What Is He Thinking?

Decoding the male psyche.

Psychotherapy Is Much Simpler Than You Might Think

The process by which psychotherapy works is made too complicated. 2 researchers, Joseph Weiss and Harold Sampson, have published research over 50 years, arguing persuasively that people suffer from "pathogenic beliefs" that interfere with normal developmental aims and that the role of the therapist is to provide insight and corrective experiences to cure their suffering. Read More

Very good article. I agree

Very good article. I agree wholeheartedly,
Robert A Berezin, MD author of "Psychotherapy of Character, the Play of Consciousness in the Theater of the Brain."

Value of aims and the importance of values

Interestingly, in the introduction paragraph, the author mentions the interference of "pathogenic beliefs" with normal developmental aims.

I think this means that it is important for clients/patients to become aware of what they really find important. What do they really value? Thinking about your values can help to control your instinctive emotional drives and impulses caused by the "pathogenic beliefs" from childhood.

And even the word "corrective" is mentioned in the last line of the introduction indicating that norms are active . Also "normal development" indicate norms. Some people might feel that this is too much about "norms and values", but norms are derived from values, in it sounds much better when the phrase is used in the reversed way "values and norms". First, people need to become conscious of their values and then they decide on norms. In the context of this article, people can decide that old behaviour caused by "pathogenic beliefs" no longer helps them to achieve their aims or obtain their values. This is work for the thinking part of the mind that can decide on what is valuable and normal.

This is really an interesting field, where the conscious thinking in the neocortex can help to judge which fast and instinctive reactions, learned as a very young child often, are still valuable and which should be be ignored because they do not serve the purpose they had earlier perhaps.

This also fits nicely with the work of Ingeborg Bosch ("Illusions") on how early childhood defense mechanisms (only five: fear, guilt, false hope, false power and denial of need) cause "pathological beliefs" on which people can base their behaviour when triggers similar to events in the past trigger the typical behaviour.

I strongly belief that psychotherapist can help patients/clients to decide what is really important and help them to use these values to abandon old patterns that are based in 'pathological beliefs'. Interestingly, Ingeborg Bosch argues that these beliefs were perhaps once useful to mask traumatic events in early childhood in a phase of life where the concept of time was not really developed and situations could feel to last for ever.

Ingeborg Bosch shows how patients/clients can learn to disconfirm their own "pathological beliefs". The techniques in "Illusions" of Ingeborg Bosch helped me a lot to discard all strong emotions that came up too fast (triggered by something not really responsible for my emotional response). Recommendable for therapists and clients.

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Michael Bader, D.M.H.,  is a psychologist and psychoanalyst in San Francisco. He is the author of Male Sexuality: Why Women Don't Understand It—and Men Don't Either.

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