"She is this way because that is her personality" can be
checked by asking (see method #7 in chapter 13 and Laing,
Defense mechanisms reduce our anxiety but also distort reality,
e.g. one "projects" his/her bad traits to others or a worker
rationalizes why he/she got a bad evaluation (often involving
"sour grapes" and "sweet lemons"). See chapters 5 and 15.
There is a test to determine how much you use specific defense
mechanisms. Would a person ever change if he/she saw all
his/her negative evaluations as being biased or meaningless
("Oh, they just don't like my kind of person!")?
Interpersonal "games" are played for sickish purposes--to
putdown others, to putdown ourselves, to build our fragile
egos. Such games yield unconscious pay offs. If you are a
game player, adding a few rewards for some desired behavior
is not going to wipe out the urges underlying your games. See
chapters 9 and 15.
Old leftover emotions unconsciously influence our current
behavior, e.g. old failures produce today's reluctance to try
again or a fight with a person with certain physical
characteristics 10 years ago leads to unreasonable suspicions of
a similar looking person today. See chapters 9 and 15.
Unconscious motives and hidden pay offs undermine many of
our self-control efforts. Not all of our motives are sensible and
noble, and when they aren't, we'd prefer not to know about
them. Many people do things and make decisions that are self-
defeating, e.g. people do poorly at work to avoid getting more
responsibility or to become the office clown or gossip. People
push others away because they are afraid of getting hurt or
they assume others will not really like them.
If you do not understand your behavior or if some behavior is
remarkably resistive to change, investigate the role of unconscious
factors (see chapter 15).
Self-Change Techniques Applied Simultaneously
With the Target Behavior
Record target behavior; self-monitor and check your progress
There is no doubt that being "mindful" has practical benefits
(Langer, 1989). We need to attend to what we are doing, to how
others are responding, to alternative ways of doing things, to the steps
necessary to get to our final goal, etc. Some of us by nature are much
more watchful than others, but all of us can become more aware and