Psychological Self-Help

Navigation bar
  Home Print document View PDF document Start Previous page
 79 of 86 
Next page End Contents 74 75 76 77 78 79 80 81 82 83 84  

reasons, sometimes the punishment is not effective. For instance, just
as a scolding may not work with a child (because the attention is more
rewarding than the criticism is punishing), certain fines may not work.
They may not be big enough or the money may go to a worthy cause.
Many people have found that giving money away to disliked causes,
e.g. Nazi or KKK or Democrat/Republican (your choice) Party, is more
painful and effective. 
Research has suggested that horrible fantasies are not effective,
such as thinking of having rotting, painful teeth as a means of
motivating tooth brushing. Apparently, one tries to forget the horrible
consequences and in the process also forgets to brush their teeth too.
However, this suggests the horrible fantasies do have power, if you
are able to use them in an effective way. 
A teacher who uses too much punishment is likely to become
disliked by the students, the classroom may become oppressive to the
students, and the students may start hating school. The menacing
aspects of the punishment generalize to everything surrounding the
punishment. Likewise, your own excessive focus on the unpleasant
consequences of not studying could result in less interest and pleasure
from learning, but this doesn't seem to be very likely. In chapter 14,
we will see that academic motivation is increased by having fantasies
of a great life as a result of studying and having fantasies of being
miserable if you fail to study. Be sure to work on increasing intrinsic
satisfaction from the desired behavior at the same time (see method
#15) you self-punish. 
The drop-out rate from therapy using painful electric shock (non-
convulsive) is as high as 85% in some studies. Self-punishment may
not have nearly as high a rate, but if it causes self-helpers to avoid
trying other methods or other projects of self-improvement (or
therapy), that could be a serious problem. 
Effectivness, advantages and dangers
Don't use electricity as a source of pain without consulting with a
therapist. Certainly don't build your own electric shocking equipment.
Household current can be deadly. 
As with punishment, if self-punishment is sure, swift, and severe
enough, it will probably be effective. There is very little research in this
area, thus far. Aversive conditioning has been done with many
different kinds of unwanted behavior with mixed results, but in general
the specific target behavior punished within a specific setting is quickly
stopped. However, the unwanted behavior (usually unwanted by
someone else, not the actor) is often not stopped if the person is with
other people or in other situations (away from the punisher), and the
behavior resumes after the punishment is stopped. Perhaps the
benefits from self-punishment will quickly disappear if you don't
seriously intend to resume the project if the unwanted behavior
Previous page Top Next page

« Back