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Self-help

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Title:
Self-help a personal communication
Portion of title:
Personal communication
Creator:
Hartz, Shari Ann
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Language:
English
Physical Description:
v, 142 leaves : forms ; 29 cm

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Subjects / Keywords:
Self-help techniques ( lcsh )
Self-help techniques ( fast )
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bibliography ( marcgt )
theses ( marcgt )
non-fiction ( marcgt )

Notes

Bibliography:
Includes bibliographical references (leaves 136-142).
General Note:
Submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree, Master of Arts, Communication.
General Note:
Department of Communication
Statement of Responsibility:
by Shari Ann Hartz.

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|University of Colorado Denver
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Auraria Library
Rights Management:
All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier:
38329627 ( OCLC )
ocm38329627
Classification:
LD1190.L48 1997m .H37 ( lcc )

Full Text
SELF-HELP: A PERSONAL COMMUNICATION
by
Shari Ann Hartz
B.A., University of Colorado at Denver, 1988
A thesis submitted to the
University of Colorado at Denver
in partial fulfillment
of the requirements for the degree of
Master of Arts
Communication
1997


This thesis for the Master of Arts
degree by
Shari Ann Hartz
has been approved
by
Mike Monsour
Barbara Hoi
ZV, /?9?
v Date


Hartz, Shari Ann (M.A. Communication and Theater)
Self-Help: A Personal Communication
Thesis directed by Professor Samuel Betty
ABSTRACT
This study examines the effects of a self-help course on
the life-satisfaction of the participants. The course
uses a variety of self-communication techniques. In this
research life-satisfaction is determined by a decrease in
anxiety and depression and an increase in relationship
satisfaction. The study used a pre-test/post-test
design, which utilizes both quantitative and qualitative
measures to compare the means of the experimental and
control group. The information gathered suggests the
course may have had a possitive effect, but the small
sample size resulted in a great deal of variability and
an inconclusive analysis.
This abstract accurately represents the content of the
candidate's thesis. I recommend its publication.
S igned
iii


ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
I would like to acknowledge the support of my graduate
committee in helping me through this process. A special
thank you to my major advisor Dr. Betty. I also offer this
thesis in loving tribute to my friends and family who have
encouraged me throughout this entire process. Thank you
Mom, Dad, Scott and the Universal Presence which moves in
and through all things.


CONTENTS
CHAPTER
1. INTRODUCTION ................................. 1
Definition of Terms .......................... 3
2. LITERATURE REVIEW ............................ 5
Mind, Thought and Personality ................ 7
Mind ................................... 7
Thought.................................10
Personality.............................13
Self-Communication Methods .................. 18
Direct................................. 19
Indirect................................32
3. METHODS SECTION
Measurement...................................42
Burn's Depression Checklist ........... 48
Burn1s Anxiety Inventory ...............50
Relationship Satisfaction Scale ....... 52
4. RESULTS SECTION...............................54
Quantitative Analysis ....................... 55
Scales..................................59
Qualitative Analysis ........................ 60
5. DISCUSSION SECTION .......................... 67
Quantitative Data ........................... 67
General Conclusions ................... 67
Findings Depression ................... 69
Findings Anxiety ...................... 70
Findings Relationship Satisfaction .... 71
Qualitative Data..............................72
Limitations to the Study..................... 76
Future Research ............................. 78
APPENDIX
A. Theory of the Mind........................... 81
B. Behavior Modification ....................... 87
C. Outline for the Course....................... 97
D. Questionnaires ............................. 121
REFERENCES ........................................... 136
v


CHAPTER 1
INTRODUCTION
The proposition explored in this paper is that life
satisfaction increases by using techniques learned in
self-help courses, particularly through self-
communication. Self-help courses which offer various
methods of self-communication appear to be more effective
in general than those using a single method. The
question that guides this research is: "Do individuals
exposed to training in self-help courses, particularly
those employing self-communication strategies, exhibit
higher life satisfaction after exposure?"
Many people experience unsatisfying relationships,
bouts of depression or periods of anxiety. How do they
eventually achieve life satisfaction? For each
individual the answer to this question is different.
Every individual is a unique combination of heredity and
beliefs acquired through parents, peers and experiences
(Elkin and Handel, 1984). Each person's experiences and
thoughts are organized and utilized differently in the
mind. Each individual has a unique way of interpreting
and storing thoughts which influence later behaviors
(Kresnik and Lyons, 1989). The ability to change or
1


reinterpret thought patterns, their storage and their
interpretation is one method suggested to improve life
satisfaction (Kresnik and Lyons, 1989).
Self-help courses and books often employ various
methods which are used in professional counseling
settings, but adapted to be used on an individual basis
(Burns, 1993). Self-help technology is often designed to
function both with and without the aid of a therapist to
provide guidance and structure to thoughts, feelings and
behaviors (Burns, 1993; Starker, 1988). In this study
the self-help course focused on techniques of self-
communication and was based on various methods mostly
found in popular self-help books.
Self-communication in this context employs methods
which gain access either directly or indirectly into how
the thoughts are organized and interpreted. Self-
communication might employ both methods which identify
directly those thoughts which are in opposition to life
satisfaction (Berger and Douglas, 1982; Burns, 1980,
1990, 1993; Helmstetter, 1982, 1987; Helmstetter and
Schwartz, 1994; Kresnik and Lyons 1989; Leshane, 1974;
Siegal, 1986; Schwartz, 1985, 1990), and indirectly
(Covey, 1989; Covey, Merrill and Merrill, 1994; Lakein,
1973; Watson and Tharp, 1989; Yates, 1986) by using
2


methods which rely on the simple principles of behavior
modification to communicate the desired goal to the mind.
Through these methods the individual learns techniques
which can improve his or her life satisfaction.
Definition of Terms
This paper will refer more specifically to self-
communication, which is defined as gaining access and
maintaining an open relationship with one's unconscious.
Self-communication could also be defined as intrapersonal
communication. Barker and Edwards (1980) view
intrapersonal communication as an open system which
accesses stimuli both unconsciously and consciously
through cognitions, emotions and physiological processes.
This suggests that intrapersonal communication represents
the conversation the individual has with oneself and
others, which is based on past experience as well as how
they think and feel.
Life satisfaction is defined as a relatively low
level or absence of depression and anxiety with a high
level of relationship satisfaction (Burns, 1993).
Burns, (1989, 1993) defined depression as the
individual's self-report of a high degree of sadness,
discouragement, low self-esteem, feelings of inferiority,
3


guilt, indecisiveness, irritability, loss of interest in
life, loss of motivation, poor self-image, appetite
changes, sleep changes, loss of sex drive, concerns about
health, and suicidal impulses. Although sadness is a
normal response to some occurrences in one's life,
prolonged periods of sadness are considered abnormal.
Anxiety is defined through self reported assessments
of a high degree of feelings such as worry or fear,
detachment, panic spells and stress; fears of losing
control, going crazy, fainting, physical illness, looking
foolish, being abandoned and criticized; or symptoms such
as a racing heart, tightness in the chest, sweating not
brought on by heat, feeling off balance, difficulty
breathing and feeling tired or weak (Burns, 1989, 1993).
Relationship satisfaction focuses on the
individual1s most intimate relationship to examine
satisfaction of communication and openness, resolution of
conflict, degree of caring and affection, intimacy and
closeness, one's own role and the role of the identified
other (Burns, 1993).
In this study these constructs are measured both
before and after exposure to training in self-
communication techniques to determine if there has been a
change in the individual's life satisfaction.
4


The hypothesis of this study is: Do individuals
exposed to training in self-help courses, particularly
those employing self-communication strategies, exhibit
higher life satisfaction after exposure?
The remainder of this thesis is organized in the
following manner: Chapter 2 will explore the literature
surrounding important aspects of self-communication as
well as direct and indirect methods of altering ones
self-communication. Chapter 3 will examine the research
methods used in this study. Chapter 4 chapter looks at
the results of the research. Finally, Chapter 5 will
discuss the study's outcomes and opportunities for
further research.
Note: Words of one gender may be construed as meaning
such other gender as is appropriate.
5


CHAPTER 2
LITERATURE REVIEW
The intention of this review is to explore the
methods and concepts which serve as a basis for this
study. To be more specific, this review focuses on the
multiple methods of self-communication employed in this
research.
This review is broken down into two sections: 1)
the development of the mind, thought and personality, and
2) self-communication techniques employed in self-help
efforts. The section treating the development of the
mind and personality is designed to examine how the mind
functions; i.e. cognitive and personality theory. For
clarity of the discussion in this paper the section
treating self-communication techniques is divided into
direct and indirect methods. Direct methods of self-
communication focus on understanding how to influence the
mind with methods which strengthen the connection and
knowledge about one's self. These include self-talk,
relaxation, and journalling (Berger and Douglas, 1982;
Burns, 1980, 1990, 1993; Helmstetter, 1982, 1987;
Helmstetter and Schwartz, 1994; Kresnik and Lyons 1989;
Leshane, 1974; Siegal, 1986; Schwartz, 1985, 1990). The
6


indirect methods use behavior modification and goal
setting to communicate the desired goals to the mind
(Covey, 1989; Covey, et al. 1994; Lakein, 1973; Watson
and Tharp, 1989; Yates, 1986).
Mind, Thought and Personality
Mind
Theory about how the mind functions is relevant
because it explains how the individual's world -view and
personal communication are developed and how they can be
altered. This discussion focuses on the parts of the
mind, how the mind is influenced, and how it can be
changed.
There are many theories which work to explain how
the mind functions. Braun and Linder (1975) offer an
updated version of Freud's classic theory of the
structure of the mind. They described the Id as the
unconscious part of the mind, a pool of instinctual
drives which operate on the pleasure principle
(concerning tension reduction). The Ego is responsible
for handling the biological needs and uses the reality
principle (concerning safety or avoiding pain). The last
7


part is the Superego which relates to the moral standards
and obligations of society. The Ego is caught in a tug
of war between the Id's desire for pleasure and the
Superego's desire for doing what is right.
Kresnik and Lyons' (1988) theory uses similar
concepts in a slightly different way. Their theory
breaks the mind into three parts. The first section is
the Conscious Mind which corresponds to Freud's Ego. The
Unconscious Mind relates to Freud's Id. The Critical
Faculty compares to the Super Ego. (For more a detailed
analysis see Appendix A.)
The Conscious Mind is the only part the individual
is aware of when thinking. When referring to what one is
thinking, usually the reference is to those thoughts in
the conscious mind. The Unconscious Mind is the portion
which some suggest to be the real place where decisions
are made. Thoughts are stored in the Unconscious Mind
and are a function of experiences and different learning
situations. These thoughts are a part of how one makes
decisions on the unconscious level. Many thoughts may
appear as memories while others may remain deeply
embedded, only coming to the surface if some experience
or circumstance causes them to re-emerge. The Critical
Faculty is the dividing line between the conscious and
8


unconscious mind. Whenever a thought enters into the
Conscious Mind, it must go through the Critical Faculty
before it can enter into the Unconscious mind. This
Critical Faculty acts like a filter which sometimes
rejects and sometimes attaches additional meaning to
thoughts before they enter and are stored in the
Unconscious Mind. When information which is contrary to
the individual's model of oneself enters the Conscious
Mind, it is often rejected as being invalid and either
does not enter the Unconscious or it is reinterpreted and
labeled as it passes through the Critical Faculty.
The Central Nervous System (CNS) also influences which
thoughts are focused on and how strong an impact they
have when they enter the Unconscious. If shocks to the
CNS are done repeatedly and simultaneously while
information is being given, it would impact how deeply
this information might be imbedded into the Unconscious.
Kresnik and Lyons' theory explains how the mind is
organized and the function of the Conscious Mind,
Unconscious Mind and the Critical Faculty. It helps to
explain how change can occur by clarifying how and where
thoughts are created and stored. Understanding the way
thoughts or cognitions function impacts the individual's
9


ability to change distorted thoughts and can be an
important step in enhancing life satisfaction.
Thought
The theory of the mind just discussed helps to
explain how thoughts get into the Unconscious Mind. In
this section the actual formation of the memory will be
reviewed. Beck, Rush, Shaw and Emery (1979) stated,
"..cognitions (verbal or pictorial 'events' in his stream
of conscious) are based on attitudes or assumptions
(schemas), developed from previous experiences" (p 3).
Memory. According to Rehm and Naus (1990), there
are three parts of memory. The first part is the sensory
register, which holds the raw sensory information before
it is processed and stored. The second part is the
short-term memory (STM), which is the active or working
memory and functions to process, identify, transform and
use information. This portion of memory has limited
capacity like a computer. It has a limited amount of
active memory to use, so it can only hold that
information necessary for its current functions. The
third type of memory, long-term memory (LTM), is where
information is stored to be retrieved at a later time.
10


