Psychological Self-Help

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"just rewards." The anxious person who has lots of physical problems
the doctor can't understand is "neurotic" or "sick" or "crazy" or "all
messed up." Even the psychotic homeless person sleeping under
cardboard on the street is assumed to be to blame for his/her
condition, at least "no one else is to blame!" Our explanatory labels
given to these people convey no deep understanding of the origin of
their problems. Our thinking simply uses "free will" to blame the
Waller also points out that many Behaviorists believe that "free
will" and "moral responsibility" are intellectual cop outs, i.e. convenient
and easy excuses for not looking deeper into the person's history--the
environmental causes--for understanding. Why would we do that? If
we can pin the responsibility on the victim, we can quickly dismiss the
importance of unequal education, wealth, health, trauma, child care,
social-family conditions, etc. If the immoral, addicted, criminal,
incompetent, emotionally upset, and psychologically disturbed are
"responsible," then why bother with exploring their
history/environment/thought processes to understand what has
happened to them? Sounds like a mind-set to prolong ignorance to
Although society assigns undue responsibility to the actor (often a
victim), relatively little research has been supported to enhance the
control an individual might have over his/her behavior. As discussed in
chapter 1, how many schools or colleges offer courses in self-direction
or self-control or self-help? These skills could be taught to everyone.
But once we start thinking in terms of teaching coping skills, the
concept of "free will" loses some of its power to blame the actor. This
is because as we teach self-control to others it becomes more and
more obvious that outside-the-actor factors (environmental,
educational, and historical) have influenced how every human being
behaves. Consequently, assigning "moral responsibility" exclusively to
the individual becomes harder and harder to do. 
Research has studied why some people are industrious and others
are lethargic. The results included interesting concepts: "learned
industriousness" and "learned helplessness." These traits turn out to
be clearly the outcome of the individual's reinforcement history, often
occurring in early childhood, and not the result of some innate trait,
not just a character flaw, not intentional decisions, and not "free will."
The lethargic ("lazy") or oppositional ("argumentative") person is
certainly not "morally responsible" for how he/she was rewarded and
dealt with as a child. 
In short, the evidence is weak for the belief that "free will" is
largely responsible for what we do. If we don't have "free will," then
we aren't totally "morally responsible" for what we do (but maybe we
are partly responsible). Similarly, we should question the beliefs in a
"just world," that everyone gets his/her "just deserts," and that
everyone has access to a level playing field. All these beliefs may be
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