Psychological Self-Help

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something interesting to do. An impotent male stops
trying to get an erection and focuses on having fun and
pleasing the partner. The overly picky lover gives up
looking for the ideal partner. A love relationship
improves after giving each other some space (Brenner,
1985). The tennis player does better when he/she gives
up self-criticism and awfulizing (Gallwey, 1974).
Therapists occasionally make suggestions that they
expect the clients to resist, i.e. the paradox is they are
told to do one thing, but they do another. Example: a
bright, unhappy housewife is encouraged to "do
everything for your husband" but the result is, as
expected by the therapist, she soon starts a career
outside the home. 
Give up impossible dreams. Look for the negative
consequences of having your wishes come true.
Examples: suppose you want to feel superior rather than
inferior: you wouldn't be liked, it would be hard to
accept others, there would be no competition. Suppose
you would like for your partner to be perfect instead of
with faults: you would be inferior and he/she would
likely go looking for a better lover, all problems would
have to be your fault, and perfection might get real
Symptom prescription --doing the unwanted habit to get rid
of it. 
Carry the behavior to a ridiculous extreme. Chapter 5
describes overcoming a fear of coming home after dark by
telling oneself exaggerated horror stories about the dangers
that might lurk in the dark. Other examples: If you worry
excessively or have an obsessive thought, set aside five
minutes every waking hour to do nothing but worry or have this
unwanted thought. Carefully schedule the "worry time" and
insist that the time be entirely used for worrying, no matter
how hard or boring it becomes. McMullin calls this method
"forced catastrophes," and he might ask a client to take 3 or 4
hours to "go crazy" if that is what he/she is afraid will happen.
Other behavioral examples are if you compulsively bite your
nails, clean your house, check the locks, wash your hands, etc.,
try to increase the habit by 50% each week until it becomes
overwhelming and impossible. If you sweat so much it is
embarrassing, try to sweat even more. 
Lazarus (1971) calls this the blow-up method because the
behavior is blown up to such an extreme that it becomes
humorous or ridiculous. He describes a young man with sweaty
palms. Lazarus told him to avoid wiping his palms and, in fact,
to try to flood the other person with his sweat. He also had the
young man imagine perspiration gushing out of his palms,
spraying all over other people, and flowing across the floor. He
might even imagine going outside and washing the cars with
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