable if we don’t know how the potential seeds of these issues are first sown?
Some readers might argue the statistics in this book or the suppositions made as to the origins of addiction, but I urge those readers to approach this not as a scientific treatise or journal article, but as the insightful offering of a compassionate professional with years of experience in helping those most in need. For those who are open with a desire to learn more about the human condition and underlying psychological factors that can impact us all, I highly recommend this book.
Reviewed by Valerie Freitas
San Francisco Book Review
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