The long-term memory could easily be interpreted as the
Unconscious Mind discussed earlier. The LTM is composed
of the semantic, which is solid and conceptually
structured, focusing on facts and general knowledge and
episodic, which is flexible and loosely structured,
relating to specific events linked to feelings and
perceptions. The combination of both of these are
organized into networks which are tied together by
similar concepts and propositions or main clusters of
related ideas, which can be considered core nodes or
schemas.
A schema is a category of mental structures
that both stores and organizes past experience
and guides subsequent perceptions and
experience......The schema that is developed as
a result of prior experiences with a particular
kind of event is not a carbon copy of that
event, rather schemas are abstract
representations of environmental regularities
(Rehm and Naus, 1990, p. 26).
When a schema is activated relevant to some need to
process data, it accesses related schemas while
inhibiting other schemas from the analysis. The schemas
which exist in the individual's memory will generate
decisions about every aspect of life based on the
formations, influences and strengths of the schema. The
cognitive structure relates specifically to the
organization of information and the content or schema.
11


The cognitive context refers to the information in the
memory or current state of mind, which constitutes the
ongoing self-communication or inner speech (Kendal and
Hollon, 1989). Bandura (1991) suggests that through
observing and learning about how the individual thinks,
feels and behaves in various conditions, the therapist
can help the patient begin to notice recurring patterns.
Through this self-observation of habitual thought
patterns one can begin to understand how one's thinking
affects one's emotions and performance, thereby
increasing one's ability to use self-regulation to
control one's own thoughts.
Therapies have evolved based on how the mind, memory
and thoughts function. Cognitive therapy, as the words
imply, is thought therapy. In general, the function of
cognitive therapy is to identify inappropriate
unsupportive thoughts or cognitions and through various
methods restate them to support the change the individual
would like to create (Alloy, 1988; Burns, 1980, 1989,
1993; Beck et al. 1979). Depression and anxiety are
believed to be the result of distorted thinking or
irrational beliefs (Beck et al. 1979; Burns 1980, 1990,
1993; Clark and Beck, 1990; Seligman, 1990; Shaw and
Katz, 1990). Many of these irrational beliefs are
12


unattainable goals. The individual may set for herself
demands based on an inflated importance for approval from
others as well as the desire to avoid psychologically
threatening or stressful encounters or experiences.
Avoidance is a learned, maladaptive response to
psychological stress. Coping involves facing up to
threatening or stressful situations. "This usually
requires personal introspection, personal honesty, and a
willingness to openly acknowledge imperfections in the
self" (Bednar, Wells and Peterson, 1989, p. 78). Other
common applications of cognitive therapy are behavior
change, (Jansen, Merckelbach, Oosterlaan, Tuiten and Van
Den Hout, 1988; Kendal and Hollon, 1989; Pecsok and
Fremouw, 1988; Sperry and Nicki, 1991), and improved
physical well being (Payne and Blanchard, 1995;
Leventhal, Diefenbach and Leventhal, 1992).
Personality
The personality of an individual is a combination of
heredity and experiences (Engler, 1985). Abilities,
strengths, and physical make up are determined through
heredity, whereas, experiences are a result of knowledge
and expectation developed through socialization.
13


Experiences gained through socialization are critical to
the development of the self.
Socialization. This is the process by which humans
as social beings, learn how to function within their
specific social group or society (Elkin and Handel,
1984). Through this process the expectations and
behaviors of an established group are taught. Elkin and
Handel (1984) consider five different agencies of
socialization which influence how one interacts in his
world: the family, the school, the peer group, the
community, and the media. The family is generally the
first influence on a child. The child then interacts
with other children in their school and peer group. The
community in which the child grows up impacts his status
and opportunities also. In addition, the media plays a
role by offering inputs about acceptable behavior and
current trends.
Those early influences form the backbone of the
individual's view of himself. The view of one's self is
the basis of future interactions and decisions.
The Development of the Self. The personality is the
outward expression of the self. Charles Horton Cooley, a
14


social psychologist, introduced the concept of the
"looking glass self" as it relates to how the "self"
develops (Cooley, 1983). As the socialization process
occurs the self is created through interactions with
different segments of society. As a social being, the
individual is influenced by interaction with others
through feedback or how the individual believes others
perceive him. This functions as a determining factor in
the individual's self-esteem and concepts of personal
power.
"The mind (as Cooley would be the first to urge)
never ceases to receive suggestions from its mental and
social environment" (Cohen, 1982 p. 140). A child
learns the distinction of "I" through interaction with
others. This interaction becomes a key component in the
development of her personality as she questions how she
is perceived in the minds of others.
The looking-glass self is similar to looking at
oneself in the fairy tale mirror on the wall. How the
individual imagines the way others perceive him relates
to how he imagines himself to appear to the other person,
the imagination of that judgment and self-feeling (Cohen,
1982). Out of the social interactions, the individual
develops the personal concepts of who he would like to be
15


or his "ideal self". This ideal self is based on
childhood models of the best characteristics about the
self attributed to one by others (Jandy, 1969).
This reasoning suggests that throughout the
development of the "self" the individual interprets who
she is based on earlier experiences. Through this
development the individual creates a self-concept which
is the organized cognitive structure derived from
experiences (Wells and Marwell, 1976). The self is often
referred to as the ego, that part of the personality
structure that is the core of decision making, planning
and defensiveness. The ego is created from behaviors and
thoughts which are not observable but can be inferred
from the individual's behavior (Hamachek, 1978). Self-
esteem is the effective part of the self where the
individual has ideas and feelings about who she is and
the extent to which she admires and values herself.
As suggested by Cooley (1983), the self is developed
through social interactions with the environment. This
environment creates feedback about the self to the
individual. This feedback can involve both internal and
external sources which support the individual in
monitoring one's success and in managing one's impression
of oneself according to one's model of appropriate
16


behavior. If this external feedback is perceived as
valid, it is integrated back into the self to create a
more accurate self-image. Internal feedback can also be
called self-talk. This is the individual's conversations
with oneself about oneself and, in this context, it
involves examining and evaluating one's behavior and
performance.
Another important factor of self-development which
influences self-esteem is locus of control, the extent to
which the individual believes he has personal control
over the events which occur in his life. If the
individual is internally controlled, he believes that the
outcome of experiences in his life are consequences of
his own actions; but if he is externally controlled, he
believes the outcomes are usually determined by external
forces such as luck, chance, or fate (Mills, 1992; Nir
and Neumann, 1995).
To summarize personality development, humans are
social beings who develop through their early experiences
and interactions with others. Feedback from the
environment and self-belief help the individual develop
who they believe themselves to be and influence future
interactions.
17


The theory of how the mind functions and how
thoughts are stored in the mind are fundamental concepts
upon which self-communication methods are developed. The
personality is based on the concepts and the formulations
of beliefs about the self based on interaction with
others in the social environment. The influence of these
theories on the individual's development and expectations
about who one aspires to be determines how one chooses to
live one's life and how satisfied one will be with that
life.
SELF-COMMUNICATION METHODS
As mentioned previously self-communication in this
context could also be defined as intrapersonal
communication. The research in this area suggest a wide
variety of processes. Namely, the individual's
conversation with herself, ongoing interchange of meaning
between the parts of the person, interaction and
adaptation to the environment, the storage and retrieval
of information and the processing of raw data from the
self and the environment into meaningful information
18


(Cunningham, 1987). The methods discussed in this
section were used in the self-help course employed in
this research. The methods used for the research course
are as follows: relaxation, self-talk journalling,
behavior modification, and goal setting. These methods
are divided into two categories: direct and indirect
methods of self-communication.
Direct Methods
Direct methods of self-communication in this context
are techniques which are designed to create direct
communication with the unconscious mind.
Relaxation. Relaxation techniques can influence the
mind and act as tools to improve self-communication
(Kresnik and Lyons, 1989; LeShane, 1974; Siegal, 1986;
Shealy, 1977). The two techniques which will be examined
here are meditation and hypnosis. Both of these methods
are used to quiet the mind and body and can often offer
the individual some insight into understanding herself on
a deeper level. Conceptually it is helpful to imagine
these therapies as relaxing the body and disengaging the
critical faculty or perceptual filter discussed earlier.
Having the ability to bypass the critical faculty means
19


there is direct access both to obtain and to alter
information.
Meditation Experts suggest that 75-90% of all
symptoms are related to emotional stress (Shealy, 1977;
Woolfolk and Richardson, 1978). Many suggest that an
increase in illness is a result of both elevated
stressors and increased carcinogens in the environment.
Stress takes the body out of homeostasis, or
balance, and encourages a fight-or-flight response,
arousing the sympathetic branch of the autonomic nervous
system (Woolfolk and Richardson, 1978). When stress is
experienced over time, it can create what Shealy (1977)
called "General Adaptation Syndrome", which takes the
body out of balance by adding additional adrenalin and
thyroid. This can impact the immune system, cause high
blood pressure, coronary disease, ulcers, changes in body
weight, cardiovascular disease, headaches, upset stomach,
and allergies. People who meditate seem to develop some
degree of immunity to stress (Woolfolk and Richardson,
1978) and, therefore, suffer fewer stress-related
illnesses.
One of the consequences of meditating when practiced
on a consistent basis, usually daily, is its ability to
counteract the effects of stress (Woolfolk and
20


