Psychological Self-Help

Navigation bar
  Home Print document View PDF document Start Previous page
 90 of 108 
Next page End Contents 85 86 87 88 89 90 91 92 93 94 95  

those groups, but the meaningful experience, the wisdom, and insight did not
usually come from me! Ordinary people, who have had real life experience,
are wonderful sources of knowledge. Knowledge in this case isn't from
reading research and books; it is from watching and experiencing real life--
which is the true laws of behavior in action. See the discussion of support
groups in chapter 5. 
This book is not about psychotherapy, but I would be amiss if I did not
remind you that the principle means of gaining self-awareness and insights
today is talking to a well trained, experienced, and empathic therapist. Too
often we do not recognize ourselves when we read about problems like ours
in a book. Surely we will learn more about writing insight-producing but safe
Time involved, common problems with these methods, and
You could try out most of the self-analysis methods in this section in an
hour or two. But to use any of them effectively as a means of gaining insight
into your ongoing unconscious processes, it would take time each day,
perhaps an hour-a-day, like Freud. Serious self-discovery within the
unconscious is an endless task, so maybe it should be called a life-style,
rather than a self-help method. 
Memories and emotions are probably in our unconscious because they
make us feel awful and ashamed or because they make us feel tense and
uncomfortable. Bringing such an unconscious thought or feeling to our
awareness is likely to be stressful, something to be undertaken with some
caution. These uncovering methods are not the "royal road" to everyone's
unconscious; they don't always work and sometimes when they "work" they
yield false information. If you can't get results by yourself or if you fear what
might happen by yourself, these are good and sufficient reasons for getting
professional help. 
Very little is known scientifically about self-analysis of unconscious
material. I "believe" some people can do it with little training and guidance
(such as this chapter); they have a talent for finding hidden causes for their
feelings. For many, though, the greatest barrier is their resistance to trying
things that seem "silly," such as telling stories to pictures, drawing pictures,
sharing fantasies, free associating, or letting the body talk. Actually,
therapists also vary in terms of their readiness to try some new techniques
for insight. I like the more adventurous type. Neither therapists nor self-
helpers have any scientific basis for predicting which methods will work best
for you. It is an art. 
On the other hand, it is my opinion, also based on much experience, that
the most productive therapy hours are when the patient is emotionally upset,
often in a crisis. The emotions pour out. Old related memories flood back. The
hurting patient doesn't try to impress the therapist or to keep him/herself
under control; he/she just blurts out the feelings as they flood into his/her
mind. This is a truly insightful time. When the patient is in such a state, the
therapist doesn't need skill or methods or techniques; he/she just needs to
Previous page Top Next page

« Back