Psychological Self-Help

Navigation bar
  Home Print document View PDF document Start Previous page
 130 of 149 
Next page End Contents 125 126 127 128 129 130 131 132 133 134 135  

have often thought how terrible it would be if I hit a child darting out
from between cars (and, Oh, God, it would truly be horrible). But a
concern is--it would be even worse if I overestimated my responsibility
for the accident. The pie-technique has you assign a portion of the pie
to each cause, starting with the person responsible for watching the
child (40%), the people who had not taught the child about the
dangers (20%), the child him/herself (0-20% depending on age), the
weather and lighting conditions (10%), the decision-makers and
drivers who permitted and parked there (5%), chance or bad luck
(20%), etc. At the end, I have to decide how much of the remaining
percentage I would be responsible for. Thus, we can see that we may
not be "responsible" at all and certainly aren't totally responsible (of
course, if we were speeding, distracted, drunk, or carelessly jumped
the curb, that is a different matter). 
Another approach to questioning the overestimation of
responsibility is the "double standard" technique. You simply ask
yourself if you would hold another person responsible if the same thing
happened to them as happened to you. Examples: if your son got
cancer, would you blame another mother/father whose son got
cancer? If your daughter became schizophrenic, would you blame the
parents of another girl who became schizophrenic? If not, by what
logic are you more responsible than others? As you can see, these
techniques are simple methods for straightening out our own thinking.
See chapter 14. You can often test out the reality or validity of your
Helpful material
See chapter 4's discussion of unwanted behaviors and method #8
in chapter 11. The best, most complete, most detailed self-help guide
to various Obsessive-Compulsive Disorders is by Penzel (2000). It is
helpful to patients, their families and even professionals. Mental Health
professionals rated Levenkron's (1991) self-help book highly, but,
being an insight therapist, his approach assumes that obsessions or
compulsions stem from a painful childhood or poor genes. One self-
help book focuses only on compulsive shopping (Catalano &
Sonenberg, 1993). Other self-help references are Lakin (1993),
Rapaport (1989), and Steketee & White (1990). A cognitive self-help
approach is provided by Schwartz (1996), who urges the patient to
view his/her obsessive-compulsive symptoms as being a medical
condition in which the brain is sending a false message ("something
terrible will happen if you don't wash your hands again"), then the
patient is urged to do and think about other things (not the O-C
actions), and to take pride in gaining self-control. An excellent
professional reference is Beck & Emery (1985) but it is not self-help.
Also, write to The OCD Foundation, P. O. Box 9573, New Haven, CT
06535 for information and for self-help groups. 
( provides research, newsletters, book
reviews, and chat.
Previous page Top Next page

« Back