Richardson, 1978). LeShane (1974) reports two other
common results of meditation: an increase in focus and a
deeper understanding of oneself.
There are many techniques of meditation, from
sitting in quiet contemplation to more complex forms such
as Transcendental Meditation (Carrington, 1977). All of
them are designed to help reduce the effects of societal
and personal pressures. Woolfoik and Richardson (1978)
describe three common features of meditation techniques:
comfortable body positions, maintaining physical
immobility, and the continuous focus of attention on one
object, sound or bodily process.
Some people consider quiet contemplation and
relaxation leisure activities but the importance of
learning to master the mind is discussed in this analogy
attributed to Plato:
He likened the mind of man to a ship on which
sailors had mutinied and locked the captain and the
navigator below in a cabin. The sailors believe
themselves to be perfectly free and steer the ship
as they feel like at each moment. ...The ship
travels in erratic and random directions since the
sailors can neither agree on a goal nor navigate the
ship if they could agree (LeShane, 1974, p.15)
Some people meditate for 5 minutes a day while others may
spend hours in meditation. The sense of peace achieved
by those who practice meditation cause them to believe
21


their time and energy are well worth the outcome
(LeShane, 1974).
Hypnosis There are plenty of misconceptions about
hypnosis. Many of them were precipitated by the movie
industry and stage spectacles. Kappas (1978) suggests,
"When you enter the state of self-hypnosis, do not be
discouraged when you do not experience ringing bells,
flashes of lightning or feelings of dropping into a
bottomless pit. Nothing that occurs is in any way
comparable to these dramatic romantic notions" (p. 248).
It is difficult for some first-time subjects of hypnosis
to believe they were actually hypnotized because people
are in and out of hypnosis all of their lives. When
sitting down to read a book or watch a show on TV, many
people have been so focused on their task that they do
not notice what is going on around them. Their bodies
are relaxed but their minds are alert and focused on what
they are doing (Copeland, 1981). "Under hypnosis, a
person has control of more than his selectivity or will
power; he is in control of all his faculties except
one....The single exception to this control is what I
call the critical faculty" (Elman, 1970, p. xi). As
mentioned earlier, the critical faculty is the divider
between the conscious and unconscious mind. It is the
22


filter based on beliefs, values, and previous experiences
through which new information is sent before the
unconscious mind receives it. When this filter is
removed there is direct access to the unconscious and the
ability to alter it. It is important to note that all
hypnosis is self-hypnosis. When a therapist is involved
it is only as a teacher or guide. They do not have
control over the client's behavior (Kresnik and Lyons,
1989).
Hypnosis has been studied for centuries and there
are even references to deep sleeps and trance states in
the Bible (e.g., Numbers 24:4 and Acts 10:10) (Kresnik
and Lyons, 1889). Presently, it is commonly used as an
aid to reprogram the mind, to unlock the unconscious
mind, to reduce pain, to reduce the need for anesthesia,
and in healing the body.
Reprogramming the mind entails identifying the
area(s) one would like to change. In some cases, one
might choose to identify the current thoughts in the
area, then offer new self-statements to replace old ones
(Kresnik and Lyons, 1989). Systematic Desensitization is
the pairing of relaxation techniques with a fear or
phobia. Through teaching a hypnotic method called
"progressive relaxation", the individual can attain a
23


relaxed state while first mentally imagining a fearful
event and, over time, ultimately experiencing the fearful
event with no more fear or anxiety. (See Appendix B)
Unlocking the unconscious mind relates to conducting
age regression or using other techniques to explore past
experiences and support the individual in reassessing
these experiences in a positive and realistic manner.
These methods can be used by a therapist to speed up more
traditional or conscious forms of therapy (Kresnik and
Lyons, 1989).
Pain reduction is another use for hypnosis. Various
visualization and mind techniques can be used to reduce
pain, particularly for those experiencing chronic pain.
Pain is the body's way of telling the individual that
there is a problem, so in this context, it is often not
wise to dispose of pain entirely. The intention of
hypnosis is to turn down the intensity of the pain
(Kresnik and Lyons, 1989).
Hypnosis can be a useful anesthesia for those who
can not tolerate normal doses because of age or
affliction. Elman (1970) discusses a Dr. Munro who
practiced medicine in Nebraska in 1900. The most common
form of anesthesia during this time was Ether, which
often killed the patients. He discovered he could
24


hypnotize the patient and use 25% of the usual dosage,
which supported a lower mortality rate and a quicker
recovery.
Siegal (1986) suggests that visualization is often
used to help enhance the body's natural abilities to heal
and to explore messages from the unconscious mind.
Through this technique the client might be lead down
mental hallways where certain doors represent specific
experiences. She can discover a safe place in her mind
to ask questions and seek comfort or support her immune
systems by imagining little Pac-men carrying off unwanted
cells and sending rays of healing light to damaged
tissues.
The methods discussed here are not the only
techniques using a relaxation theme. Bio-feedback
(Fischer-Williams, Nigl and Sovine, 1981) and Autogenic
training (Shealy, 1977) are two other forms, designed to
teach the individual how she can control bodily functions
which previously were not believed to be subject to
voluntary manipulation. Yoga and Tai Chi are meditation
forms which use breathing techniques, stretching, or body
movements to return the body to homeostasis by
strengthening the body and teaching the mind to focus
(LeShane, 1974).
25


Hypnosis, meditation and the other methods mentioned
here can enhance self-communication and decrease the
body's reaction to stress. These methods support the
achievement of individual goals and higher life
satisfaction.
Self-Talk. Altering how one communicates with
oneself is a powerful way of improving self-
communication. Conversations occurring internally, as
well as externally, suggest how the individual sees
himself and others.
Shad Helmstetter (1982) discusses how our thoughts
influence what we actually accomplish in our lives. If
an individual has been told all of his life that he will
not be successful, the mind will probably accept this as
true and set out to prove this is correct (Kresnik and
Lyons, 1989). Therefore, when opportunities present
themselves, the individual might make poor decisions
which support the belief that he will not be successful.
In other words, he has sabotaged his own success.
Helmstetter's methods rely on offering the brain
alternative self-talk which supports those goals one
would like to achieve. He describes his techniques as
"... a way to override our past negative programming by
26


erasing or replacing it with conscious, positive new
directions" (Helmstetter, 1982, p. 72). Helmstetter The
Self-Talk Solution (1987), identified the self-talk that
was currently at work in order to directly counteract
negative beliefs.
Berger and Douglas (1982):
... strongly believe that cognitive processes
are critical to the explanation of
communication behavior: however, we also
believe that it is a mistake to assume that
most utterances in social interactions are the
result of highly conscious thought processes
(P- 43).
They also discussed this internal conversation in terms
of scripting: "scripts service an individual with
information simply because the events comprising a
particular script are real-world events, events that
have been directly or vicariously experienced by the
individual" (p. 44). Berger and Douglas (1982) refer to
"standardized episodes" or events which are similar to
those which have been experienced before. These scripts
become unconscious ways of responding until novel
situations occur. The individual must then become aware
of the process and must make choices and be prepared for
unexpected action. This internal conversation and the
individual's previous experiences will affect how the
27


individual interacts in the world and, therefore, his
success in achieving what he has declared as his goal.
Journalling.
The Journal is a way of connecting. The
journal is a connection of the self with the
self. The journal sets up an inner dichotomy
so that one part may write and one part may
read. And since the journal connection between
the two parts is interior, it fosters an
increased sense of awareness of personal
psychology (Baldwin, 1977, p. xiv).
Journalling can take different forms. It can be
found in many different contexts, but it is often used to
document experiences, explore changes in ones life, and
understand oneself. Hanson (1978) believes that
journals, sketch books, and diaries are a part of the
American literary tradition. Historians have relied on
journal entries to acquire a better understanding of
history: a captain's ship logs which documented the
experiences on a voyage, Puritan ancestors who wrote of
their moral progress, and pioneer women whose journals
served as their companions.
Hansen (1989) lists several benefits of using a
diary: to stimulate creative thinking; introduce one to
his inner thoughts, feelings, moods, attitudes and
beliefs; assist in making decisions; help to create
life's agenda; help to discover solutions to problems;
28


increase self-acceptance, self-esteem, self-reliance and
self-worth; help to recognize one's profound unconscious
and the like.
Baldwin (1977) suggests "...that writing makes the
connection conscious and helps make possible bringing the
unconscious into the conscious. Writing makes this
connection viewable, reviewable and valuable, and grants
it a life of its own within our active living" (p. 5).
Therefore, many of the psychic wounds stored in the
unconscious can be brought forth and through
introspection healed. Journalling can be helpful in
gaining perspective. Through rereading it is possible to
obtain objectivity on previously written issues.
The purpose of a journal in the context of this
paper is to support personal change. In order to direct
positive change into one's life journalling involves
active effort and practice. Baldwin (1977) suggests that
change can not occur unless two things are accomplished:
the interior must be prepared, and support systems, both
internal and external, must be in place.
The act of releasing painful memories or releasing
emotions can not only offer clarity, but also reduce the
psychological tension it has maintained. "One of the
major benefits of personal writing, be it journal
29


writing, poetry, or any other form described, is that
such expression has been found to lower anxiety and
increase ones energy" (Artoff, 1991, p. 21). Having
better self-understanding decreases the unknown and
improves a sense of individual control and calm.
One way to understand journals is to examine how
they are formed. Although journals have different
purposes, they can be identified as unstructured or
structured.
An unstructured journal may take the form of what
Baldwin (1977) calls "Flow Writing". This might be what
is commonly considered a journal or a free flowing
expression of feelings, desires or the day's events,
which do not follow any strict guidelines. The journal
may act as a companion to release issues in a form of
self therapy which relies on introspection to discover
meaning. Baldwin (1977) distinguishes a diary as using a
more formal pattern of daily entries and is used to
record the experiences and observations. A journal on
the other hand, offers creative expression within the
entries without an obligation to write daily. Journals
can contain not only thoughts, feelings and experiences
but drawings, recipes, quotes and the like.
30


Structured journals can also be found in many self-
help books. Many of these books are designed to emulate
actual therapy sessions (Burns 1980, 1990, 1993; Schwartz
1985, 1990). Since one is not interacting directly with
the therapist, it is necessary for the individual to
motivate herself and take the time to work through the
issues. Burns (1993, p. 29-33) asks the reader to agree
to complete a Contract which discusses the importance of
the assignments and asks the reader how many hours per
day, per week, and per month they intend to spend on the
assignments in the book.
Many people who read Feeling Good emphasized
the importance of these written exercises.
They told me that they did not actually began
[sic] to experience a profound transformation
in their moods until they picked up a pencil
and paper and did the exercises that I
described (Burns, 1989, p. xv).
In the educational environment, the journal can be
used not only to help improve the knowledge of oneself,
but also to influence the ability to organize thoughts,
write creatively as a fun, non-judgmental exercise, teach
communicative thoughts through self-review and improve
their overall writing style (Stanton, Shuy, Peyton and
Reed, 1988).
31


Indirect
Indirect methods use principles based on human
behavior to communicate to the mind specific goals.
These methods include behavior modification and goal
setting.
Behavior Modification. Some people desire to make
changes in their behavior to enhance life satisfaction.
Behavior modification techniques can be supportive in
making these changes. These techniques explore cognitive
methods as well as antecedents and consequences of
behavior to create a channel of communication to the
mind. (See Appendix B for details of the techniques.)
In a historical sense, Behaviorism replaced the
Structural and Functional schools of thought. These
schools of thought relied on concepts of introspection to
understand the function of the mind. John Watson
deliberately set out to found a new school in Psychology.
He was looking to develop "...an objective psychology, a
science of behavior dealing only with observable
behavioral acts that could be objectively described in
terms such as stimulus and response" (Schultz, 1981, p.
184). Behaviorism was external and observable relying on
the scientific method.
32


