1978 book by Dr. Deborah Phillips. Simple, practical behavioral psychology techniques to address patterns of painful crushes, jealousy, collapsed boundaries, and destructive desire. Side benefits include heightened self-esteem, self-control and emotional independence, with some juicy stuff at the end about taking control of, and improving, your orgasmic response.

If you have ever had the experience of knowing a fact, but not feeling like it could be true, then you understand the difference between intellectual/rational learning, and emotional learning. Phillips' thesis is that love, and all the warm, tender, and even erotic thoughts and habits thereof are emotional learning; psychoanalysis will not help one let go of a destructive love feeling, because analysis is a rational tool.

The major techniques: thought-stopping, self-reward, silent ridicule, positive self-image exercises, relaxation. Sorry, you'll just have to read the book to find out about Dr. Phillips' exercises for orgasmic response.

Thought-stopping. It's not unusual to be distracted by thoughts of a loved one; when these thoughts are unwelcome and distracting, you should tally them and immediately think of something else. Pick a few stock subjects that make you happy, perhaps a vacation trip you're planning or a strong happy childhood impression. If you keep a daily sticky-note tally of thought-stopping moments, you'll find that the frequency of these unwelcome thoughts trails off in good time.

I advocate the lifelong exercise of self-analysis, so I can't recommend complete avoidance of thought about painful experiences. The stress is on learning what can be learned from the experience, and directing that hard-won wisdom to the pursuit of happiness. That doesn't happen if you just bury the memory; there's an enlightened moderate path between obsession and denial.

Self-reward. When your body is injured or ill, the doctor tells you to get plenty of rest, eat well, exercise gently to the extent your affliction permits, take vitamins and maybe some medicine. Likewise, the psyche needs some TLC when you've suffered a loss. Pamper yourself with entertainment, eat well, and exercise your boundaries and capacity for love gently.

Silent ridicule. "...imagine them in an absurd, ridiculous, humorous scene." The in-love perspective tends to minimize perception of the object's faults, and magnify their attractive qualities. Sometimes a little private pedestal-demolition is in order. If you can't avoid the person, having something to chuckle about can help you keep your cool in their presence.

Self-image exercises. In the state of boundary collapse that attends the in-love mindset, the pangs of rejection can be be particularly severe. Phillips recommends contemplation of the things you like about yourself (self-praise), thought-stopping any recurring self-criticism, practicing assertiveness (it's a learnable skill), and self-reward specifically when you recognize progress falling out of love.

Relaxation. One of the longest chapters of the book is Chapter 5, on Jealousy. It's a pretty universal experience, and its destructive, irrational nature makes it a stubborn clinical problem. Jealousy is contrary to love in ways, with elements of suspicion where love would suggest trust, and demand where love is giving. Phillips describes an approach akin to systematic desensitization in treatment of phobia: deep relaxation exercises challenged with increasingly jealousy-provoking thoughts and images.

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