Psychological Self-Help

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makes it worse. Likewise, developing a clinical explanation of why you
are upset doesn't help. The solution to overwhelming emotions is not a
head trip (see Gestalt techniques in method # 2). Freud also knew
very well that no one ever makes great therapeutic changes just by
intellectually recognizing "I probably had an Oedipus Complex." True
helpful insight into the Oedipus situation involves remembering and
"working through" real episodes of strong attachment to mother,
longing for her closeness, getting in touch with your animosity towards
father, and lots of fears, urges, guilt, and frustrations. It is uncovering
these strong, taboo, emotional experiences, which are still stored in
our bodies, that are shoved into the unconscious, not some intellectual
concept or explanation, that are curative. 
When the "felt sense" of any situation, event, or person is focused
on, it has the power to change. When your "felt sense" about a
situation or problem changes, then you change. Many therapists would
agree with Gendlin that there may be great wisdom in the body, if we
will listen to it. It will tell us what is wrong, even when our head can't
figure it out. In my opinion, focusing isn't the only fruitful method for
tapping unconscious wisdom, but it is worth a try. 
Gendlin suggests the following steps: 
Find your concerns. Relax and slowly use your "felt sense" (not
your mind or your feelings) to identify several concerns. The
concerns may be events, situations, physical problems
(headache, fatigue, tension), or persons. Do not probe or
elaborate on these concerns at this point. Don't list all your
problems, just what is bugging you now. (One or two minutes) 
Select your main concern and get a "felt sense" of it. First, use
your body or felt sense to select your main problem at this time
to focus on. Do not try to figure out the problem; do not
concern yourself with all the complex factual details and do not
dwell on the intense or mixed emotions you might be feeling.
Instead, stand back from the problem, avoid obsessing about it.
Second, again using your "felt sense" (not your mind), try to
get a vague, intuitive, holistic but unclear sense of the whole
problem. Don't cognitively analyze or solve the problem.
Instead, try to sense what this whole problem feels like. (A
couple of minutes) 
Find a tentative "handle." Use your "felt sense" to find a word,
phrase, or image that fits exactly the "felt sense" you have of
the problem. You want a phrase that captures the basic
emotional quality of the problem; get a "handle" on it. The
descriptive words should reflect the "bodily sensed" nature of
the problem; they might be words like pushed around, scared,
really attracted, sad, oppressed, pulled different directions,
confused, jealous, discouraged, very peaceful, and so on. (A
minute or so) 
Repeatedly compare your "felt sense” of the problem with the
descriptive words, the "handle," you selected. Often the "felt
sense" will change as you dwell on it, so change the descriptive
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