Behaviorism finds its origins in Darwin: On the
Origin of the Species (1937). Darwin significantly
altered the thinking of his time by creating a paradigm
shift to a new style of Psychology. Charles Flaherty
(1985) suggested that the principles of Behaviorism are
directly related to the "Theory of Evolution".
Essentially, Darwin suggested that learning is an
adaptive behavior. The ability to learn is naturally
selected and when the environment changes, learning
allows the individual to adapt to the changes.
One of the cornerstones of Behaviorism has been
animal research. (Schultz, 1981) Ivan Pavlov was one of
the major contributors in this area. Pavlov discovered
the concepts of conditioned reflex by accident while
studying the digestive system in dogs. He began pairing
something which did not normally cause a response (a
bell) with food, which naturally elicited a salivation
response in the dogs. After several pairings he was able
to create a normal response (salivation) to an unusual
stimulus (bell) (Flaherty, 1985; Schultz, 1981).
The concepts of the early Behaviorists created the
base for current forms of behavior modification. Watson
and Tharp, (1989) identified behavior modification
methods which are structured into clearly outlined and
33


identifiable steps. The first step in behavior change is
to identify the problem and determine how to alter it.
This is done by identifying the issues which stand in the
way of accomplishing the goal or target behavior. This
process entails determining a starting point or baseline.
The next step is to explore what happens before the
target behavior, which is defined as the antecedent.
Then observe what results after the target behavior has
occurred, which is defined as the consequences. The
final step would be to explore the thoughts or cognitions
associated with the target behavior, as well as the
antecedents and consequences. Each of these steps of
behavior modification employ techniques to support change
in the target behavior.
Baseline In order to identify and understand the
target behavior, begin by developing a baseline by
examining types of triggers which encourage the target
behavior.
The first step is to create a structured diary. "A
structured diary is a record you keep of your target for
change and also of its antecedents and consequences"
(Watson and Tharp, 1989, p. 57). A tally of the target
behavior occurrences is logged in the diary. The next
step is to observe the thoughts, emotions or behaviors
34


which precede and follow the target behavior. This would
establish the baseline of each target behavior.
Antecedents are those behaviors, thoughts or
feelings which precede the target behavior and may act as
a trigger to facilitate or encourage the target behavior.
Yates (1986) discussed different techniques to support
the individual, depending upon when they determined the
interventions would be most effective in altering the
target behavior. He mentioned three techniques: Stimulus
Control, Desensitization, and Sensitization. Each
technique is designed to either enhance or diminish the
target behavior.
Consequences "Antecedents may cue us to seek out
food, work, or companionship, but our choice of a
particular food, job or person is determined by the
memory of the consequences of our past choices" (Yates,
1986, p. 9). The impact of those antecedents is based on
the strengths of the consequences. Humans learn through
their experiences not to touch hot stoves because they
will get burned. The techniques Yates (1986) defines are
Positive Reinforcement, Negative Reinforcement,
Punishment by Application and Punishment by Withdrawal.
Cognitions Antecedents and consequences are
influenced by the situations around the target behavior,
35


while behaviors are "influenced by learning experiences
that continue through our lives" (Watson and Tharp, 1989,
p. 23). Cognitive theory suggests that some behavioral
problems may be the result of faulty thoughts or things
one says to oneself. Five techniques discussed by Yates
are Self-Instruction, Modeling, Planning, Problem
Solving, and Modifying Self-Constructs. Many of these
methods are very common. The benefit in using them in
this context is that one understands and is cognitively
engaged in the principle. Behavior modification is a
valuable method of attaining specific goals through
establishing a baseline, determining the antecedents and
consequences of the target behavior, and applying the
appropriate technique.
Goal Setting. The goals an individual sets for
himself are designed to increase life satisfaction.
Goals are created out of needs and based on experiences
and values. The ability to achieve these goals is based
on the individual's confidence or self-efficacy (Locke,
1991). Throughout this paper several areas of behavior
change (e.g., weight loss) and mental changes (e.g.,
anxiety and depression) have been discussed and could be
defined as goals, but goals can subsume larger areas of
36


one's life. A goal could be as simple as getting up in
the morning for one individual while for another it
encompasses the end of world hunger. Where do goals come
from? If what has already been stated in this paper is
presumed true, goals come from the unconscious mind.
I became particularly interested in how
perceptions are formed, how they govern the way
we see, and how the way we see governs how we
behave. This led me to a study of expectancy
theory and self-fulling prophesies or the
"Pygmalion effect" and to a realization of how
deeply imbedded our perceptions are. It taught
me that we must look at the lens through which
we see the world, as well as at the world we
see, and that the lens itself shapes how we
interpret the world (Covey, 1989, p. 17).
Many goals could come from parents, peers, and society.
Experiences may help to define or redefine goals. "Those
who set no goals for themselves achieved no change in
effort and are surpassed by those who aim to match their
previous level of effort who, in turn, are outperformed
by those who set themselves the more challenging goal of
bettering their past endeavor" (Bandura, 1991, p. 251).
Norcross, Ratzin and Payne (1989) studied the achievement
of goals set for the New Year. After one week the
percentage reported as successfully keeping their goal
was 77% but after six months it reduced to 40%.
Participants were examined on a number of variables.
When measured at 1 week and 1 month, the two variables
37


which appeared to impact success significantly were
readiness to change and confidence in the ability to
change (self-efficacy). Two which negatively impacted
the ability to change were self-blame (self-criticism)
and wishful thinking (just wishing the problem away).
Norcross and his colleagues also noted that a failure to
attain the goal had a significant negative impact on
self-esteem and confidence. This might suggest that
arbitrary goal setting without a way to fulfill it could
be hurting, rather than helping.
Locke (1991) looks at goals within the motivational
sequence. In his sequence a need is identified, based on
one's beliefs and values, which supports survival or well
being. The goals are a reflection of the individual's
expectancy and self-efficacy. One's belief in her
ability to achieve a goal (self-efficacy) will impact
what goals the individual will choose to set (Bandura,
1991). This belief can have a direct influence on the
way the goal is carried out {performed). The results, or
feedback, provide information in order to evaluate her
performance. Finally, satisfaction is experienced when
the goal furthers one's values and a positive emotion is
experienced.
38


Much of the success in goal setting revolves around
clarity and planning. Latham and Locke (1991) suggests
that if an individual thinks intensely about a goal,
clearly defining all of the important aspects, he is more
likely to become committed to solving and taking action
toward the goal. The degree of commitment is the level
to which he is attached to the goal and is determined to
reach it in the face of setbacks and obstacles. Higher
commitment leads to higher performance and, if the goal
is challenging, can lead to the stimulation of more and
higher quality planning.
Covey (1989, 1994) explains that one should develop
a mission statement expressing who one would like to be
and what one would like to achieve in one's life.
"...Your mission statement becomes your constitution, the
solid expression of your vision and values. It becomes
the criterion by which you measure everything else in
your life" (Covey, 1989, p. 129). Here one can be
efficient but the focus is on the most important areas.
The vision of the mission statement becomes a focal point
in decision making and planning one's time. There may be
several areas or roles the individual functions within
and goals can be defined around the main roles.
An effective goal focuses primarily on results
rather than activity. It identifies where you
39


want to be, and, in the process, helps you
determine where you are. It gives you
important information on how to get there, and
it tells you when you have arrived. It unifies
your efforts and energy. It gives meaning and
purpose to all you do. And it can finally
translate itself into daily activities so that
you are proactive, you are in charge of your
life, you are making happen each day the things
that will enable you to fulfill your personal
mission statement (Covey, 1989, p. 137).
Blanchard and Johnson (1992) look at effective goal
setting in the business environment where it is important
to have clearly defined goals. In business communication
an agreement should be made between the manager and the
employee defining the goals and what they look like when
they have actually been achieved. In other words, the
goals should be identified in behavioral terms. It is
helpful to have the goals written in a short, concise
form, so that it can be reviewed daily. During the
reviewal process the employee can determine if his
behavior matches his goal.
Powerful goal setting comes of one's life mission.
The ability to define one's mission comes out of self-
awareness and understanding (Covey, 1990). This process
requires constant introspection and self-communication in
order to accomplish those goals which support an increase
in relationship satisfaction and a decrease in depression
and anxiety, and hence life satisfaction.
40


These self-communication techniques were presented
to the participants in the self-help course discussed in
this study. Measurements were taken before and after the
course to determine if there was an improvement in the
participant's life satisfaction after the introduction of
these concepts.
This chapter examined how the mind, thoughts and
personality develop as well as methods of direct and
indirect self-communication. These methods influence
one's knowledge and one's communication with oneself.
The next chapter explores the specific research methods
used in this study.
41


CHAPTER 3
METHODS SECTION
This chapter details methods employed to answer the
following question: "Do individuals exposed to training
in self-help courses, particularly those employing self-
communication strategies, exhibit higher life
satisfaction after exposure?" The subjects for the
research were solicited through local newspapers and
flyers at various locations in the Denver area. The
participants were given the opportunity to choose their
group according to their convenience. The study
population had limited availability; therefore, random
assignment was not appropriate.
The study used a pre-test, post-test experimental
design and included seven students as a part of the test
group and nine students in the control group (Cozby,
1985; Smith, 1988). The initial step for both groups was
an orientation meeting, which gave an overview of the
course and a questionnaire which utilized both
quantitative and qualitative measures (see Appendix D).
Dey (1993) suggests that "Different preoccupations may
lead to emphasis on different aspects of analysis" (p.
1). Qualtitive data has become a common term for any
42


method other than surveys including; observation, the
collection of documentary materials and the like. Dey
believes that quantitative and qualitative methods are
better thought of as mutually dependent because numbers
depend on meaning while in a sense of meaning also depend
on numbers.
Not all subjects were able to participate in the
orientation meeting so other arrangements were made to
allow them to take part in the orientation and take the
initial questionnaire. Two people in the experimental
group did not continue after filling out the initial
questionnaire and three in the control group did not
complete the study for various reasons, while a final
person did not return a complete questionnaire. This
left a total of five people in the experimental group and
five in the control group.
The experimental group participated in a four week
course on four consecutive Saturdays for three hours.
The control group did not participate in any course
activities during that four week period.
The participants were identified by using the last
five digits of their social security number to preserve
anonymity. Anonymity was also supported by the use of
pseudonames during the class sessions. Pseudonames were
43


chosen to relate to a goal the participant was attempting
to achieve in the course such as, "slender" or
"wonderful". The use of pseudonames was also designed to
support the desired change through consistent verbal
reinforcement.
The course was based on the assumption that using
several self-help techniques, in particular self-
communication techniques, can be supportive in creating
increased life satisfaction. Each of the four days of
course work focused on self understanding and change
techniques. Homework was assigned every week to solidify
the concepts that were taught. Daily relaxation or
meditation was also recommended. The Behavior
Modification (Yates, 1986; Watson and Tharp, 1989)
portion of the course was fairly complex, so it was
broken down into smaller parts to be taught at the end of
each class. The first day was based on some personality
theories, which were basic concepts utilized throughout
the course. The second day looked at the Theory of the
Mind (Kresnik and Lyons, 1989; Helmstetter, 1982, 1987),
how thoughts are formed and stored as well as how they
can be created or changed. The third class looked at
self-talk (Helmstetter, 1982, 1987: Helmstetter and
Schwartz, 1994), defined negative thought patterns, and
44


discussed how to change them. The fourth and final day
examined current goals and designed a mission statement
to support further goals (Covey, 1989; Covey, et al.,
1994). During the last half hour of the final class the
participants took the post-questionnaire.
The data collection employed three questionnaires.
These were: the pre-questionnaire for both the control
and experimental groups; a post-questionnaire for the
control group; and a post-questionnaire for the
experimental group. All three questionnaires were
comprised of two major sections; quantitative and
qualitative. As a direct measure of Life Satisfaction
changes the Burns Anxiety, Depression (1980, 1989, 1993)
and Relationship Satisfaction (1993) scales were used in
the quantitative portion. The segments of the
questionnaire which were not associated with the Burn's
measures were designed by the researcher and have not
been assessed for reliability or validity. Many of the
scales are in the form of graphic rating scales (Cozby,
1985) which rank each question on a range of 0 to 100% or
1 to 6. An example of a question asked was ranked on a
scale from 0 to 100%. "How confident do you feel that
you can achieve the current goals you have set in the
next year".
45


