response); other therapists might teach you how to handle the anger,
as in "fair fighting," (without analyzing the source) and so on. All
methods might work, but insight seems cleaner and more complete if,
as in this case, awareness of the unresolved anger results in fewer
over-reactions in a variety of situations.
Let's suppose at age 24 you are looking at the causes for your
procrastination. One factor among 15 or 20 might be a resentment of
having to work and a wish to return to your care-free years of 8 or 10.
All of us yearn for the security of being totally cared for, being free of
responsibility, having the time to do whatever we feel like doing, etc.
If we thought about it consciously, such child-like wishes would be
seen as unreal and foolish. Yet, if left unconscious, the wishes can
exert some influence, perhaps through the vague feeling that if I don't
study or do well on this job (procrastinate), I can go live at home and
dad will get me a good job and everything will be comfortable and
wonderful. Some part of you has to tell the scared, dependent part to
face facts and stop screwing up your life.
Please note that unconscious factors frequently exert very little
influence relative to the conscious payoffs, emotions, skills and
thoughts. Also, note that unconscious factors may strengthen desirable
tendencies as well as unwanted behaviors and feelings. Examples: the
same sexual interests that push a person to get fat to avoid
temptation may push the same person at another time of life to lose
weight to be sexier. The same drive for child-like dependency that
leads to procrastination may be directed differently and push us into
over-learning for exams.
If you are psychologically ready for this open-mindedness, then
little else needs to be done. You will apply what you read about others
to yourself; you will wonder if friend's and stranger's problems and
urges exist in you too; if you look for unconscious factors, you will find
them. If you are resisting the idea, then you may never see many
unconscious factors in yourself or in others. But you will have to
continue working hard to deny the evidence for the unconscious
discussed in the next section.
If you attempt to examine all the causes of a problem, as
described in steps three and four, it should only take half an hour to
come up with the initial list. But if you read or talk to people and
ponder extensively about the causes, then a few hours will be needed.
Once the list is pretty complete, the assigning of weights won't take
but a few minutes, just give a quick gut response; maybe ask a friend
or a counselor; no one knows the truth.
The major barrier is rejection of the idea of having illegal, immoral,
sinful, gross, mean, selfish impulses lurking inside you without your