Monday, February 20, 2006

psychotherapy, the importance of actions

N. Branden on psychotherapy:
As I propose to make clear, psychotherapy is properly to be conceived as a process of education through which the patient is (a) led to understand the deficiencies in his method of thinking, and the errors in his values and premises, that underlie his problems; and (b) taught how to improve the efficacy of his thinking processes, and to replace irrational values and premises with rational ones.
And that's all there is to it. When I look at those words, I get a feeling of clarity, as if I'm on the verge of some breakthrough; that I'm close to making a brilliant mental connection that will solve my problems, or at least initiate a process that eventually leads there. That's never the case though (although it is helpful).

The problem is often that I read/hear something that makes perfect sense, while at the same time I have no idea how to use it to my advantage. The added knowledge has some value in itself, of course (it will help future though-processes in numerous ways).

Most of the time in past, though, I've been perfectly content with just stocking my subconscious with truths of various (relevant) kind, but now I've beginning to think more about how I can translate it into action.

From the same essay as above:

As we have discussed, many elements are involved in therapy: helping the patient to identify his feelings and desires, teaching him more effective ways of thinking, leading him to understand his conflicts, etc. Nevertheless, it is vital to keep the patient thinking of his problems in terms of action. By what actions (psycho-epistemological or existential) did he contribute to the creation of his problem? By what action can he move towards the attainment of the kind of life he wants?

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