The qualitative portion asked more specific
questions about the goals to be achieved and goal
behavior. A specific example of this style of
questioning was, "Please briefly discuss any positive or
negative experiences, considerations or issues which you
feel may impact your ability to achieve the goal(s) you
have i dent i f i ed".
The pre-questionnaire was given to both groups at
the beginning of the four week period. As mentioned,
this questionnaire contained the Burns Anxiety,
Depression and Relationship Satisfaction scales. Several
scales asked about the participant's confidence in
achieving their goal without this course and past
achievement of goals set. The qualitative questions
examined the following: purpose for taking the course,
individual goals, the specific goal focus for this
course, issues which have impacted the ability to achieve
the goal defined, qualities which have both supported and
deterred the participant from achieving their goals, the
participant's belief that this course will support them
in attaining the desired goal, current goal setting
behaviors, and past experience with self-help books and
courses.
46


The post-questionnaire for the control group was
given to them after the four week period. It contained
the same Anxiety, Depression and Relationship
Satisfaction scales. The two scales asked the
participants to rate their confidence in accomplishing
their goals with their present skill and their confidence
that their goals would be achieved within the next year.
The qualitative questions examined the following: the
original reasons for taking the course as described in
the pre-questionnaire, reasons they had decided to take
the course not listed in the original questionnaire,
positive or negative experiences or issues which impacted
their ability to achieve their goals, qualities which had
enabled or deterred them from achieving their desired
goals in the past, current and future goal setting
behavior, and the participation with self-help books or
courses in the previous four weeks.
The post-questionnaire for the experimental group
used the same quantitative measurements and scales as the
post-questionnaire for the control group. The
qualitative questions are the same with several added
questions as follows: support the participant obtained
for their desired goal, intention to participate in any
future self-help courses, particular courses they would
47


be interested in, and any books they might purchase or
borrow which were discussed in the class. The
questionnaire concluded with an instructor and course
evaluation. This evaluation looked at how the
information was presented/ what part of the course was
most important to them, how often the concepts were used
in the past four weeks, and questions about the
techniques and their usefulness.
During the study some participants dealt with issues
which could cause concern if they had remained
unresolved. Because of this, suggestions were made for
anyone working with a therapist to inform their
therapist, so that any necessary support could be
developed. For each subject there was also a debriefing
to handle any unresolved issues following their
participation in the study.
Measurement
The instruments used in this research can be found
in Appendix D. The Burns Depression Checklist (BDC)
(Burns, 1989), the Burns Anxiety Inventory (BAI) (Burns,
1993, 1989) and the Relationship Satisfaction Scale
(RSAT) (Burns, 1993) were used as a quantitative
measurement in both the pre- and post-tests. The rest of
48


the questionnaires looked at specific goals for the
course, confidence at achieving the goals, previous
success at goal setting patterns, and previous experience
with self-help books and courses. The latter part of the
questionnaire employed both closed-ended and open-ended
questions.
Many theorists agree that depression and anxiety are
a result of unhealthy and distorted thinking (Beck et
al., 1979; Burns, 1993, 1980, 1990; Clark et al. 1990;
Shaw et al., 1990). The Depression Checklist and Anxiety
Inventory questionnaires explore both the physical and
cognitive aspects of depression and anxiety. In this
study depression is defined through the individual's
self-report of a high degree of sadness, discouragement,
low self-esteem, feelings of inferiority, guilt,
indecisiveness, irritability, loss of interest in life,
loss of motivation, poor self-image, appetite changes,
sleep changes, loss of sex drive, concerns about health,
and suicidal impulses. These tests were designed to
identify small fluctuations in moods so they could be
used on a consistent basis to determine progress. Burns
(1993) suggests that "Most people with scores in this
range (0-4) are quite happy and have no symptoms of
depression at all" (p. 18). One might assume then that
49


if he is not depressed, he is happy. Since this course
was based on both cognitive and behavioral theories this
test should have been a good measure of the participants'
improvement.
Burns Depression Checklist (BDC)
Sadness is a normal reaction to loss and is often
one of the steps in the healing process. Depression is
sadness prolonged over months or years. Much of the
current literature on depression cites the Beck
Depression Inventory as a highly reliable measurement.
(Burns, 1993; Payne and Manning, 1995; Pianta and
Egeland, 1994) David Burns was a student of Aaron Beck
and Beck's scale is very similar except on two very
important points. Many of Beck's questions compare what
respondents are feeling today with what they do normally,
"I don't cry any more than usual.", or they try to
compare what respondents are feeling with what they
believe others might be feeling: "I don't feel I am any
worse than anybody else." If a person has been in a
depressed state for a long period of time, comparing one
period to another would only suggest change and not be a
measure of actual depression level. Beck's scale also
uses anchor statements of an all or nothing type,
50


whereas, the Depression Checklist uses four familiar
anchors which suggest smaller movement.
Burns Anxiety Inventory (BAI)
Anxiety is often associated with depression, but one
of its major characteristics is fear (Costello, 1976;
Burns, 1989). Anxiety is defined through self-reported
assessments of feelings, fears, and symptoms. The
feelings assessed were worry or fear, detachment, panic
spells, and stress. Fear would include losing control,
going crazy, fainting, physical illness, looking foolish,
feeling abandoned and criticized. The symptoms cover
such things as racing heart, tightness in the chest,
sweating not brought on by heat, feeling off balance,
difficulty breathing, and feeling tired or weak. A
situation which one person might consider normal, like
flying in a plane, can be terrifying for another. If a
person has a fear or phobia, they experience very real
physical sensations in the body and mind. A person does
not exhibit the characteristics of fear unless they
perceive themselves to be in danger. The Anxiety
Inventory is designed with the same format as the
Depression Checklist, but it examines common
characteristics associated with anxiety and fear.
51


Relationship Satisfaction Scale (RSAT)
This scale uses a format similar to the other two,
but it is designed to "...evaluate how satisfied you feel
about your most intimate relationship" (Burns, 1993, p.
25).
Relationship satisfaction focuses on the
individual's most intimate relationship to examine
satisfaction with the following: communication and
openness, resolution of conflict, degree of caring and
affection, intimacy and closeness, one's own role and the
role of the other. This scale is an important indicator
of how the individual is functioning in other areas.
Often the cycle of depression and anxiety can be
exacerbated or diminished by what is happening in a
relationship (Burns, 1993; Schafer, Wickrama and Keith,
1996; Zelkowitz and Millet, 1996). Another important
factor is the impact change has on a relationship. When
one person has been playing an intricate role in a family
or marriage and a change is made, what impact does this
have on his relationship? Do the changes the individual
is making alter the way he views his current role and his
life satisfaction?
In order to analyze the data collected from these
questionnaires the pre- and post-questionnaires were
52


placed side by side and compared. In the case of the
Anxiety Inventory, Depression Checklist, and Relationship
Satisfaction Scale measures, the means were analyzed by
examining the individual's scores, experimental and
control groups means and a comparison of the initial and
final means. The qualitative data was studied by
exploring the differences between the responses and the
overall themes of the experimental and control groups.
Also discussed were some comments from the participants.
This study used a pre-test/post-test design to
measure an experimental group and a control group for
their degree of life satisfaction. The following chapter
presents an analysis of the data obtained from the life
satisfaction measurement.
53


CHAPTER 4
RESULTS SECTION
This study was designed to look at the effectiveness
of a self-help course using methods of self-communication
to determine if such a course supports the participant in
achieving an increase in life satisfaction. Life
satisfaction in this case was represented by a low level
of depression and anxiety with a high level of
relationship satisfaction.
The study employed a pre-test/post-test experimental
design. The experimental group participated in a four
week course based on self-help principles, specifically
focusing on self-communication techniques. At the end of
the four week course the experimental group completed the
post-questionnaire for the experimental group. The
control group did not receive any additional information
during this time. After the four week period of time
they completed the post-questionnaire. The data from the
pre- and post-questionnaires are explored in this
section.
The data which was collected is in both quantitative
and qualitative form. The quantitative data was analyzed
by comparing the means of the experimental and control
54


groups (Tables 4.1-4.3) to determine if there was a
change in life satisfaction. In the analysis of the
qualitative data, both of the questionnaires completed by
each participant were set side by side and examined for
themes and the responses and then compared between the
groups. Comments offered by the participants were also
discussed.
Quantitative Analysis
The statistics in Table 4.1 were the results from
the Anxiety Inventory, Depression Checklist and
Relationship Satisfaction scales. Table 4.1 explores the
individual scores of the participants, identified by the
last 4 digits of their social security number. For
example, in the experimental group participant 3154 had
an initial score of 25 on the Anxiety Inventory, 17 on
the Depression Checklist and 28 on the Relationship
Satisfaction Scale. On the post-questionnaire the scores
for participant 3154 were 14.5 for the Anxiety Inventory,
9 on the Depression Checklist and 17 on the Relationship
Satisfaction Scale.
The third column represents the difference between
the initial and final scores.
55


Table 4.1
EXPERIMENTAL CONTROL
ss# Test Pre Post Dif ss# Test Pre Post Dif
3154 BAI 25 14.5 -10 1690 BAI 13 3 -10
BDC 17 9 -8 BDC 9 10 +1
RSAT 28 17 -11 RSAT 41 41 0
7838 BAI 37 16 -21 2734 BAI 45 30 -15
BDC 25 16 -9 BDC 18 16 -2
RSAT 38 36 -2 RSAT 15 36 +21
1531 BAI 33 34 +1 2713 BAI 4 1 -3
BDC 20 18 -2 BDC 1 0 -1
RSAT 37 27 -10 RSAT 33 36 +3
9248 BAI 13 11 -2 8232 BAI 6 7 +1
BDC 19 19 0 BDC 6 4 -2
RSAT 39 39 0 RSAT 42 0 -42
9896 BAI 24 16 -8 4801 BAI 21 15 -6
BDC 17 8 -9 BDC 14 10 -4
RSAT 22 8 -14 RSAT 23 7 -16
For 3154 the score from the pre- to the post-
questionnaires decreased by 10.5 points for the Anxiety
Inventory, decreased 8 points on the Depression Checklist
and 11 points on the Relationship Satisfaction Scale.
There appeared to be some relatively large swings in
the Relationship Satisfaction Scale scores in the control
group particularly for participants 2734 and 8232.
56


