Psychological Self-Help

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and saying something to the cage. What? The cage answers. Listen to
the conversation. What are the bird and the cage saying? [Pause]
Now, the bird begins to frantically try to get out of the cage. What are
they saying? [Pause] Finally, the bird breaks out and flies away. They
continue yelling at each other. What are they saying? [Pause] Now, a
strange thing happens, the bird flies back into the cage. For the first
time, as an observer, you feel like saying something. What do you
want to say? [Pause] After you have finished, the bird looks you
squarely in the eye and says... [Pause] 
Many of us have been in many cages--a job, a class, a relationship,
a family, a handicap, a string of bad luck--and we bring those
experiences into this story. Perhaps you are being held captive now
and have had little awareness of it, until you projected yourself into
the story. 
One more idea about fantasies. For 25 years, Lloyd Silverman and
his colleagues have done a large number of experiments which
suggest a subliminal stimulus (a drawing and/or a few words) can
influence how logically schizophrenics think, how well we perform
(throw darts), our sexual orientation, how much patients profit from
therapy and so on (Silverman, Lachmann & Milich, 1982). It is
especially amazing because the words are presented several times but
for only 4 milliseconds each time--which is just a blur of light to our
conscious mind. It is also amazing because the words express an
unclear and complex thought, "Mommy and I are one." Perhaps most
amazing of all, Silverman speculates that this blur of light triggers off
specific unconscious fantasies! And it is those supposed fantasies, for
which there is no evidence at all (neither awareness nor brain
activity), that are assumed to influence our thinking, actions, feeling,
etc. Amazing, indeed. In other words, we have fascinating data and
one far-out theory but we don't know what is really going on. 
Needless to say, there is much debate about these experiments
(see Balay and Shevrin, 1988). What is very clear, however, is that
these effects, fascinating as they are, are not "robust," as the
scientists say, i.e. the experiments frequently can't be repeated. That's
a serious problem. Also, another thing, how many of you have a
tachistoscope (an expensive device that flashes images very quickly)?
Very few. So, why am I talking about this stuff? Because there are too
many findings to dismiss and because the idea of having certain kinds
of fantasies to achieve certain results may be useful. Unfortunately,
science isn't yet of much use to you on this matter. 
Silverman is trying to prove Freudian theories. Silverman's theory
is that "Mommy and I are one" triggers unconscious fantasies, an
universal wish to be secure, cared for, loved, and safe with our
mothers, perhaps even a fantasy of oneness with her in the sense of
being so young that we don't yet know the difference between her and
us (called symbiotic fantasy). Furthermore, the theory says that
having these unconscious symbiotic fantasies is helpful in almost every
way. Silverman called this unconscious merging-with-mother fantasy
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