Psychological Self-Help

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our own inhibiter, our own blinder. So, try new responses and new
There is no way to know what is the best way of responding in a
given situation, except by trying out new behaviors and seeing what
happens. So, begin by considering a wide variety of alternative
responses--even some radical ideas. Read about the problem and
solutions. Make a list of coping responses. Ask friends, teachers,
parents or counselors for ideas. Maybe brainstorm with a group. See
decision-making in chapter 13. Decide on a general approach to
acquire these new and better behaviors. 
STEP TWO: Learn the details of a new experimental response by
observing a model.
Before practicing and polishing, we need to know exactly what to
do, precisely how to behave. Where does this information come from?
It often comes from observing others, preferably good models and
people you respect. Sometimes good ideas come from books that give
detailed descriptions of how capable people behave, including self-help
books. You could ask someone to carefully instruct and demonstrate a
new approach to you (see role-playing in chapter 13). 
You will need different kinds of models in different situations. For
example, if you wanted to learn how to dance, sell air conditioners, or
ask someone for a date, you would want your instructor to be an
experienced expert. In these cases you need knowledge. On the other
hand, if you are 16-years-old and want to get better at public
speaking, driving a car, or handling a snake, the best instructor or
model is probably not a great speaker, a championship race driver, or
a professional snake handler. You need a competent model but
someone you can identify with, someone who isn't too different from
you who will guide you through your next few steps. In fact, watching
a model who has some fears of snakes overcome his/her fears is a
much better experience for a snake phobic than watching a totally
relaxed handler. The spectacular expert may only intimidate you more. 
Have the model demonstrate and explain whatever you want to
learn. It will also be helpful if the instructor (model) also acts out and
describes the common mistakes you will need to avoid. Then the
model should show you the best way to do it again, perhaps several
times, until you are ready to go through the process slowly yourself,
step by step, with his/her guidance. The instructor gives you constant
feedback, suggestions (modeling again), and encouragement. When
you are sure you have the idea, you may want to practice alone for a
while. Later, you can again demonstrate your new skill to the
instructor and get feedback. Eventually, self-observation, self-
correction, and self-reinforcement as you practice this task will be your
You may be surprised how often you already know how to behave,
you just need practice using your readily available skills in new
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