Psychological Self-Help

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The second step is checking to see if the sequence of emotions (and
outcome) in the early memory is similar to the emotional sequence in current
problems (column C). Are you following an old script? In this case, you can
see that the same old drama--a self-put down or a "Kick Me" game--is being
played. He sees himself as trying real hard to be good to his wife but SHE
changes topics putting him down in an argument. Thus, his feeling inadequate
and angry is HER FAULT. And, he ends up feeling ineffective, unloved and
abandoned, just like when he was three years old and played with dad. He is
still trying to solve his problems in the same old ways. We all may be doing
that sometimes. 
Of course, the purpose is to give up the self-defeating life-style and get
your life more like you want it to be. So, the idealized early experience
(column B) provides another sequence of emotions that this person might try
to substitute for the current problem's sequence. This person needs to take
more responsibility for being easygoing, fun loving, intimate, accepting,
trusting, empathic and more confident, so he can end up feeling close to
others and loved, instead of a loser. He has a lot of work to do but his early
memories may help him get started. 
Fourth, other therapists (Colker and Funk, 1981) have combined early
recollections with psychodrama. First of all, the person's early memory is
connected with current problems by first asking him/her to describe a recent
difficulty; second, describe a similar episode in Jr High or High School; third,
describe an early childhood memory related to the problem. The Willhite
method is also used, so the psychodrama group has memories, how-I-wish-it-
had-been, and other current concerns to "act out" or role play (see chapter
13). By re-enacting the memories and problems, the emotions become more
vivid, more obvious, and easier to handle. A therapeutic group can then
discuss and rehearse better ways of emoting and handling the problems. 
Other self-help methods, helping groups, therapy
Passing mention should be made of meditation (see chapter 12) as a
means of gaining insight. It is considered by some people to be a major
method. Certainly, the other methods in this chapter contribute to "self-
analysis," the title of this section. Also, all the chapters from 3 to 10 are
oriented towards increasing our cognitive understanding of common
problems, which addresses our unawareness attributable to ignorance (not
what we ordinarily call unconscious). Another part of our unawareness may
be attributable to our unconscious, as in defense mechanisms (chapter 5) or
self-deception as in procrastination (chapter 4), values (chapter 3), and
denial of emotions (chapters 5-8). This chapter buttresses the other chapters
in addressing these latter kinds of blind spots. 
I have spent a lot of time in helping, encounter, or support groups--
hundreds of them over a period of 30 years. My experience in groups has
been very positive. It is scary (sometimes) but usually very helpful to share
your problems with a concerned group. They ask you things you hadn't
thought of; they share their relevant experiences with you; they suggest
actions and viewpoints you had never considered. One more thing I want to
make perfectly clear: I had more professional credentials than anyone else in
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