Psychological Self-Help

Navigation bar
  Home Print document View PDF document Start Previous page
 38 of 50 
Next page End Contents 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43  

unconscious motives is, at best, a waste of time or, at worst, foolish
and destructive nonsense. Some people feel that they should just
naturally be good listeners, good empathizers, good conversationalists,
good lovers, etc. without having to learn any new social skills. Others
are insatiable social skills training "groupies." Still others are afraid of
groups--or think they can't learn anything from peers; only
professionals could tell them anything. Many people believe that a
complete, logical, compelling and moral philosophy of life should
magically form inside their minds without their having to study various
philosophies or debate moral dilemmas at length. Others are
constantly pondering the meaning of life; some find meaning, others
Still other self-helpers believe, like Freud, that unconscious factors
are the important determiners of what happens in our lives, so looking
for "games people play," for unconscious defense mechanisms, for old
emotional garbage, for sinister motives, or for "scripts" from early
childhood are the only parts of psychology that interest them. Often
these people spend all their time searching for their unconscious
dynamics and never bother to change. 
What are my points? Recognize your biases. These emotional
reactions strongly influence the effectiveness you will have with
specific methods. So, use your "beliefs" in certain methods to your
advantage. In the long run, however, try to guard against having
unfounded biases or hopes; try all kinds of methods and fairly evaluate
them all. I have noticed that psychologists who have a negative
attitude towards some technique, such as projective tests, hypnosis,
NLP, dream analysis, etc., have more often never studied or used the
technique, rather than have used the technique and found it to be
ineffective. The world is filled with skeptics and naysayers. Try to be
open-minded and learn for yourself. Be sure your negative views of
certain self-help methods are based on facts, good research, or your
own experience; avoid having opinions based on comments from
someone else who is also inexperienced. 
Avoid striving for the perfect plan! DO SOMETHING!
Don't spend too much time planning how to change. It can be an
excuse for doing nothing. Make decisions about goals and methods,
then get on with it! Again and again in this book I will tell you to DO
SOMETHING, meaning you need to take action. Often just simple acts
will produce the desired changes. There is a story about Milton
Erickson, an unusually clever and insightful therapist, being asked to
make a house call on a reclusive woman who never spoke to anyone
and seldom left her house. Dr. Erickson spent less than an hour with
the lady and found out she was depressed, felt unneeded and lonely,
and was so shy she arrived at church late and left early so she
wouldn't have to interact with anyone. He observed she had several
African violets in her modest home. So, as he left, he gave her this
prescription: "start growing more flowers, ask the priest to notify you
of every birth, wedding, and death in the parish, and send a flower on
Previous page Top Next page

« Back