Psychological Self-Help

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experiencing his/her feelings should say whatever comes to mind, but
focus on feelings and express them strongly. The idea is: to feel more,
you need to express more. If you feel like hitting something, hit a
pillow. Lie on the floor and scream or cry or grunt if you feel like it. Or,
just talk about your feelings. 
The listener just listens. Being empathic is helpful (see chapter
13). But the crucial thing is to listen with concern, understanding that
the other person needs to express his/her feelings. Avoid giving
reassurance prematurely; don't give advice; don't ask about the
details of the situation (When did this happen?) or the causes (Why
did he/she do that?). If you provide any focus at all, encourage
him/her to express his/her feelings. Remember, the person probably
wants to feel--to re-experience and vent--some emotion, even a very
painful one, because it is so important to them. It feels good to share
feelings. Give them plenty of time. A truly patient listening friend is
not easy to find (that's why we pay psychologists). 
STEP TWO: Learn how to overtly express overly inhibited or
scary emotions
Re-learning to cry. There is a sermon in the Talmud that says that
Adam complained to God about how hard life was after being kicked
out of the Garden of Eden. God responded that he/she had given
Adam and Eve two means of coping with hard times: a day of rest on
the Sabbath and tears. Jewish mourners vent their grief by weeping
Crying is so important that techniques have been developed to re-
learn how. Some people cry every day, not because they are suffering
some great loss but because they feel better afterwards (more
relaxed, fewer headaches, less eye strain). One method is by Luce
(1979): Place one hand on your collarbone, right where your neck
joins your chest. Breathe very shallowly, only as deeply as your hand.
Breathe rapidly and make a whining or sobbing sound, like a baby
crying. Try to get into feeling sad. Think of things that make you feel
very distraught. If necessary imagine something very sad--leaving
your family or friends or loss of a loved one. Let yourself sob until the
need is met. 
The emotionally inhibited (constipated) person has been called
"intellectually honest, but emotionally a liar." One may be unable to
feel angry or unable to act out the anger, or both. First, if you do not
have many angry feelings, list some situations that you get angry or
upset about. Often, these are not close to home but social problems--
senseless bombings, rapes, racial discrimination, a show-off, nuclear
war, etc. Take one of those situations and provide yourself with
directions for imagining it in detail. Here is an example (Ramsay,
1978): "Now start thinking about the war in Vietnam, the women and
children lying wounded and maimed in a hospital after being bombed.
Imagine being able to get one of the generals from the Pentagon and
take him through such a hospital ward. Clench your fists, clench your
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