You're in Charge:
A Guide to Becoming Your Own Therapist
The Art of Self-Observation
The Two Magic Questions
part of this book is deceptively simple. There are two magic questions
that you need to ask yourself. The answers that you generate should
provide the guidance that you need.
The first magic question:
What is happening right now?
And this includes: What
am I doing?
What am I feeling?
What am I thinking?
How am I breathing?
The second magic question:
What do I want for myself in this new moment?
That is, do I want to
continue the same doing/thinking/feeling/breathing? Or, do I want
to make some changes? Actually, you will make many changes upon
becoming aware of what is without making a deliberate decision to
change. For example, the question to another ......"Are you
aware of your breathing right now?"......... invariably elicits
an immediate change. It's as if the question makes him aware that
he is inhibiting a normal, full breathing cycle and allows his body
to say "Whew!" in relief, take a deep breath, and then
exhale it. And how is your breathing right now, after having read
An important maxim states:
Change occurs when you become what you are, not when you try to
become what you are not. Change does not occur by resolves to "do
better," by "trying," by demands from authority figures,
persuasion, or interpretations from Important Others. Paradoxically,
change seems to happen when you have abandoned the chase after what
you want to be (or think you should be) and have accepted--- and
fully experienced--- what you are.
The chapters to come
will develop different ways for you to ask yourself these two magic
questions. As you become aware of what is, and of what you want,
you become cognizant of how you're in charge . . . and of all the
alternatives, options, and choices that are yours to make.
Much of the book consists
of exercises that I developed rather spontaneously and intuitively
in workshops and classes. My suggestion is that you do each exercise
at the time it is proposed. You might want to have a special notebook
(preferably hardbound) in which to record the results of the exercises.
You may choose not to do the exercises but to continue reading or
to close the book and do something else altogether. That's fine.
I hope that you will be aware that you are making a choice, that
you're in charge and perhaps, also, that you can identify the voice
within, the subpersonality, that urges you to the course of action
that you take.
I'd like to caution
you, however, that your major discoveries and changes will come
from doing the exercises rather than just reading about them. What
you hear, you're apt to forget. What you see, you may remember.
What you do, you understand. And you need to do the things you fear
if you want to grow.
My own self-observation
at this point as I try to visualize those of you who will embark
on this course of self-therapy? Pleasure at having finished the
manuscript for you and regret at not being able to know you or to
watch and enjoy your progress. Being allowed to observe the growth
and discoveries of another is the greatest privilege of being a