A THERAPIST ONCE TOLD ME he had a client,
Dirck, who's wife didn't feel loved. The therapist helped Dirck
find out what his wife needed to feel loved. She craved physical
demonstration: Hugs, touches, kisses, holding hands. That was
something that really got through to her and meant the most to
her. Dirck had been simply telling her how much he loved
her without doing much physical demonstration. So although she
knew intellectually Dirck loved her, she didn't feel loved.
The therapist helped Dirck learn to demonstrate
his love physically. Dirck returned a week later to say,
"It worked!" His wife felt loved!
Six months later, Dirck was back. His wife
didn't feel loved any more. The therapy apparently hadn't succeeded
like he thought.
With some careful questions, the therapist
found out Dirck had stopped doing what he was doing before and
was merely professing his love with words again!
As stupid as that sounds, you will have
to be careful to avoid making the same mistake. When things are
going fine, you will tend to take your attention off the problem,
which is good. But if you stop doing the things that help manage
your anxiety, it will creep back into your life, and one day
you'll realize you've relapsed, and you may even throw up your
hands in despair because "Apparently this stuff doesn't
work as well as I thought it did."
Well guess what? It works just fine. But
the knowledge doesn't do anything. You have to take
the steps if you want to reap the benefits. The only thing
that makes this difficult is: It's hard to notice the absence
of a negative condition (except immediately after it goes
away). That's just a fact of life. And it causes relapses and
backsliding. But it is really no big deal. Just remember what
works. And when it seems you've relapsed, start doing again what
When you relapse, go back to
doing what works.