Table 4.2 compared the means of the experimental and
control groups on the three measures.
Table 4.2
Experimental Control
Test Pre Post Dif Test Pre Post Dif
BAI 26.4 18.3 -8.1 BAI 17.8 11.2 -6.6
BDC 19.6 14 -5.6 BDC 9.6 8 -1.6
RSAT 32.8 25.4 -7.4 RSAT 30.8 24 -6.8
In the experimental group the means on the pre-
questionnaire were 26.4 on the Anxiety Inventory, 19.6 on
the Depression Checklist and 32.8 on the Relationship
Satisfaction Scale. The experimental group's post-
questionnaire means was 18.3 on the Anxiety Inventory, 14
on the Depression Checklist and 25.4 on the Relationship
Satisfaction Scale. The means for the experimental group
decreased from the pre-questionnaire to the post-
questionnaire by 8.1 on the Anxiety Inventory, 5.6 on the
Depression Checklist and 7.4 on the Relationship
Satisfaction Scale.
In the control group the means on the pre-
questionnaire was 17.8 on the Anxiety Inventory, 9.6 on
the Depression Checklist and 30.8 on the Relationship
Satisfaction Scale. The control group's post-
questionnaire means was 11.2 on the Anxiety Inventory, 8
57


on the Depression Checklist and 24 on the Relationship
Satisfaction Scale. The means for the control group
decrease from the pre-questionnaire to the post-
questionnaire by 6.6 on the Anxiety Inventory, 1.6 on the
Depression Checklist and 6.8 on the Relationship
Satisfaction Scale.
Table 4.3 compares the difference between the means
of both groups in the pre- and post-questionnaires.
Here, for the pre-questionnaire, the experimental group
showed a mean of 26.4 on Anxiety Inventory, 19.6 on
Depression Checklist and 32.8 on the Relationship
Satisfaction Scale scales. The control group had means
of 17.8 on the Anxiety Inventory, 9.6 on the Depression
Checklist and 30.8 for Relationship Satisfaction Scale.
Table 4.3
Pre Post
Test Exp Con Dif Test Exp Con Dif
BAI 26.4 17.8 -8.6 BAI 18.3 11.2 -7.1
BDC 19.6 9.6 -10 BDC 14 7.33 -6.67
RSAT 32.8 30.8 -2 RSAT 25.4 24 -1.4
On the pre-questionnaire, the control group
exhibited a lower mean then the experimental group on all
three measures: 8.6 for the Anxiety Inventory, 10 for
58


the Depression Checklist and 2 for the Relationship
Satisfaction Scale.
For the post-questionnaire, the experimental group
showed a mean of 18.3 on Anxiety Inventory, 14 on
Depression Checklist and 25.4 on the Relationship
Satisfaction Scale scales. The control group had means
of 11.2 on the Anxiety Inventory, 7.33 on the Depression
Checklist and 24 for Relationship Satisfaction Scale.
The means from the post-questionnaire showed that the
control group was 7.1 points lower than the experimental
group on the Anxiety Inventory, 6.67 points lower on the
Depression Checklist and 1.4 points lower on the
Relationship Satisfaction Scale.
Scales
The questionnaires included several scales ranging
from 0 to 100 asking for various responses on the area of
goal setting. The first scale asked participants about
their confidence in achieving their goals before and
after the four week period. The respondents in the
experimental group indicated the initial average
percentage of 44.2, and their final average percentage
was 64.2. This suggested an increase of 20% in
confidence in achieving their goal. Individual increases
59


from the pre-questionnaire to the post-questionnaire
ranged from 5% to 34%.
The control group's initial average percentage
response to the same question was 46.6, and its final
average percentage was 63.4. This suggested an increase
in confidence of 16.8%. Individual increases from the
pre- to post-questionnaire for the control group, ranged
from 0 to 50%.
Another related question appeared only on the pre-
questionnaire. It asked the participants how often they
had achieved their goals in the past. The experimental
group responded with an average percentage of 52.6,
whereas the control group responded with an average of 50
percent.
A question which only appeared on both post-
questionnaires asked about the confidence the participant
had in achieving their current goals in the next year.
The experimental group's mean response was 61.6% and the
control group's response was 64%.
Qualitative Analysis
The data in this section was taken from thirteen
questions from the pre-questionnaire, twelve from the
post-questionnaire for the experimental group, and nine
60


from the post-questionnaire for the control group. This
section was organized to first focus on the responses on
the pre-questionnaire, followed by a matching of
responses on the post-questionnaire for the experimental
group or post-questionnaire for the control group.
The experimental group's responses were listed
first, then the responses on equivalent questions for the
control group. Some responses occurred more than once
and in these cases the response was listed only once in
this report.
The respondents were asked to indicate their goals.
The goals for the experimental group included: not making
decisions based in fear, getting over shyness, getting in
touch with feelings, eating habits, weight loss or gain,
exercise, career change, finances, health,
procrastination and to stop being intimidated. The
participants were asked to focus on goals or projects
which could be measured. Three participant goals
reflected the desire to increase exercise, two focused on
weight loss or gain and the other two focused on eating
habits and procrastination.
The post-questionnaire for the experimental group
asked the experimental group to discuss the reasons which
they had listed on their original questionnaire, for
61


wanting to participate in the course. Their responses
were as follows: learn more about my behavior, how to
change my behavior, learn more about myself, gain
motivation to begin an exercise program, confidence,
patience, and weight loss.
When members of the control group were asked what
goals they would like to achieve in the pre-questionnaire
they responded: finances, exercise, weight loss,
improving personal attitude, eating healthy, studying,
meditating, caring for house and clothes, job, quit
smoking, finish projects, educate child and personal
relationships. When asked to focus their goal on
measurable areas they responded with: weight loss,
decrease cholesterol, study daily, exercise, quit
smoking, finish projects and increase dates.
When members of the control group were asked on the
post-questionnaire what were the original reasons they
desired to participate in the course they responded with:
to make meaningful changes in my life and to grow, stop
smoking, lose weight, and to gain more trust in myself.
The pre-questionnaire, also asked what qualities had
enabled them to be effective in achieving their desired
goals in the past? The responses for the experimental
group included: I don't know, always looking for ways to
62


improve myself, hard work, completing several long term
projects, organization, sense of adventure, and no real
goals.
Their response to the same question on the post-
questionnaire for the experimental group were: open
minded, less afraid of failure, better ability to
visualize and plan, unwilling to give up, and N/A.
The answers returned from the control group on the
pre-questionnaire for the same question were: none,
positive attitude, more self-accepting, learn from my
mistakes, more organized and persistent.
The control group1s responses on the post-
questionnaire were: self-talk, integrity, sincerity, good
heart, realizing that I have a choice, more control over
i
anger and friendly.
When the experimental group was asked in the pre-
questionnaire what has deterred them from achieving their
goals in the past they responded: no motivation, no
support or confidence, fear, negative self-concept,
feeling as though I didn't have the talent or skills,
lazy, wasting time, self-sabotage, fear of failure, fear
of success, not asking for support from others, not
defining the exact goal, no real goals, low self-esteem,
and lack of motivation.
63


The experimental group's responses on the post-
questionnaire to the same question were: not setting
goals, believing negative self-talk, unreachable goals.
The responses for the control group on the question
of what had deterred them from achieving their goals in
the past on the pre-questionnaire were: lazy, not caring
enough, not believing in self, negative attitude,
inability to see past dreams, lack of motivation, and
scared.
Their responses on post-questionnaire to the same
question were: getting stopped or discouraged, realizing
choices, fear of being humiliated and shy.
When the subjects were asked on the pre-
questionnaire how many self-help books they had read or
how many self-help courses they had taken in the past,
the experimental group responded with a mean of 13.1
books and a mean of 1 self-help course. The control
group had read a mean of 3.5 books and participated in
2.6 self-help courses.
The post-questionnaire for both groups asked how
many books the participants had read during the four week
period of the course. The experimental group had read
1.5 books and the control group had read no books.
64


The pre-questionnaire asked the participants about
how often they set goals. For the experimental group;
one participant set long term goals, 0 participants set
ten year goals, 1 participant set five year goals, 3
participants set one year goals, 3 participants set
monthly goals, 1 participant set weekly goals and 3
participants set daily goals. For those participants in
the control group, 1 participant set long term goals, 0
participants set ten year goals, 2 participants set five
year goals, 2 participants set one year goals, 3
participants set monthly goals, 5 participants set weekly
goals and 3 participants set daily goals.
Some questions appeared only on the post-
questionnaire for the experimental group. These
questions dealt with the subjects' participation in the
class and the usefulness of concepts and methods in the
course. The students said they did the homework 40.36%
of the time. The use of the relaxation techniques varied
from nightly to sleep to only in class. Only 2 of the
participants used journalling during the four weeks.
When the participants were asked about the usefulness of
the various themes of the course, on a zero to 100 point
scale, they responded with an average of 71.68 for
personality theory, 68.36 for the theory of the mind, 75
65


for self-talk, 58.68 for behavior modification, 85.2 for
goal setting and 78.36 for the principle-centered
approach.
When the members of the experimental group were
asked about the value of the course, three participants
mentioned that one important result of the course was
discovering that change is possible, and 2 mentioned that
it is important to know how to make the changes. One
participant mentioned after the course was completed that
the goal which had originally been so prominent for her
was no longer a focus, and she had realized through the
process a more important goal.
This chapter offers the results of the life
satisfaction measurement. This discussion is continued
in the next chapter as possible conclusions and
opportunities for further research are explored.
66


CHAPTER 5
DISCUSSION
The goal of this thesis was to examine the effect of
a self-help course which used techniques of self-
communication on the life satisfaction of the
participants. This study used a pre-test/post-test
design for both the experimental and control group. The
data was collected through quantitative and qualitative
measures.
This chapter will discuss observations based upon
the quantitative and qualitative data, as well as
limitations to the study and possibilities for future
research.
Quantitative Data
The quantitative section of the questionnaires
consisted of three instruments, the Burns' Depression,
Anxiety, and Relationship Satisfaction Scales.
General Conclusions
A review of Table 4.1 in the previous chapter
reveals that the individual respondent scores on the
three instruments varied greatly. While some individuals
67


changed little from the pre- to post-tests, others
changed markedly. For instance, subject 8232 indicated a
relatively high level of relationship satisfaction in the
pre-test with a score of 42, but fell to a score of 0 in
the post-test. In short, individual scores are
characterized by variability.
Nevertheless, there were noticeable trends in the
data. Most noticeable was the general fall in scores for
all three instruments from the pre-test to the post-test.
The decrease in scores occurred regardless of group.
While a few individuals bucked this trend on a few of the
individual instruments, most did not. Some of these
decreases in scores could have been expected. This study
sought to demonstrate that exposure to a class focussing
on change would result in reductions in measured
depression and anxiety. But it was not thought that
exposure to the course would reduce measured relationship
satisfaction. Nor could it have been predicted that
members of the control group would exhibit substantial
decreases in reported depression and anxiety when they
had not been exposed to any treatment. Lastly, a member
of the control group reported a fall in relationship
satisfaction from the pre- to the post-measurement
period. Perhaps, something like a Hawthorne effect can
68


help explain the outcomes (Corsini and Auerbach, 1996).
Just being in a study may promote willingness to confront
basic issues and hence develop a capacity for greater
life satisfaction. Such an effect would apply to both
the experimental and the control group.
These findings invite further discussion of each of
the individual instruments employed in the study.
Findings Associated with Depression
The pre-test mean of the experimental group was
19.6, while for the control the mean was 9.6. Clearly
members of the experimental group were more depressed
than control group members. Indeed, the scores of the
experimental group members may indicate why they chose to
place themselves into the experimental group. If they
felt more depressed, they may have sensed the need to
initiate some type of intervention of the sort provided
by the course. In the post-test the mean for the
experimental group was 14, while for the control group
was 7.33. One can argue that exposure to the course
reduced the mean depression score of the experimental
group by 5.6 points. Hence, the course appears to have
worked. However, the control experienced a similar
reduction, from 9.6 to 7.33, a reduction of 2.27 points.
69


