Psychological Self-Help

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fear of going insane, feeling unreal, fear of losing control
(panic), money problems, demands by others, failed at
something, etc. You can add to your list the ones that seem
true for you (and make a mental note of the causes not true for
You are likely to identify 10 or 15 conscious causes and 5 or more
unconscious causes. Like in brainstorming, don't criticize your ideas
about causes; just record the influences as they occur to you, even if
they seem unlikely or ridiculous. You will evaluate each cause in the
next step. 
STEP FOUR: Weighing the importance of each cause or motive or
All behavior is 100% caused, so take the list of all possible causes
of your problem and assign each cause a percent, according to its
importance or degree of influence, so that the total is 100%. Use your
knowledge of behavior, your intuition, or your best hunch to assign
weights. It will, of course, take some adjusting of percentages to get
the total weights to equal 100%. But it is usually eye-opening to see
how many causes are involved and to realize that even the most
powerful causes may only contribute 10 or 15 percent of the total. 
A different approach was used with phobic patients (mentioned in
#5 of the last step). Each person was asked to list 10 situations in
which they panicked and 10 similar situations in which they had not
panicked. Then they rated which of the possible causes existed just
before they panicked...and before not panicking. Thus, they identified
probable causes of their panic in several situations...and conditions
that do not lead to panic. 
STEP FIVE: Use your analysis of the causes as a guide to
strengthening the factors that produce the desired behavior
and to reducing the troublesome factors.
All self-help involves trying to increase the factors that produce the
desired behavior and reduce the factors that produce the unwanted
behavior. Example: suppose you get mad at a lover because he/she
did something that unconsciously reminded you of a disliked parent. If
you become aware that one of the causes of the excessive anger is the
similarity between lover and parent, i.e. "unfinished business," you can
talk to yourself and reduce the inappropriate anger by saying, "Hey,
my lover isn't my parent and I'm not going to be irrational about this."
Without insight, you are left with "my lover makes me so mad" or "I
have such a temper." The insight-oriented therapist depends on the
rational part of the client to detect and correct the irrational,
unconscious parts. The cognitive therapist, however, might simply
focus on the irrational expectations made of the lover (without
worrying about the reason for these expectations); the behavior
therapist might desensitize you to the lover's behavior that made you
mad (without regard to how you originally learned the anger
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