Ciaramicoli’s latest book focuses on authenticity, integrity, empathy
Out of deep concern for today’s political, corporate and educational climates and the resultant damaging effects of stress and anxiety experienced by millions, Hopkinton resident Arthur P. Ciaramicoli, Ed.D., Ph.D., a licensed clinical psychologist and multi-book author, champions an innovative leadership platform in his new book, “The Soulful Leader,” that is based on authenticity, integrity and empathy (AIE).
Intended for leaders across all industries as well as for parents, teachers, coaches and others in leadership positions, the book explains and provides poignant and practical examples how AIE leadership produces an environment where everyone — leaders and team members alike — grow to respect each other while producing on the highest possible level.
Ciaramicoli developed this approach during 35 years of consulting with and counseling leaders in business, education and politics as well as with athletic teams. His communication and leadership groups, ongoing now for more than 30 years, have allowed him to study the personal characteristics that lead to excellent and effective leadership skills.
“Something is missing in our society that so many people lead unsatisfied lives, and I believe that something is empathy,” Ciaramicoli stated, adding, “There’s nothing more important in life than empathy.”
Everyone has empathy neurons present in their brains. When empathy is expressed, oxytocin hormones are produced, making one feel positive, happy, generous, safe and trusting. The more empathy, the greater those feelings. The more demeaning, however, produces cortisol hormones that cause inflammation and lead to feelings of stress, prejudice and bias.
Ciaramicoli cites credible research throughout his book to support his work. Research, for example, attests to the fact that functional MRIs demonstrate that a person’s capacity for empathy literally has the power to change brain chemistry.
“Our brains are actually soft-wired,” Ciaramicoli said. “As adults, we are able to unlearn negative perceptions of ourselves that we may have lived with for decades. Once we can explore our undeveloped potential and experience a goodness breakthrough, our authentic selves are able to emerge.”
Added Ciaramicoli: “Happiness is a byproduct of giving and having meaningful relationships in life.”
Ciaramicoli believes that the soulful leader lives with purpose and expresses a desire to be of service. He or she is not primarily motivated by status or image but has a natural interest in making the most of all they encounter.
“Soulful people lead with passion, and they are intimately aware of the structure of their organization. They are interested in motivating from the bottom up, not from the top down. When leaders share their vulnerabilities, they give permission to others to do the same. This makes people feel more relaxed and enhances their ability to experience a common humanity.”
Ciaramicoli believes in the benefits of exercise and encourages leaders to balance their work with meaningful hobbies, interests and regular exercise as a way of staving off anxiety, stress and depression.
He credits his mother and father as tremendous role models in his life.
“My mother was a good listener and a calming presence in my life,” he stated fondly. “My father was a great motivator and go-getter. I like to think that I have his drive and her heart.”
He also credits his wife of 39 years, Karen, as being significantly influential, having encouraged him to take the first steps in writing which led to his penning four other books, two apps and associated workbooks, guiding people to unearth their own best selves.
A member of the American Psychological Association and the Massachusetts Psychological Association, Ciaramicoli has been on the faculty of Harvard Medical School for several years and served as a lecturer for the American Cancer Society, chief psychologist at MetroWest Medical Center and director of the Metrowest Counseling Center and of the Alternative Medicine Division of the Metrowest Wellness Center in Framingham.
“As a director and leader of behavioral health programs, I have worked with many students and employees who have been disheartened by toxic leaders,” said Robert Cherney, Ph.D., chief psychologist at Advocates Community Counseling Services in Framingham. “Dr. Ciaramicoli’s book teaches us how to incorporate AIE leadership into all aspects of our lives, not only as leaders in business but also as leaders in our own homes. My hope is that his book will become the bible of soulful leadership.”
Ciaramicoli has appeared regularly on local and national television and radio programs. His most recent appearance was earlier this month on live Internet talk radio, VoiceAmerica, and he was featured in a podcast that was released June 19. He maintains a blog at his website, BalanceYour Success.com.
He is author of “The Stress Solution: Using Empathy and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy to Reduce Anxiety and Develop Resilience” (New World Library, 2016), “The Curse of the Capable” (Wiley, 2010), “Performance Addiction: The Dangerous New Syndrome and How to Stop It from Ruining Your Life” (Wiley, 2004), “The Power of Empathy: A Practical Guide to Creating Intimacy, Self-Understanding and Lasting Love” (Plume, 2000) and more.