Psychological Self-Help

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with the child care and her developing more teaching skills so she
would get more recognition. She went down stairs a changed person
and they had a nice talk about home responsibilities and exciting
futures for both of them. 
Free association and word association test
Freud first used hypnosis to uncover the patient's unconscious
feeling and conflicts. This wasn't entirely satisfactory, so he switched
to free association. For the last 80 to 90 years, Psychoanalysts have
instructed their patients to lie on the couch and talk about whatever
comes to their mind, regardless if it is logically connected to the
previous topic or if it seems related to their troubles or not. The
patient is free to say anything. The therapist will probably not react at
all, certainly not negatively. In effect, the patient is also relieved of
his/her responsibility for what he/she spontaneously discloses. Under
these conditions, perhaps, the internal "censor" of the unconscious will
relax so unconscious material can emerge, at least symbolically.
Psychoanalysis may take 300 to 500 or more hours; that is a lot of
associations. Actually, very few therapists use free association today,
it takes too long at $75-$150 an hour. 
It is unlikely that you will want to take 500 hours over the next
year or two to do a self-psychoanalysis by recording your free
associations. Yet, it was seriously recommended by Karen Horney
(1942). It would not be unlike meditating daily; it is sort of letting the
body speak; it would involve a study of your entire life by listening to
your associations and thoughts about events in your life; it would allow
emotions and forgotten memories to surface. 
A more practical modification would consist of recording only a few
hours of free association on a tape recorder. It is very informative and
enlightening to listen to yourself (see chapter 12). It may be even
more helpful if you listen for the more emotionally laden or suggestive
sections and then express these ideas over and over again with more
feeling. In this way, you can sometimes find and fully express the
hidden feelings. That is the purpose of Psychoanalysis: to uncover the
unconscious which always has strong negative emotions attached (see
the last section on dream interpretation). It would also be helpful if
you shared your associations with a small helpful group and got their
To do a word association "test" you need someone's help. Single
words are presented to you (you must not know what the words will
be) and you respond as quickly as possible with the first word that
comes to your mind. Words thought to be emotionally significant to
you are scattered among common words. The significance of your
response is judged subjectively--sort of clinical conjecture about the
specific word you blurt out. Also, some significance is attached to how
long it takes you to respond. A long response suggests some kind of
emotional blockage. 
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