Psychological Self-Help

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How to Use This Book to Help Change Yourself:
Steps in Self-Help 
The steps in carrying out a self-help project are described in this
chapter. However, before trying to change we must realize that a
specific change is needed and we must believe change is possible. The
first step below, selecting a self-help project, gives you several
suggestions for overcoming your reluctance to try to change. The key
is to think about the problem--don't avoid it--by reading about it,
talking to others about it, and thinking how life would honestly be
better without the problem. 
After deciding to improve in some specific way, then obviously you
need to understand your problem, overcome your fears of changing
and failing to change, and start to figure out exactly how you can
make the changes you want. This entire book helps you do those
things. Self-help takes a lot of knowledge, it isn't just a simple matter
of having the "will power" to do something, although you must be
motivated to get the knowledge and skills you need to change. 
Recent research says we go through six "stages" when we change:
precontemplation (we aren't thinking about changing yet),
contemplation (starting to think about changing), preparation
(planning to change), action (using self-help methods to change),
maintenance (of our gains), and termination of the project (Prochaska,
Norcross & DiClemente, 1994). This is potentially useful research, not
so much in terms of naming the rather obvious stages in changing, but
rather in terms of discovering how to motivate ourselves from one
stage to another. A lot of people deny the need to make changes, even
more want to change but can't get started. We must stay motivated.
Prochaska, Norcross & DiClemente's suggestions for moving ourselves
from one stage to another are summarized below but these techniques
have not been well researched. Science needs to study self-motivation
much more. 
A valuable aspect of the following 10 steps is a simple system for
analyzing your problem into five parts, which, in turn, will help you
develop a comprehensive plan for changing yourself. This system,
described in step 3, will help you understand any problem situation.
Every problem has five parts or levels: (1) the behavior involved, (2)
the emotions experienced, (3) the skills you may need, (4) the
mental processes involved (thoughts or self-talk, motivations, self-
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