On the whole there was a stronger reduction in depression
score in the experimental group than for the control
group. The difference suggests that the course may have
worked as intended.
Findings Associated with Anxiety
The pre-test mean of the experimental group was
26.4, while for the control group the mean was 17.8.
Clearly, members of the experimental group were more
anxious than the control group members. Again, scores of
the experimental group members may indicate why they
chose to place themselves into the experimental group.
If they felt more anxious, they may have sensed the need
to initiate some type of intervention of the sort
provided by the course.
In the post-test the mean for the experimental group
was 18.3, while for the control group the mean was 11.2.
One can argue that exposure to the course reduced the
mean anxiety score of the experimental group by 8.1
points. Hence, the course appears to have worked.
Again, the control experienced a similar but smaller
reduction, from 17.8 to 11.2, a reduction of 6.6 points.
On the whole, the reduction in anxiety scores in the
experimental group was stronger than for the control
70


group. Again, the difference suggests that the course
may have worked as intended.
Findings Associated with Relationship Satisfaction
The relationship satisfaction scores for the two
groups were more similar than for either of the other
measures. The pre-questionnaire mean of the experimental
group was 32.8, for the control, 30.8. In the post-
questionnaire the means were 25.4 and 24, respectively.
It is clear that the decrease in both group's scores from
the pre- to post-test were very similar. Nevertheless,
the findings, when taken in conjunction with the anxiety
and depression score, are intriguing. One would think
that as depression and anxiety were reduced, as they were
in both groups, then relationship satisfaction would
increase in both groups. Apparently not. One suggestion
is that when people become less anxious and depressed
they think more clearly about their relationships.
Perhaps they came to understand a connection between
their most intimate relationships and their previous
levels of depression and anxiety. Becoming more
satisfied and happier may mean challenging a relationship
developed during a period of low life satisfaction.
71


Qualitative Data
The qualitative portion of the questionnaire related
to the participants' course goals and goal setting
behaviors. When one examines the participants' reports
on the pre-questionnaire of past success in achieving
their goals, there appears to be a small difference
between the experimental and control groups. On the
post-questionnaire the experimental group showed a 3%
increase in confidence in achieving their goals compared
to the control group. The experimental group exhibited
less variability in confidence in achieving their goals
from the pre-questionnaire to the post-questionnaire with
scores ranging from 5% to 34%. The control group
exhibited a larger range from 0 to 50%. The increase
could be a result of the acquired knowledge, since the
course focused on methods to achieve one's goals. The
more consistent increase for the experimental group could
again be the result of less randomness in the responses
after the influence of the course.
The control group was 2.4% more confident than the
experimental group that they could achieve their current
goals in the next year. This result was interesting
because on the post-questionnaire the experimental
group's confidence that they could achieve their goal in
72


the future was 2.6% higher than their belief that they
could attain their goals in the next year. Perhaps the
experimental group's involvement in the course supported
a better understanding of their goals and the actions
necessary to accomplish those goals. Many of the
specific goals the experimental group set were long term
goals, like changing eating habits or procrastination,
while some of the goals for the control group where short
term, like daily study or exercise.
The experimental group showed greater confidence
about achieving their goal than the control group.
Perhaps the additional tools they had been given helped
them to bring their goals into focus. The decrease in
their belief that their goals could be attained in the
next year could be a result of more realistic
expectations from the experimental group about the
process of accomplishing a goal permanently.
The experimental group and control group had common
goal areas such as weight loss, exercise, health and
finance. When the groups were asked to narrow their
topics in order to be more measurable on the pre-
questionnaire, the experimental group focused on weight
loss or gain, eating habits and procrastination while the
control group responded with more diversity: lose weight,
73


decrease cholesterol, study daily, exercise, quit
smoking, finish projects and increase dates. When one
compares the responses from the pre-questionnaire and the
post-questionnaires concerning the reasons the
respondents had originally decided to take the course, it
seems that the experimental group exhibited answers that
reflected a theme of learning and less specific goals.
Perhaps as a result of taking the course the experimental
group was better able to see goal setting as a process
which is developed though communication with the
unconscious mind.
When comparing responses on the pre-questionnaire to
the post-questionnaire concerning what had deterred the
subjects from achieving their goals in the past, one sees
that the experimental group responded with clearer ideas
about what had deterred them and they used some
terminology reflective of information learned in the
course.
One of the issues discussed earlier in this paper
was that the participant would have better results if he
were offered more opportunity to find a method or methods
which best suited his needs and personality by having
several methods to choose from. Results from the
questionnaires suggested support for this assertion. The
74


participants in the experimental group were asked how
often they had participated in journalling, relaxation
techniques, and homework. Each technique attracted
individuals who really took advantage of the technique
and found it useful, while others had no interest in
trying new techniques. There was a similar response
toward the various theories in the class. Some
participants seemed to find certain themes more valuable
to their life style and their needs than others.
The goal setting and principle-center approaches had
more enthusiasts overall than the other approaches. This
popularity could have been because it was the last
concept taught. One participant mentioned that the
earlier classes did not make as much sense until later
ones were taught. The initial class sessions were
intended to create a foundation for future concepts, but
they needed more development to help them stand on their
own.
When asked on the pre-questionnaire about goal
setting behaviors, the control group indicated they
participated in more goal setting, particularly on a
weekly basis, than the experimental group.
75


Limitations to the Study
This piece of research, as well as the course it
employed, had several characteristics, which if
addressed, could increase the value of future studies in
this area.
The most obvious change would have been increasing
the size of the subject samples. An increased sample
size would support the use of inferential statistics in
the analysis of the data and the measurement of real
change due to the course. As it was, the sample size
reflected too much individual difference and variability
in results. Since the means were the only statistics
employed in the quantitative portion of the study, the
results were inconclusive.
A second limitation was the nonrandom sample. Since
this was a field study and the number and availability of
the subjects were limited, random sampling was not used
severely restricting the generalizability of the results.
A third consideration is associated with validity of
measurement. Did it register exposure to the class?
This type of information might have been more valid if
collected over a longer period of time. Many of the
techniques and theories discussed in the class may not
result in large changes in four weeks.
76


A fourth area of concern is the Relationship
Satisfaction Scale. This measure exhibited a great deal
of variability around the mean. The difference in the
means for both the pre- and post-test for both the
experimental and control groups decreased equally on the
Relationship Satisfaction Scale. The Relationship
Satisfaction Scale may have some variability created by
the participant choosing a different relationship as a
focus from the pre- to the post-questionnaire. It was
not clear on the post-questionnaire instructions that the
participant should measure the same relationship they had
chosen on the pre-questionnaire.
The fifth limitation applies to the questions on the
qualitative portion of the questionnaires. These could
have been written more clearly. The pre- and post-
questionnaires could have been better matched by asking
the questions exactly the same on both questionnaires.
The scales which looked at goal setting behaviors could
be clearer if there were equal divisions and markings for
the 25% and 75%, or if they allowed the participant to
enter a numeral as the response.
And sixth, the majority of the questions in the
qualitative portion of the questionnaire related only to
goal setting habits rather than other important issues.
77


Future Research
An examination of this study yields suggestions for
further exploration. Since this was a field study there
was a great deal of information gathered both from the
questionnaires and through discussion including comments
by participants.
Some of the comments from the participants
suggested:
1. It might be possible to offer a course such as
the one discussed in this paper as an overview of
possible techniques. This course would be followed by
in-depth courses which explore specific techniques, which
could be taken together or alone, to find a method which
would best suit the participants' particular needs.
2. Participants learned that they could change
using one or several methods to create that change. The
participants explained that the organization of the class
did not support them in making the change. It might be
beneficial to design the course to examine just one goal
such as weight loss and structure the information to suit
just that one goal area. By narrowing to a specific goal
area the course information could be pared down and
focused.
78


3. The participants were given information, but it
needed to be easy to employ. One particular area
mentioned by a participant was behavior modification.
She felt it was presented in an abstract manner and would
have been more powerful if it could have been presented
in a more visual manner.
4. Another participant suggested shorter class
sessions over a longer period of time. This would
support the participants by providing more constant
support from the group and new information would come at
shorter intervals so that it could be more easily
assimilated and applied.
5. Feedback from the participants suggested what
was important for them was the knowledge that they could
make changes in their lives and that there are methods to
create change.
Studies of this sort could benefit from follow up or
longitudinal data collection to examine if the change
techniques improved target or goal setting behavior and
improved life satisfaction over time.
In future studies perhaps questions could be
included that ask about other behavior related to life
satisfaction such as: how satisfied one is with their
job; how often the individual engages in pleasurable
79


activities; or the frequency of time spent with close
friends.
80


APPENDIX A
THEORY OF THE MIND
Kresnik and Lyons' (1988) theory uses concepts
similar to Freud in a slightly different way. The circle
(figure A.l) is designed to represent the mind. It is
broken into 3 parts. The first section is the Conscious
Mind, which accounts for about 12-15% of the total mind.
This would correspond to Freud's Ego. The Unconscious
Mind represents about 85-88% of the whole. This relates
to Freud's Id. The Critical Faculty is the line dividing
the Conscious and Unconscious Minds, which could be
associated with the Superego.
The Conscious Mind is an important component of how
one thinks about oneself. It is the most prominent way
information passes into the Unconscious Mind for storage.
The.phrase "what one is thinking" usually refers to those
thoughts in the Conscious mind.
The Unconscious Mind is the portion which is
suggested to be the real place where decisions are made.
Thoughts are stored in the Unconscious Mind. A thought
is a function of experiences and different learning
situations. A thought is often stored in the brain
81


