It is not easy to guess the unmet need. Since the need may never
have been adequately satisfied, relieving a long-standing deficiency
will probably be difficult.
Effectiveness, advantages, and dangers
Refer to the specific methods used. An advantage of this general
theory and "method" is that the self-helper may be guided to find the
"real" problem. Herein lies the danger as well, namely, one may falsely
assume that a basic need is unmet, label oneself as deficient, and
embark on an unnecessary self-improvement project.
Recognize unconscious motives and defense mechanisms
There is no doubt that sometimes we are not realistic. Not all of
our actions are rational and intentional. Sometimes we avoid reality,
we deny the truth, we fool ourselves. We may see the world the way
we want to, not the way it is (example: a person falling in love or
going through divorce). We may use excuses or rationalizations for
avoiding an unpleasant but important task (example: procrastination
instead of studying or self-indulgence instead of thinking of others).
We may seek hidden payoffs through some action (example: fat helps
us avoid sex or putdown games build our ego). The purpose of these
distortions and self-cons is to make us feel better about our behavior,
to defend ourselves against anxiety, and/or to conceal an unworthy
The self-evident solution to this self-deception is to be honest and
realistic with ourselves. But how do we do this? There are powerful
reasons for our distortion of reality; how can they be overridden? How
can we deal with our own unconscious?
This is much too large a topic to be covered in one method.
Chapters 14 and 15 help us understand unconscious factors. If we
understand our unconscious motives and distortions, we can intervene
and counteract these forces. The intention here is merely to draw your
attention to a complex array of ideas and self-help methods that may
need to be considered if you have an unwanted behavior that persists:
Irrational ideas may exaggerate our problems, arouse very
disturbing emotions, and/or provide excuses for unreasonable
behavior--see chapter 14 for important explanations and
solutions. Almost everyone has some irrational ideas. Changing
your behavior probably won't change your troublesome ideas.
Attributions, assumptions, and conclusions are constantly being
made by everyone. They aren't all logical and accurate. We are
unaware that our thinking is not straight in many situations
(see method # 8 in chapter 14). There are methods for double-
checking these assumptions, e.g. "I'm dumb" is testable and