Ten Useful Assumptions

Adapted from an article by Robert Shaw in The Network Review.

  1. I have all the resources I need to handle my life.
  2. There is no intrinsic limit to my ability to deal constructively with the circumstances of life or to radically transform any or all aspects of my life/experience.
  3. Every moment carries the possibility of a radical restructuring/recontextualizing of life in the next moment.
  4. Nothing from the past necessarily controls present behavior. Shifts in behavior can take place from restructuring present ideas or from bringing into awareness the source of current behavior. In other words, nothing underlies the current situation but attitudes and thoughts which currently exist. It's not the past that controls us but how we think about the past right now.
  5. There is no necessary time interval for a restructuring to take place. It may take time, even a long time, but at each moment, restructuring of problems and points of view is a possibility in the next.
  6. "Symptoms" represent solutions to problems and serve to protect a person from some negative state (discovered or created//real or imagined) they are trying to avoid. Therefore, there is always some aspect of the total personality which supports the so-called 'symptom' until another solution can be found which can be maintained at a lower cost. Often the problem for which the 'symptom' is a solution can be restructured so as not to be an issue or to require any solution at all.
  7. There is no absolute causal relationship between any "complex" of thought/emotion/etc. and behavior. Things may be difficult or painful. Ultimately, it is personally empowering to assume responsibility for how we deal with circumstances.
  8. Habits and patterns of behavior are not "things". Personality and character may be considered as fluid reaction patterns from the past rather than fixed structures to be carried into the future. History is that which has happened. The future does not have to replay the past. The future is a possibility for action which will then form a new history.
  9. The current circumstances of an entity (whether individual, couple, family, social, planetary, etc.) including thoughts, feelings, actions, experiences, etc. are always presenting opportunities for breakthroughs into a creative self-expression that were not available before. In fact, current difficulties are a doorway to an expanded ability to create/discover futures.
  10. Each person is author of and responsible for an interpretation and reaction to his/her experience. In the words of Aldous Huxley, "experience is not what happens to you, but what you do with what happens to you."