Psychological Self-Help

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causing irrational thinking. Maybe it is necessary to have an
“authority” challenging our way of thinking. Anyway, here is Katie’s
1. Describe in detail the situation or aspects of a relationship that
bothers you. Include such things as—Who angers or disappoints you?
What don’t you like about the other person? How do you want them to
change…to be different? What do you need or want from them? What
do you especially dislike about them? What do you want to never
experience with them again? Be negative and judgmental. In other
words, how are you telling yourself that things “should” or “must” be
2. Once it is clear what you think about the situation and what you
want to be different, then ask these questions challenging the validity
of your demands… your “shoulds” or “musts:” Is my understanding of
the situation true? How can you be absolutely sure your beliefs and
views of the situation are true or the only way it can be understood?
Example: Suppose your spouse or your boss seems to not understand
you as well as you think he/she should, so you ask yourself “Is it true
he/she should understand me better?” Don’t just have a knee-jerk
reaction…think deeply about it. “Are you certain you have
communicated well or completely to him/her?” “Is it certain that it is in
his/her best interests to understand me perfectly?” “Is there some
important payoff to them when they don’t understand you?” 
3. When you think things should be different but the changes just
don’t occur, how do you feel? What emotions do those unfulfilled
thoughts or wishes trigger in you? Anger? Revenge? Tension? Self-
criticism? Hopelessness or do you become determined to change the
other person? Does your train of thoughts increase stress or bring
calm into your life? 
4. Picture in your mind what your life would be like if you didn’t
have these thoughts about how these changes really must happen.
What if you were with this person and didn’t have the thought that
he/she should be or MUST be more understanding or different? Would
things be better or worse? Would you be a different person? 
As you can see, these questions are aiming at the same points as
Rational-Emotional therapists, namely, you are responsible for you
own upset feelings because feelings result from your thinking,
especially your “shoulds” and “musts.” Therefore, you need to start
questioning your demands that things be different from what they are,
i.e. that the world should have unfolded and must unfold the way you
want it to be. This is irrational thinking, the world obeys its laws, not
your wishes. If you change your thinking, you will focus on less
demanding and more realistic expectations—then you will be less
upset with yourself, with others, and with how life unfolds. 
Katie has another mental exercise that can be helpful; she calls it
the turnaround.” It is quite similar to the Gestalt technique of |Go
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