Psychological Self-Help

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rewards, plus (d) a diary focusing on how you excuse your
procrastination and blame others for your problems are all the
methods you would need (as your first try). If these methods don't
work, there are lots of other methods to try. 
Likewise, suppose you have frequent headaches for which your
physician cannot find a physical cause. Your self-help may concentrate
on only three parts: part 1, (behavior) observing the circumstances
that precede a headache to gain understanding of the causes, part 2,
(emotions) learning to relax to counteract the stress, and part 5,
(unconscious factors) using meditation or focusing (see chapters 12
and 15) to become aware of the repressed emotions that might cause
a headache. If repressed emotions are found, then they can be dealt
with directly. In brief, keep your initial plans very basic and straight-
Become a connoisseur of self-help methods; collect them, modify
them, invent them. READ other books related to your problem. TALK
to people who have solved the problem themselves, to counselors, to
friends, etc. Consider tentatively several methods to change each part
of your problem; don't just automatically select a method just because
you have heard of it. Don't just use the same method over and over
again, there may be better ways of changing. Also, use methods that
will not only solve the immediate problem but will also help you cope
with life in the future, e.g. decision-making skills, build self-esteem,
etc. Obviously, you can't learn everything you need to know in just a
few days, so for your current self-help project select the best two or
three methods you have found for changing two or three parts of your
problem. Then get on with it. 
Unjustified emotional reactions--positive and negative--to
certain self-help methods
As you read and think about possible solutions to your problems,
you will have to rely on research findings or clinical opinions and/or
your subjective reaction to each self-help method. Often the methods
you believe will work best actually do, probably because you have
positive expectations. Trust your judgment (until the results come in).
As you get more and more experienced with self-help, your reactions
to certain methods will change, depending on how well they have
worked for you in the past. An experienced self-helper will adapt old
methods and adopt new methods. 
You are likely to find, however, that from the very beginning you
have positive and negative reactions to certain methods which are not
based on real experience. For instance, some people think (without
trying it) that it is childish or overly mechanistic to reward their own
desirable behavior, feeling they should just carry out the behavior
because it is reasonable or right or satisfying, not because it is
followed by a silly little piece of candy. Other self-helpers are just the
opposite and prefer to concentrate almost entirely on rewarding
desired behaviors, feeling (without trying it) that speculation about
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