Changing the ABC’s of personality

“Therapist” and “the-rapist” are spelled exactly the same. So be careful if you search out a therapist, a teacher, or guide to help you.

Over the past 30 years, I have developed techniques to change the A.B.C.’s of personality. I have become aware that most therapies do not treat the three aspects of personality. At best, they deal with only two.

Most deal with only one. How many of you have heard “change the way you think, and the rest will follow; (or) change the way you feel and the rest will follow; (or) change your behavior and the rest will follow.”

The rest do not follow.

If we have three legs and all three were broken, we couldn’t move very far if only one leg were fixed. We’d feel better, but we would find out we could not and did not move very far, and it took a lot of pain and effort.

So many patients came to me saying “I know what is wrong, but I still don’t feel good.” Or, “there isn’t anything wrong in my life, but I’m not happy. Am I going through the seven-year itch? Is this the change that occurs in midlife? Do I want to make up for a poor adolescence? My friends tell me I’m crazy to want to change my life. I think what I need is a good kick in the ass, hit on the head or something real to worry about. Can you help me?”

Yes, I can.

I found that anything that has been programmed into the human mind… the A.B.C.’s of personality…can be programmed out.

Anything that has been conditioned in, can be conditioned out.

I have made a distinction between the “mind” and the “brain”.

The brain is like the computer hardware. It is organic. It is physical. I cannot change the brain. If it is defective see a neurologist or a neurosurgeon, or get pills from a psychiatrist.

But the mind is like computer software. It is programmed and reprogrammed.

I can help a person change his mind, pills cannot. They can reduce pain, but they do not change a person’s mind. I found that “therapy” is like “brain washing,” better still, brain “unleashing.”

The difference between therapy and brainwashing is for whom it is being done. Therapy is supposed to serve the best interest of the patient, whereas brainwashing is geared to serve the best interest of the authority, be it therapist, cult, or mommy and daddy.

“Therapist” and “the-rapist” are spelled exactly the same. So be careful if you search out a therapist, a teacher, or guide to help you. Be very careful of cults or cult-like therapies. There is a difference between being very enthusiastic about one’s therapy, and insisting that everyone one knows must go or one will no longer be his/her friend.

There is something wrong when someone becomes a “therapy junkie.” I feel sorry for the person who is able to find his greatest happiness only within the confines of a cult. They are missing one of the greatest pleasures, the freedom to explore the pleasures of the whole world. Make sure you know for whom the therapy is being done.


Written by Daniel Casriel, MD

Daniel Harold Casriel, M.D., born in New York City on March 1, 1924, was an American psychiatrist, psychoanalyst and writer. He was a past president of the American Society of Psychoanalytic Physicians. He founded the Daytop treatment centers. Casriel died on June 7, 1983 at the age of 59 from a form of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS). After graduation from the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine at age twenty-five, Casriel began his residency at the Kingsbridge Veterans' Administration Hospital. Less than a year into his residency, he was drafted and sent to Okinawa where he served as an Army psychiatrist. Beyond shaping the field of addictions treatment and psychotherapy, Casriel profoundly influenced the launch of relationship education. His intensive couples workshops for Lori Heyman Gordon's Family Relations Institute in Northern Virginia provided the framework for what emerged into the range of PAIRS' relationship education seminars and trainings that have touched millions of lives. Casriel popularized the theory that the "emotion of love" comes from the anticipation of pleasure. Based on Casriel's theory, "bonding," which he defined as "the unique combination of emotional openness and physical closeness with another human being," is central to sustaining healthy, intimate relationships. Casriel taught that symptoms of bonding deprivation include: "illness, fatigue, depression, rigidity, constriction, isolation, and the range of anti-social behaviors such as drug and alcohol abuse, gambling and sex addictions." Casriel considered bonding a biologically-based need similar to the need for food, water, air, and shelter, yet unique as the only biological need people cannot meet for themselves.

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