Psychological Self-Help

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a path leading towards a big forest. The path enters the woods; take it
and see what you find there. How do you feel inside the woods? Take a
couple of minutes; notice what you do inside the woods. [Pause] (2)
You notice that the path takes you along a small stream which flows
into a beautiful lake with a fantastic beach. Spend some time at the
lake. See what you do. How do you feel? What happens there? [Pause]
(3) You continue walking on the path beyond the lake. It goes through
farm land with fields on each side. In the grass along the path, you
find a bright shiny object. Find out what it is. How do you feel about it?
Do something with it so you can continue on. [Pause] (4) Further
along the path you approach a house. What kind of house is it? How
do you feel about going near a house? What do you do there? [Pause]
(5) After walking on the path a long time, you are in a remote area.
There are no houses or fields, just scrubby bushes and old logs. All of
a sudden there is a bear right in front of you! What does it do? What
do you do? How do you feel? What kind of bear is it? What happens?
[Pause] You are able to handle the situation with the bear. You feel
fine now; the bear has gone away and won't be back. You might want
to go on and have more fantasies like those mentioned above.
Eventually, when you have finished your imaginary journey, you
should imagine going back the same trail--pass the remote area, the
house, the shiny object, the lake, and the woods--and then coming
back to the here and now. 
What do the unique and specific fantasies you have just had mean?
Perhaps nothing. Any interpretations are merely speculations, but
there are some interesting possibilities for you to consider. If these
suggestions seem ridiculous, that's fine, enjoy the humor in it. But if
these ideas seem to "strike a cord," then give it some more thought:
(1) Your reactions going into the woods --positive (wonderful and
beautiful) or negative (dark and threatening)--may indicate what you
expect from life. (2) What you do on the beach may reflect your
feelings about sex, e.g. you may get all excited, take off your clothes,
jump in, and have a ball or you may abstain thinking the water is
dirty, unsafe, or frigid. (3) The bright shiny object represents love, so
note if you think it is something precious which you will keep forever
or if it is disappointing and you throw it away, like an old rusty hub
cap. (4) The house may indicate how materialistic you are (it may be a
mansion or an old shack) and your comfort about approaching the
house may reflect your trust of others and/or your feelings about
family life. (5) How you handle the bear may be similar to how you
handle problems or crises in life. For instance, I see a huge bear and
run like hell. Foolish as that is, perhaps running is exactly what a
person who obsesses with problems (and spends 25 years gathering
problem solving methods) would do. Interestingly, some people deny
problems by seeing the "bear" as a cute little harmless bear cub. I
hope it is obvious that these "interpretations" should not be taken too
seriously. Have fun, share your fantasies with others. 
The stories you like and how you respond to a fable or parable
says something about you (see the eagle-raised-like-a-chicken story in
method #4 above). Malamud (1973) describes this scene: You are in a
room which contains a bird cage with a bird in it. The bird is excited
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