Psychological Self-Help

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religious myths may provide an opportunity to challenge some
occasionally harmful ideas (e.g. God is on our side in this war, God is
white and male, some of my sins are unforgivable, women are
supposed to be subservient to men, masturbation and birth control are
wrong, God wants me to give everything to the church, etc.). Most
therapy and self-help methods painstakingly avoid questioning
religious beliefs, unless it can be done subtly (I suspect the
implications of mythology are unseen by many religious folks). Dealing
with religious beliefs is tricky business; some myths, religious or
otherwise, are helpful, maybe even critical to many lives; other myths
are probably harmful. How does a thinking person know which is
which, without questioning all of his/her myths? 
Case illustration of script analysis
Fanita English described a case which illustrates a life script. Stella
had a series of failed love affairs. She did know why. One lover went to
Europe; another was a "rat;" a third couldn't hold a job and she soon
considered him a "bum." 
What was Stella's history? Her mother had not wanted a baby,
partly because Stella's father was alcoholic and unemployed but also
because her Child ego state disliked caring for a baby. Yet, she was
especially attentive to Stella when she cried or was sick. As a young
child, Stella knew that getting love and cared for depended on pleasing
her mother. She learned to get "strokes" by crying, being sick, and
unhappy. Also, Stella soon realized that her mother resented any
closeness she had with her father and enjoyed their fighting. So by
age five, Stella's life script went like this: "I am a lonely, unhappy,
sickly, hateful little girl." That is, she knew she must cry, be sick, and
reject attentive men in order to keep mother's love. Unfortunately, the
script continued year after year, even when she no longer lived with
her mother. 
Being unhappy and sickly, Stella went into a therapy group. There
she started understanding her script. Her favorite fairy tale was about
a beautiful girl held prisoner--and away from a visiting prince--by a
witch. In college literature class, Stella enjoyed a myth about a god
who fell in love with a nymph and then asked a witch to give the
nymph a love potion. Instead, the witch turned the nymph into a
monster anchored to rocks by the sea screaming at the passing
sailors. As Stella understood more clearly why she had strong urges to
alienate men (by being a cynical monster) and why she needed to be
unhappy, she realized she must change her life script. So, she did, and
so can you. 
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