I find that underlying just about every personal problem is the violation of some basic principle. These principles are like the roots that support and feed a beautiful tree. When the roots are strong and unobstructed, the tree bears good fruit. When the tree is bearing some undesirable fruit, the problem and, therefore, the solution, is usually found in the roots.
Most everyone I see has a generally well developed, healthy root system. Among all the healthy roots, however, there are sometimes one or two roots which are undeveloped or obstructed by some barrier. I approach personal problem solving by identifying the roots that need strengthening and the barriers that need removing. Then, rather than hacking at the branches of a problem, we focus on the root of the problem--understanding and applying correcting principles.
The type of counseling I do is principle-centered and is referred to as cognitive-behavior therapy (CBT). I have identified eight principles that are central to solving personal problems. Although these are not intended to represent all principles that apply to solving personal problems, they are the ones I find most useful in overcoming depression, anxiety, intimacy problems and couples communication difficulties.
John R. Fishbein, Ph.D.
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