DEFINITION OF HYPNOSIS:
A state of mind In which we by pass the critical faculty and establish new. appropriate accent
able, pragmatic selective thinking. "
THEORY OF THE MIND:
A. Conscious mind programmed by:
1. Peers
2. Environment
3. Conscious
4. Central Nervous System (CNS)
B. Critical Faculty:
Belief system and reverse effect occur in the critical faculty.
C. Subconscious:
1. Memory
2. Imagination
3. Emotional Content
(Super Ego)
Critical
Faculty
(Ego)
(Programmer)
Conscious Objective
Cognitive Brain
Programming
Sources
1. Peers X
2. Environment X
3. Conscious X
4. CNS X
(Central Nervous System)
Deductive
I Am
(W)
(Computer)
Subconscious
88%
(Habit Center)
2500X
21
Times
Around Loop
THEORY OF THE MINO
Behavior I Do
2 Inductive
82


with attached feelings, emotions, and sometimes added
imagination magnified up to 2500X. Some thoughts may
appear as memories while others may remain deeply
embedded, only coming to the surface if some experience
or circumstance causes them to re-emerge. These thoughts
are a part of how one makes decisions on the unconscious
level. These decisions are based on repeated information
from the environment, a shock to the Central Nervous
System (CNS) or sometimes a single experience from youth.
In any case, these thoughts, which are stored in the
brain, play a major role by impacting how the individual
responds in their environment.
The Critical Faculty is the dividing line the
Conscious and Unconscious Mind and develops more strength
with age. In the young child the Critical Faculty is
almost non-existent. This suggests that thoughts
entering into the Conscious Mind can cross unimpeded into
the Unconscious Mind where the thoughts and experiences
are stored. The Critical Faculty is semi-permeable until
around age 8-12 and above age 12 the Critical Faculty is
firmly in place. At this time whenever a thought enters
into the Conscious Mind, it must go through the Critical
Faculty before it can enter into the Unconscious Mind.
This Critical Faculty acts like a filter which sometimes
83


rejects and sometimes attaches additional meaning to
thoughts before they are stored in the Unconscious.
If a young child was told she was stupid, this
information passes into the Unconscious without
interruption or interpretation. If these comments were
repeated over and over as the child grew, they could
become firmly implanted in the Unconscious, and the child
may accept those thoughts as an inherent part of herself.
As one grows, when information comes in which is
contrary to the individual's model of herself, it is
often rejected as being invalid and either does not enter
the Unconscious or is reinterpreted and labeled before
entering the Unconscious Mind. Once a thought is stored
in the Unconscious it may be distorted and may have a
memory, emotion or imagination attached.
As listed in the diagram, there are several elements
which help to program the mind. Peers can be especially
important when the child is young and forming ideas about
who she is and how she is suppose to act. Since humans
are generally reliant on their parents until about the
age of 10-12, parents and other adults play an important
role in the programming of the individual and act as role
models of appropriate behavior. From a very young age
the individual is open to the influence of the
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environment. The human is an open system accepting
information from the outside. The media, music,
neighborhood, and other characteristics of the place she
is reared, play an important role in the experiences of a
child and in a mind set for how she perceives herself.
That information influences the Critical Faculty and is
stored in the Unconscious Mind, which affects how an
individual develops and later interacts with their
environment. The Central Nervous System fCNS) also
influences which thoughts are focused on and how strong
an impact they have when they enter the Unconscious. In
the diagram, the line from thought represents how the CNS
can by-pass the protective functions of the adult mind.
If, for instance, a statement is made following a blow to
the body, this thought is going to enter the Unconscious
Mind without going through the filters of the Critical
Faculty. If shocks to the CNS are done repeatedly, this
would suggest a heavy impact on how strongly this thought
might be imbedded into the Unconscious.
It has been suggested that one can change a behavior
or thought by repeating an action 21 times. This is said
based on Pavlovian studies and the number of times it
took the unconditioned stimulus to become a conditioned
stimulus (Kresnik and Lyons, 1988). As a thought is
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accepted into the Unconscious Mind, the individual may
create behavior which is based on these thoughts. For
example, if an individual has been told from a very young
age that he is clumsy his Unconscious will accept this as
a true statement. When he sits down at the dinner table,
knocks over his water and is called clumsy, it reaffirms
he is clumsy. In other words, he has enacted a behavior
which based on thoughts his Unconscious Mind has accepted
and he is reinforcing those thoughts by exhibiting the
clumsy behavior. This concept is demonstrated in the
diagram at the base showing "I am" as coming from the
Unconscious Mind and the "I do" as reinforcing the
behavior.
This theory suggests there are many factors which
influence how one perceives oneself and those around
them. Communication or tapping into the Unconscious Mind
can help to reveal important and behavior altering
information for the individual.
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APPENDIX B
BEHAVIOR MODIFICATION TECHNIQUES
Antecedent Techniques
Stimulus Control
This method rests on the principle that thought,
emotion, or behavior which immediately precedes the
target behavior gains some measure of control over future
behavior. This technique can support increasing the
target behavior by placing objects around which remind
the individual of the behavior she wants to encourage or
discourage and thus avoid placing herself in situations
which support the unwanted target behavior. The
procedure begins by clearly defining the target behavior
and by identifying which stimulus enhances or inhibits
the target behavior. And finally, the frequency,
direction or intensity of the stimulus is altered to
create the desired effect.
Desensitization
Desensitization, also called Systematic
Desensitization is designed to increase a particular
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behavior. This method involves using relaxation
techniques and pairing them repeatedly with some anxiety
producing event until relaxation occurs while in the
presence of the anxiety producing stimulus. The anxiety
producing event or target behavior may be broken down
into steps listed from least to most upsetting. By
repeatedly creating in the mind an image of the specific
circumstance and relaxing at the same time
desensitization develops and results in a relaxed
response rather than an upsetting one. One can then move
to more threatening circumstances until the same effect
is achieved. Finally, one can begin pairing them in real
life contexts.
Sensitization
The final technique mentioned in working with
antecedents is sensitization, which has also been called
aversion therapy. This therapy uses the technique of
simple conditioning. In this case, a behavior which one
would like to decrease is selected. Rather than pairing
relaxation with the response, the behavior is paired with
an unpleasant stimulus. This is based on a normal human
instinct, to avoid pain, which is designed to help the
species survive.
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A use of the aversive stimulus begins by determining
which thoughts, feelings or emotions most often precede
the target behavior. The experience is then paired with
a covert or imagined aversive experience which can be
presented quickly and vividly in the imagination. This
needs to be a real or imagined aversive experience that
one would be willing to think about repeatedly during the
process. An actual aversive stimulus, like snapping a
rubber band when the negative behavior occurs, can be
used.
Consequence Techniques
Behavioral psychologists have defined some simple
categories to identify behavior, good or bad, and costly
experiences in the world, which could stop or start
happening.
Positive Reinforcement
Positive Reinforcement is based on the principle
that good things can start happening to you. In this
case, the objective is to increase a behavior, thought or
feeling that follows the target behavior by choosing the
behavior which is the most reinforcing. In order to
achieve positive reinforcement arrangements could be made
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to create a reward for achieving a desired goal. This is
most effective if the reward is set up internally and is
designed by the individual seeking the goal. The target
behavior should be objectifiable and occasions or times
when the desired response is expected to occur should be
specifically defined. Efforts can then be implemented to
increase the desired response through positive
reinforcement, by either reinforcing it more, reinforcing
an incompatible response less, or choosing both options.
This same philosophy applies to decreasing a response, by
reinforcing an incompatible response. Some alternatives
are to use different types of reinforcer-activities or to
use a point system which can buy, based on the amount of
points earned, opportunities from a list of desirable
objects or experiences.
Negative Reinforcement
This method is based on the belief that bad things
can stop happening to you. This technique has often been
used in today's homes, schools, churches and the like.
In this case, a negative or aversive event would stop as
a result of the chosen response. This means a negative
experience or circumstance should be created and the
target behavior will discontinue when the appropriate
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response occurs. Once again, the behavior to decrease is
defined and the stimulus which would be mildly aversive
is determined. Once the behavior begins, present the
negative stimulus, letting it build and when the
appropriate response begins, discontinue the aversion.
This could be used with a covert or imagined stimulus.
Punishment by Application
Punishment by Application or Positive Punishment is
based on the premise that bad things can start happening
to you. This is another method which is not highly
recommended, but highly prevalent in our society. In
this case, an aversive stimulus is created following the
behavior to be diminished. When the specified target
behavior occurs, the punishment begins for a
predetermined period of time. Occasionally, if someone
else is helping to administer the punishment, negative
effects are associated with the person performing the
punishment, including oneself.
Punishment by Withdrawal
Punishment by Withdrawal has also been referred to
as Negative Punishment and is based on the premise that
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good things can stop happening to you. Here a pleasant
stimulus which occurred before the target response is
decreased or taken away.
Cognitive Techniques
Self-Instructions
Self-Instructions "are thoughts put into words so
you can remember them more easily and so you can analyze
your thoughts to find out what's right and wrong with
them" (Yates, 1986, p. 26). Once thoughts become visible
it becomes easier to understand and change them. Here,
the goal is to determine the behavior to be enhanced and
examine what self-talk precedes and follows the desired
response. Then one can evaluate what function it is
serving and isolate the self-talk which produces or
perpetuates the problem by replacing it with more
appropriate ones.
Modeling
Modeling is generally used to acquire a skill by
finding people who seem competent at the desired skill
and watching them perform the skill. Modeling can also
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be learned vicariously through books, movies, or TV.
This is probably one of the most commonly used methods of
learning a new skill. The task is to select either in
person or through some other mode of communication, a
model who is competent at the desired skill. One of the
best options is to use a live model who can be observed
and, in return, can reinforce successive approximations
to the goal. If the model is covert, imagine the
sequence vividly and imagine it being performed
successfully.
Planning
Planning is defined by "self-statements and
instructions that are carefully structured in their level
of detail and coordinated toward a common goal" (Yates,
1986, p. 32). A plan is developed for a specific goal
and out of that plan a method can be developed to
complete the goal based on certain commitments. Plans
can be broken down into parts; macro or global goals,
meso or more specific goals, and micro goals which are
even more specific. In essence, if one develops a
general goal it can be broken down into manageable parts,
then into specific steps with the micro goals. Although
this method is used quite often in our culture, making
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this process very overt can really benefit the individual
in learning how to achieve his goal.
The first step is to identify the macro goal, then
determine the best ways to achieve the goal and which
alternatives are most logical. Then it is beneficial to
commit to the goals by either writing them down or
telling a committed other about your goal. Treat each
step of the goal as an accomplishment. Focus on each of
these goals and by following the procedure and
identifying each of the steps necessary to accomplish
them.
Problem Solving
Problem Solving is another technique used every day.
The first step is to define the problem in specific
terms. Sometimes this is one of the most crucial steps
because there is often a vague sense of the problem, but
by making it concrete a powerful first step has been
taken to resolve the problem. The next step suggests
that a model is developed which identifies the essential
elements. Now the objective is to manipulate the model
in every way by examining every plausible option. Out of
the options presented, pick the one that best minimizes
the costs and maximizes the benefits. Take this option
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and try it out on a trial basis to see how well it works.
By comparing the results with the expected outcomes one
can determine how well the method is working. If the
results are pleasing, apply this method on a larger
scale. If it was not as effective as anticipated, go
back and explore some alternative methods. The last step
is to redefine the problem and adjust the problem solving
methods if there are repeated swings in effectiveness.
Modifying Self-Constructs
Modifying Self-Constructs is based on changing a
construct or image of a situation from the previous
image. Normal methods of dealing with conflict between
thoughts and behaviors usually results in changing the
behaviors. This method suggests that an individual can
adopt new constructs to match the person they aspire to
become and then change his behavior to match the new
construct.
The first step in this procedure is to define the
problems in terms of current roles. Consider alternative
roles and ask others about what alternative roles could
be played in this situation. Look at the advantages and
disadvantages of each role. When others are involved it
is helpful to describe what role they are perceived to be
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