Understanding 1: We, as humans, primarily learn to be the way we are; therefore, at any point in life, we can learn to be different. But, it may not be easy to change.
Understanding 2: Self-help is a relatively new, still-to-be-proven approach, involving a few well tested methods, but many methods are unproven. Research supporting self-help approaches is accumulating.
Understanding 3: I prefer to be honest with you about the effectiveness of self-help methods. I'm not going to "talk up" a method or try to "sell" you a product; I'm trying to get you to learn and to think for yourself. Also, I don't want to deceive you
Understanding 4: Any therapist or self-help method may do harm. Reading and self-help seem to rarely do damage. Note: pessimism and the fear of trying to help yourself, resulting in your doing nothing, cause much more harm than any self-help method.
Understanding 5: It may be difficult to measure changes in your adjustment, but you should try. Objective measurement is necessary for honest evaluation. Every self-helper should try to be his/her own researcher.
Understanding 6: Honestly looking at ourselves and changing may be stressful, but we need to do it.
Understanding 7: Do not hesitate to work on your most serious, meaningful, and intimate problems.
Understanding 8: Becoming a good self-helper will probably require a lot of time and effort. You should prepare for problems in advance. It is a life-long task.
Understanding 9: Don't wait for magical solutions. DO SOMETHING to help yourself. Be strong! Confront any resistance to change and challenge all your defeatist attitudes. Learn to believe you can change things.
Understanding 10: This book does not prepare you to be a therapist. Help others, but don't take control and "treat" others.
Understanding 11: If your problem(s) could be caused by physical-chemical factors, see a physician first.
Understanding 12: When your problems are severe and/or your self help efforts are ineffective, seek professional help immediately.
Understandings for groups and classes: Be clear about the purposes of your group, know how you can contribute, maintain confidentiality, and help others feel safe. Be sure you understand the reasons for the requirements of your group.