CHAPTER TWENTY-FOUR: Mind Control and the Problem of Consistency
1. Because of head-injured moments, you are not as consistent in getting the most important things done as you used to, as you want to be, and as you need to be. You CAN do just about anything you need to do, but you DON’T do it every time you need to do it anymore.
2. Consistency problems are no big deal when it comes to some personal habits. I don’t care if you always put the toothpaste top back on the tube when you finish using it (although your husband or wife might care quite a bit–one of the quirky things about a lot of marriages). But I do care if you leave your child in a safety seat sitting on top of your car and drive off (as in the movie Raising Arizona). Doing that just once in a million times is NOT okay. Cussing out a customer is NOT okay, even occasionally. Leaving the keys in
your car is NOT okay, even once in a while. Many, many life tasks require consistency, and head-injured moments disable survivors by taking away that consistency.
3. You can teach yourself to be consistent, but doing that requires structure and work.
4. You make yourself consistent by warning yourself that a head-injured moment is about to happen, every time you enter a situation in which one happened before. Once you give yourself that warning, you naturally become careful, and you usually become careful enough to prevent the head-injured moment from happening again. Analysis forms give you the structure to make that happen. That is why filling them out is so important.
5. Fixing head-injured moments has to be done one situation at a time, and one behavior at a time. You can’t say “I need to stop leaving my purse in public places.” and expect that kind of self-instruction to prevent a head-injured moment. That kind of instruction provides you with no warning when you go into the situation where the problem happens. Do you plan to warn yourself about forgetting your purse EVERY time you go into a public place? Because you’re going to be awfully busy making all of those warnings. And it’s human nature to become hit-and-miss about it. On the other hand, if you left your purse in the library because you rushed out at closing time, it’s easy to warn yourself the next time you’re in THAT situation, since it happens rarely. And that warning will work.
6. That means that your self-therapy has to be done one behavior at a time. You can’t just demand that you stop forgetting things, stop being impulsive, get organized, stop overloading, and so on. Those demands don’t work. Your Treatment Plan needs to focus on very specific behaviors and situations if you are going to actually fix anything. The rest of this book discusses many different kinds of specific behaviors that create problems for some survivors. When you read a chapter that you feel applies to you, or one that your therapy partner advises you to work on, you can add it to your Treatment Plan.
7. In every case, you are trying to make yourself more consistent, using Analysis Forms to pin down when you have the head-injured moments that affect that specific area and then teaching yourself to sound warnings that another head-injured moment might happen when you get into the situation again. Use the rest of this book as a menu, picking out the parts of your life that need self-therapy, and applying the techniques you already learned to teach yourself consistency in each area of need.
8. Some of the chapters deal with complicated activities (such as holding a job or making friends) that involve a number of behaviors all of which need to be fixed. So when you have read a chapter you want to work on, you will need to try to analyze which behaviors need work, and if your list is not complete at first, add other problem behaviors as you work toward your goal.
SELF-THERAPY FOR TRAUMATIC BRAIN INJURY: TEACHING YOURSELF TO PREVENT HEAD-INJURED MOMENTS
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When you have become an expert Self-Therapist, you will be ready to give others the kind of help that made it easier for you to learn Self-Therapy. Don’t just be thankful for the blessings you got–pass them on!
Larry E. Schutz, Ph.D., ABPP
copyright 2006, 2008
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