Psychological Self-Help

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you should look for evidence in that direction. Example: I once saw a
young couple with marital problems. One disagreement was about
having sex as a couple with a male friend. The husband wanted all
three to have sex together. When I asked if he had some homosexual
interests in the friend, the husband immediately became very angry at
me, accusing me of distorting his motives, of being in the "dark ages,"
and wanting to make something "perverse" out of an open marriage.
He protesteth too much. 
Don't just look for unacceptable urges; look for good impulses that
may also be held in check by fear, "being reasonable," or selfish
interests. Examples: Loving someone or, better yet, everyone,
adopting an abandoned child, giving up a good paying job for one that
provides care to others, doing volunteer work, sharing some of your
most intimate secrets with a friend, etc. Quite possibly we
unconsciously repress our saintly tendencies as well as our sinful
STEP THREE: Try to understand some of your baffling behavior
by listing all the possible causes. Look for "unfinished
If you are still trying to digest the idea that everything is true of
you (and have not yet thrown up or thrown the book away), select a
specific problem, behavior, or interaction to understand better. Go
through the five parts (see chapter 2) and list all the causes or
influences you can imagine for each part. What needs might be
satisfied by this behavior or problem? What are the possible obvious
and hidden payoffs? Consider all the outcomes that might actually
occur and ask, "Could I possibly be wanting that outcome?" (answer
"yes" even though you consciously think that outcome would be
terrible). What old emotional hang-ups could be aroused in this
situation? For example, does this person or the situation remind you of
some emotional experience in the past, some "unfinished business?"
This is frequently a powerful unconscious factor. Examples: a new
boy/girlfriend reminds you of the old one (and you respond
inappropriately); the boss reminds you of your father; taking a test
reminds you of flunking the last one. 
When you run out of ideas about causes, try to find even more: 
Read about this sort of behavior or problem (see the next
method), add to your list other peoples' ideas about causes. 
Ask friends for their honest opinions about causes and
influences in your situation. 
Talk to people who have or have had the problem. 
Discuss the problem with a respected person, a psychologist, or
other persons. 
Some therapists (Mc Mullin, 1986) have already prepared a list
of all the possible causes of a specific problem, e.g.
agoraphobia, they can think of, including events, thoughts, and
other feelings. Examples: anger, guilt, sexual urges, loneliness,
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