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Thursday, March 6, 2014

 A.B. Curtiss writes for EZArticles. Her latest article: "How Nobody's Park Became Mine" is now online.

How Nobody's Park Became Mine
By A.B. Curtiss
There is a little tri-corner piece of property, probably less than a quarter acre, nestled among my house and three others. I walk by it every morning and watch it fill up with weeds. The owner hasn't lived in his house for maybe 15 years. Once or twice a year he sends a yard man to clean up the little park. But the weed cycle soon takes over again.
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Monday, March 3, 2014

Why Your Psychotherapy May not be Working

        There is a huge unrecognized problem with psychotherapy today. Neither the therapist nor the patient grasp the fact that most of what occurs during their sessions is that the patient is trying to go back and "fix" their history or at least be paid for it.
        The patient is still angry and hurt about being shortchanged by earlier abandonment or abuse, and they want to be reimbursed. Wants justice. Wants recognition for the pain. Wants the therapist to blame the abuser, or the terrible circumstances of the past, and take any blame away from the patient for failing in their own present life.
        Why does this happen? We all avoid dealing with our own repressed fear and pain, which is extremely painful by blaming. Which is why therapy takes so many years.
        The patient is still using the process of blame to avoid seeing their fear, and being able to address their fear, so they can make more positive behavior choices. So the "other causes" and "life history" start to seem more important and powerful than "the patient" and his effort at making something out of his regular day. When the past becomes more important than the present, you can't live in the NOW.
        In most psychotherapy, therapist and the patient both believe the patient is trying to fix her daily life. But if that were true, they would not need to go over and over and over the patient's past background. Child abuse or bullying of any kind has nothing to do with adult choices except that it is easier to fall into habitual use of old negative habit patterns than to form new positive patterns of behavior.
        One of the worst things for a therapist to do is have their patient constantly "pillow-bashing" their former abuser. In order words, having the patient express their anger in acting out in symbolic aggression against the abuser. This is a waste of time. This old fear and anger (fear focused outside oneself) should be brought up, fully acknowledged and accepted rather than bypassed by acting it out. By acceptance, I mean allowed to finish by being recognized and felt deeply by the patient.
        The scientific fact is that old poor behavior patterns have no power to limit one's use of good behavior patterns. This includes former crazy behavior as well, which is not often thought of as a choice. Once we realize this fact, then we can simply put all our energy into practicing new thinking and behavior patterns, until the new patterns become dominant over the old poor thinking and behavior patterns.
        The old thinking and behavior patterns will still exist in the memory banks but as new ones take precedence, the old ones cease to be used as often. This is due to the brain's plasticity. The brain creates new neural patterns as a result of new behavior and new thinking. These new neural patterns can be used instead of the old ones. It is the patient's choice which patterns to use.
        But this seems too simple. Most people prefer the "therapy" for fixing their life to be complicated so that there is more excuse for lack of success. Why would we want lack of success? It is human nature to settle for the old ways, the known, even if it's miserable, than to risk the new. As the old phrase goes "better the Devil we know than the Devil we don't know."
        The new positive behavior choices generally involve dealing with your fear. Repressed fears are extremely painful. The more you are willing to risk addressing your fear, the less need you have for excuses, and the more you will use your energy to take the simple road of applying new and better behavior and thinking patterns, and therefore making yourself a better brain to insure yourself a better life.
        The funny thing is that you could write yourself any kind of life-story history, and substitute it for your real background, and take it to a therapist, and the change would have no effect on your therapy. The only difference is that your real history EXPLAINS your fear. But you don't need your fear explained. You just need to address your fear so that it can finish, and you can move on to make something of your day.


A. B. Curtiss is a board-certified cognitive behavioral therapist, diplomat of the board--psychology, certified hypnotist, author of 12 books, and the creator of brainswitching, a system of mind exercises to get out of depression. Her books have been translated in 5 languages including Japanese and Russian.