The good psychologist deals with story and identity, he announces. And he who deals with story and identity deals with memory. All your events and experiences, all your insights and history, all that is bound and wrapped into your notion of I—it all depends on memory. (33)
...Well, fears are like mice in the fields. Nobody likes mice, but if you run away from them, if you deny their existence, they will only multiply and ruin the crops and gardens, take over the house. You must go after them and hunt them down. The same is true with fears. You are training here to become an anxiety hunter. Not an anxiety victim. Not anxiety prey. (42)
I have a rule here, he says. You cannot say ‘I don’t know’ about yourself. Your actions and thoughts are yours, they emerge out of you, and you always know something important about them. And if you don’t, then guess. Your guess doesn’t arise from the air, either, but from within you. It too is a sort of knowing. (51)
A part of you feels fear, and another part?
And what does the curious part have that the fearful part does not?
Yes. And this courage is also yours. Fear is an important consultant, but a lousy leader. You can listen to its advice, but you must not let it lead. Courage is a wise leader. You should follow it. (78)
...But I know this: cutting won’t bury the pain. And the pain, the doubts and fears, these are things you can address in therapy. You don’t have to carry everything alone. Nobody can carry their entire burden alone. (168)
...This is the principle of the functional autonomy of motives. It expresses a simple truth: what caused a process to begin is not necessarily what keeps it going….The young psychologist seeks the source of the client’s problems and believes that if he finds the source, he has solved the problem. As a child you were attacked by a vicious dog; that’s why you are terrified of dogs today….The fearsome dog of your childhood explains how your fear of dogs commenced, but not why you are still afraid all these years later, when you are no longer a child and that dog is no longer around. Your childhood story explained your childhood reactions, but not your present reactions. (175)
...Imagine you’re in the ocean, and the waves are quite large, quite scary. What will you do? You can get out of the water, but then you won’t be able to enjoy the ocean. And then the fear controls your life. You are a slave to fear. It determines what you will do. And if you internalize this kind of solution-
avoidance, withdrawal-as your pattern of dealing with fear, then you know what will happen: your life will become a story of withdrawal, continuous defeat in the face of fear, and the more you lose the stronger fear becomes and the weaker you become. In addition, avoidance prevents learning….If you don’t spend time in the water, you’ll never learn to swim. Fear, in its deepest meaning, announces the need to go forward, not the need to retreat. (205)
You are telling yourself that you are not ready. What is this thought?
A guess, an hypothesis.
Right, and what do we do with those?
Test them….The most important thing is to commit to face your fear. No retreat. You cannot go back on this. Once you give your word, you are committed. Whatever happens, you must go through with it. (206-207)
...The goal of therapy is to provide the client with the tools to nurture and maintain psychological health. We help him practice the correct use of the tools; acceptance of emotions, rational examination of thoughts; to consciously confront erroneous patterns of response and embrace the flow of correct, healthy patterns….If the client stands on the tracks and a train is approaching, the client’s emerging anxiety is a correct response…The evidence quite strongly attests to the fact that a head-on encounter with a train is harmful. But if the client stands anxious in front of an elevator, then he must confront his fear, not obey it, because the dangers of the elevator are negligible and avoiding it will cause unnecessary misery….is to find out whether the client’s problem is a train or an elevator; and then your mission is to help the client step off railway tracks and enter elevators. How will you accomplish that?...with your alert and accepting yet uninvolved presence; with reflection and guidance—those are the ingredients. (222)
...And still it is important to remember that however fluent and aware and accepting you are, however illuminating and healing the therapeutic experience, still it won’t suffice to move the client. One hour a week of battering against the walls cannot breach a fortress built over many long years. The lessons learned in session must be translated into everyday practice. The shape of one’s life, in the final analysis, emerges from the sum of one’s everydays. (222-223)