helper will understand and control his/her thoughts as well as
As Freud openly admitted, therapists usually find they have
tendencies similar to their clients. After seeing patients, Freud devoted
time every day to self-exploration. If therapists did not have this
awareness and tolerance of their own basic drives, they would surely
have more difficulty helping their patients gain insight. Part of
becoming an effective therapist and, likewise, a good patient is to
become open-minded, to accept that everything is true of you to some
extent. This is "a hard pill to swallow"--what about murder or incest or
becoming totally dependent? You may have very little tendency in
certain directions, but there is probably some. The point is not so
much that we are all potentially vile, crude, and dangerous, but rather
the idea is that we should be able to explore within our own psyche
and soul. It can be an exciting, fruitful adventure.
To learn to accept needs and ideas that have been denied. This
may include saintly motives, such as the urge to feed the 30
children dying somewhere every minute from starvation, as
well as sinful ones.
To recognize the likelihood that behavior is complexly
STEP ONE: Look for multiple causes of behavior and consider
that "everything is true of you."
I have consistently encouraged you to think of the causes of your
behavior as being complex. First, as chapter 2 says, there are five
parts to every problem--behavior, emotions, skills, cognitive and
unconscious factors. Each part has many causes, e.g. if the problem is
being overweight, the behavioral habit of eating dessert at lunch and
dinner is one aspect of overall eating behavior. But, overeating is also
a function of many other behavioral-environmental factors, such as
childhood and current eating habits, food availability in the house,
tradition and social environment, spouse's and friends' attitudes, and
so on. The lack of exercise is related and also caused by many factors.
Likewise, emotions--stress, loneliness, sadness, guilt, feeling
inadequate, and anger--may contribute to eating. Each emotion has its
own complex history and causes, and its own connection with eating.
The lack of knowledge about calories and cooking skills can contribute
to overeating, as can denial, rationalizations, excuses, a defeatist
attitude and other rational and irrational cognitions. Finally, we have
unconscious factors, each with its own learning history. By now the
foolishness of the fallacy of the single cause, referred to in chapter 14,
should be clear to you. Humans are complex. Probably most behaviors
or thoughts or motives have 15 or 20 or more contributing causes.