Psychological Self-Help

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1554
fantasies can clarify your life story and some of your major
disappointments. 
Still, many of your conflicts or problems in life will not be touched
upon by imagining paradise, paradise lost, and paradise regained, so
at least make a list of (1) your self-defeating behaviors, (2) your
unwanted emotions, thoughts or urges, and (3) your symbolic hints of
trouble (in dreams, psychosomatic disorders, repeated conflicts for
unknown reasons, difficulty thinking positive about the future, etc.).
Each of your problem areas could be analyzed further, as in the next
several paragraphs. 
Self-help methods for finding your myths
Take one problem area at a time and try to understand more about
its origin by imagining one of your earliest experiences in this area. Do
this by first identifying the primary emotion associated with this
problem area. Second, imagine this feeling flowing through your life
like a river. Third, imagine being in a boat so you can make your way
upstream until, on the bank of the river, you can see yourself re-
enacting, as in a play, one of the first times you ever experienced this
emotion. Fourth, ask yourself if this fantasy helps you understand the
feelings you are having now (e.g. who else is there? What was done?
Did your emotion yield a payoff? Are you still expecting the same
things you did as a five-year-old?). How did this early experience
influence your self-concept, your views of others, your values, your
life? 
Feinstein and Krippner believe that trouble spots in our lives
usually involve conflicting myths--our old myth that isn't working well
and a developing new myth. Sometimes this new counter-myth is
immediately adopted, as when a faithful spouse impulsively has an
affair or a compliant adolescent suddenly rebels. But most of the time
this shift from one life style to another is gradual and full of complex
conflicts, as when it takes months to change one's religious beliefs or
to give up being a workaholic so you can become involved with your
family. It is wise to realize there is some wisdom in both myths--the
old way and the new view. Hopefully, your decisions will make use of
the best of both. How to do this: 
1.
Make up a fairy tale about your paradise lost: First focus on a
good (or better) time of your life, then on an awful time
(related to the specific problem you are now trying to
understand and improve), and then on your ongoing search for
a way out of the mess. Make it a long, fanciful (magical, make
believe characters), free-flowing daydream. This helps you,
through symbols and fantasy, to identify your paradise lost and
your image of the paradise you hope to regain through your
"quest." 
Throughout their book, Feinstein and Krippner provide two
extensive case illustrations, one of a tough, fervently
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