Psychological Self-Help

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He cites some evidence for his approach: better adjusted survivors
remember fewer of their dreams than poorly adjusted survivors and
control subjects do, suggesting repression of traumatic experiences is
healthy. Also, students in Oklahoma City who avoided watching TV
coverage of the bombing had fewer PTSD symptoms. Other
researchers have also reported that sexual assault victims, who
practiced substituting pleasant images for unpleasant memories, had
fewer nightmares. So, in contrast with what many trauma therapists
believe, there may be some circumstances in which quickly moving
beyond the bad memories is healthy for many people. Left on their
own, this is what many victims are able to do, but some are not. 
There are things about memory you should know. There is ample
evidence, as mentioned later, that memories are often are forgotten, parts are added, memory segments
from different times are all mixed up, memories are simply distorted to
meet our own emotional needs, parts are often changed to make us
look good and innocent, and so on. In short, memories can't be
entirely trusted, at least not to the extent that we should allow them,
without questioning and/or confirmation, to be used to make our lives
miserable. Memories may not reflect what actually happened... and
certainly our assumptions about other people's motives and intentions
in our memories are often wrong. Someone else being there and
experiencing our "bad experience" would perhaps have an entirely
different reaction to it. 
Given the fallibility of our memories, if you are frequently bothered
by thoughts and memories of a bad time in your past (which makes
you sad, mad, self-critical, hopeless, guilty...), what should you do?
We can't give a simple clear answer. Therapists will provide, for a fee,
their favorite method and confidently give you an explanation of why it
should work. Here is my advice (worth what you are paying for it (:-).
I suspect that all approaches are effective sometimes--with certain
people, with certain problems, and at certain times. Since researchers
haven't yet discovered the best method for specific conditions, I'd start
self-helping with the quickest, easiest approach, which is probably a
Method #10 in chapter 11. If this quick thought-stopping approach
doesn't seem appropriate or if it doesn't work for you, then move on to
other methods as needed: 
(1) I'd then try to "put the bad memory... scary experience,
horrendous injustice, deeply regretful, terrible loss, infuriating
incident, embarrassing moment... behind you." Try using Anderson's
method, namely, consciously trying to keep the unpleasant, unwanted
memory as completely out of your consciousness as possible for a
couple of weeks. This method does not involve removing all reminders
of the hurtful person or incident. Actually, you can continue to expose
yourself to naturally occurring reminders. However, every time
exposed to a reminder (or whenever the memory spontaneously
appears) either pass over it without thought or immediately try
stopping the memories and telling yourself to "forget about it," "don't
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