we are tired, sleepy, and not alert. Becoming aware enough to catch
the onset of the bad habit may be hard, requiring special attention and
effort until the habit weakens. Each relapse or failure is like dropping a
ball of string you are winding; it is a challenge (but important) to keep
the old habit from occurring at all.
Effectiveness, advantages and dangers
Azrin and Nunn (1977) claim the method is very effective,
successful over 90% of the time. This success rate was with people
who completed a therapist-administered treatment of this kind. How
many people actually complete a strictly self-help project, as
recommended in the their book, is unknown. However, a 90+%
success rate is impressive.
This is a simple way to break certain simple habits. Even in more
complex situations you may find ways to meet pressing needs in more
acceptable ways. This doesn't require a radical modification of one's
needs. Yet, there is ample evidence that people resist learning new
behaviors: many refuse to go to AA and psychotherapy. Consider how
many marital problems and parent-child conflicts are never dealt with
in counseling or marriage enrichment programs. Also, relatively few
people seek help in helping themselves. We don't know why.
There are no known dangers.
Azrin, N. and Nunn, G. (1977). Habit control in a day, New
York: Pocket Books.
Satiate behavior or flooding; negative practice; paradoxical intention;
stop suppressing unwanted thoughts
We can learn from intentionally making mistakes, called "negative
practice." For instance, I often type ie instead of ei. This could be
corrected by my practicing typing "wie ght" or "thei r" over and over
(as long as I remained aware that I was doing it wrong). Tics (jerking
muscles) have been cured by negative practice, i.e. doing it over and
over willfully rather than against your will. A similar method is