A word of caution: The five parts of the problem do not include all of the possible causes
of a problem. They only include the psychological parts within you. What else might be a
cause of your problems?
Biological and chemical factors: genetic factors, constitution,
physical illness, organically based psychiatric conditions (like
schizophrenia or manic-depression), physical and mental handicaps,
hormones (like PMS), prescribed and street drugs, alcohol, nutritional
influences, allergies, etc. Factors such as these may be the primary
cause of your problem, that's why you must see a physician when
psychological cures don't do much for you (see step 1).
Current physical and social environment: recent crises or stresses,
breaking up, losing a friend or a job, doing poorly on a test, poverty,
abuse, poor work and/or living conditions, poor education, a lack or
excess of friends, the overwhelming demands of a large family, being
teased, being sexually harassed, etc. Factors such as these may also
cause your problem or, at least, contribute to the problem. You may or
may not be able to change your environment. How you perceive and
react to the environment is a psychological process, however.
(Childhood experiences certainly also affect your current behavior,
personality, and attitudes. However, the memories and/or emotional
reactions of these events are still in you; they aren't just history, they
are current, powerful psychological factors in your memory now. These
old habits, emotional garbage, expectations, beliefs, etc. clearly
influence your current adjustment. Throughout this book, the current
impact of your childhood and earlier life is constantly considered,
especially in chapters 9, 14, and 15.)
Obviously, a perfect analysis of your problem would require that all
factors be taken into account to fully understand and explain your
problem--it almost always is very complex. You could spend hours
exploring the history and the current dynamics. As I said, you
probably don't need a perfect analysis. Some understanding is
worthwhile, but clearly there is a limit, perhaps an hour or two of
reading and thinking, unless it is a very complex or important problem.
You have to move on to setting goals for yourself and developing a
For every complex problem, there is a simple answer... and it is wrong.