futures by understanding and using the "laws of behavior," especially
those in the form of self-help methods, such as:
If I repeatedly highly reward a desired behavior, it will probably
increase in frequency.
If I deeply relax for 10 minutes twice a day, I will probably be
calmer throughout the day.
If I learn new communication skills, such as empathy, I will
probably get along better with people.
If I can view a situation more positively or, at least, as being
"lawful," I will probably be less upset.
I will describe many self-help methods in simple terms, step by
step, almost like recipes in a cookbook. Then, we will learn how those
methods can be used with specific problems, like fears, sadness,
jealousy, selection of a mate, etc. If you understand how a problem
started and what keeps it going, and how self-help methods work, you
are better able to devise a way to change things. And that's what self-
help is all about.
I truly believe you learn by doing, not just by reading a book or
talking about your problems. You must use the ideas. So, I'll give you
lots of examples of how to use psychological methods in everyday life.
Hopefully, you can then see many ways to use each method in your
life--and, more importantly, will immediately try out the methods. If
you don't use the idea you have read or heard about within a day or
two, you will probably forget it.
As you read, ask yourself: How can I apply this idea or self-help
method today or tomorrow? As you live, moment by moment, ask
yourself: What have I learned about psychology that would help in this
situation? This learning orientation is crucial to changing; it becomes
automatic and contagious. A few successes will crush the old, cruel
idea that you can't change things, and then you get "high" on learning
about yourself and how to relate to others better. I'd like to see you
take an experimental approach to life, i.e. try out self-help methods to
see what works for you. As you learn and experience more, you
become more self understanding, more in control, less helpless and
more confident, and better prepared for a whole life-time of growth.
We all try to help ourselves all the time, so why not learn to be a really
good, knowledgeable self-helper and steadily improve your future?
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.
Psychologists have started to evaluate self-help methods
objectively. However, the methods that have been researched and
proven to be somewhat effective in most cases, like rewarding your
own desirable behavior, relaxation, assertiveness training, and
overcoming unreasonable fears by exposing yourself to the situation,
aren't effective in every case (and neither is therapy). The better