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Skills Summary


Pop quiz: You might like to try it before you read the book, and then try it after.
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Basic Information: Children discover before the age of 3 how to get their needs met. Those who discover that having control works become lions. Those who find that pleasing others is the solution become the 3 types of pleasers. Those in whom anger predominates may become golden retrievers, those in whom sadness is the favored emotion become beavers, and those whose habitual feeling is fear become otters.
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Systems Information: Systems theory says that the universe and life consist of systems, small and large, some interconnecting and some independent, and some of them smaller parts of larger systems. The general laws of all systems include organization, feedback, dynamic homeostasis, and circular causality.
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Bill of Rights: I have the rights to: be myself, be happy, set my own goals and priorities,be safe and take care of myself, stand up to abuse, not be blamed, change and grow, express my feelings, ask for what I want, say no and be treated with respect.
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Self Worth Skills: Base your self worth on something that doesn't change. Deliberately put positive thoughts into your monolog. Tag the toxic thoughts in your monolog, challenge them and replace them with the truth. Notice the ways in which you're acting as if you're inferior or unworthy, and stop doing those behaviors. Act as if you have self worth.
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Self Care Skills: Eat well, and make sure you get good sleep. Take 2 tablespoons of brewers yeast per day. Use continuous breath to clarify your thoughts and feelings, and to recharge your energy. Feel your feelings. Keep yourself and your environment clean. Remember that all things pass. Use problem solving skills. Use your spiritual resources, if you're a spiritual person. Talk to your friends, use your personal support system. Learn anger-management skills and stress-reduction skills if you need them.
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Progressive Relaxation: Lie down in your bed, relax, let the bed hold you up. "My feet are relaxing." Relax yourfeet, legs, hips, pelvis, low back, abdomen, upper back, chest, hands, forearms, upper arms, shoulders, neck, back of the head, top of the head, forehead, temples, eyes, nose, cheeks, upper jaw, lower jaw, thoat, and center of your head.
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Continuous Breath: Lie down on your back. Put a pillow under your knees. Breathe without pauses. Breathe for at least forty minutes.
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Going Into Trance: Lay down on your bed, face-up. Put a pillow under your knees. Relax your body. Repeat mentally,"I am sinking deeper and deeper into trance." Count backwards from 99. If your eyelids don't do it spontaneously, exert a slight pressure on your eyeballs with them. Go towards pleasure
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Self Introspection Skills: Get in touch with FEELINGS by asking yourself where in your body that feeling is centered. Use continuous breath. Fantasize that you're sitting inside your body. Give the feeling a voice and listen to what it has to say. Feel into the feeling. Get in touch with THOUGHTS by watching your thoughts, and with continuous breath. Get in touch with UNCONSCIOUS MOTIVATIONS by holding yourself back from doing it a bit, and seeing what happens. Get in touch with DREAMS by training yourself to pause a moment when you first wake up to remember any dreams. Keep a dream journal. Perhaps you have lucid dreams.
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Changing Myself: I change myself by changing my attitudes. I deliberately change the behaviors, and the attitudes follow. First I identify an attitude I want to change. Then I list the behaviors that are maintaining the attitude. Then I list the behaviors that would be maintaining the attitude I want to have. Then I refrain from the first list and do the second.
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Opening to Pain: Allow yourself to be with your discomfort. Feel the way in which your mind or body resist the pain. Stay with it... gently but firmly. Loosen the ring of resistance. Notice any fear. Let the painful thought or sensation float free. Keep letting go of any resistance....
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Letting Go: Observe thought itself. Let all images, thoughts and sensations arise and pass away without clinging. Just keep letting go of one thing after another.
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Friendliness Skills: I listen when someone talks. I empathise with them. I find common ground. I'm playful. I'm open and available, vulnerable, self-revealing.
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Nurturing Skills: Touching skills: The most important nurturing skill is touch. When an adult is sad or frightened, hold them as though they were a child. Hair stroking is soothing for almost everyone. The Verbal skills are: Not speaking more than you have to. Murmuring. Agreeing. Expressing sympathy. Active listening. Deferring debriefing. Encouraging feelings. Encouraging self worth. Praising. And later when it feels right, debriefing and problem solving.
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Communication Skills: Basic communication skills are listening, empathy, questioning and summarizing. Listening means paying attention. Attend to what the other person is saying. Check with empathy to see if you understand what they're saying. Paraphrase in your own words. Questions are for clarification and challenge. Summarizing conveys more than the facts. Attitude and feelings are summarized as well.
The formula for communication is: "I feel ______ because ______. I want ______. Are you willing to do that? What do you want?"
Advanced communication skills are: Making "I" rather than "you" statements, Being specific, Keeping it simple and clear, Doing one thing at a time, Describing feelings, Perception checking, Spaciousness, and Lightness.
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Assertiveness Skills: No criticism (blaming). No contempt (name-calling). No sarcasm. No threats. I avoid comparisons. I don't bring up the past. I keep agreements. I'm polite. I listen closely when it's my turn to listen. I check to see if I've heard correctly. I'm direct. I praise my loved one. And I accept compliments. I say what I feel as well as what I think. I apologize when I've hurt someone's feelings, and offer to make it up to them. Complaining is good. I ask for what I want. I say no to what I don't want. I stand up to abuse, by recognizing it, stopping it and asking for behavior change. I work for the win-win solution. I cultivate resilience, flexibility and adaptability.
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Self Defense Skills: We live in a world where one must stand up to abuse. There are two kinds of self defense: direct and indirect.

Direct self defense has 8 principles:

1) Recognize abuse when it's done to you.

2) Stop the abuse.

3) Label the abuse, once it's stopped, to the abuser.

4) Ask for behavior change.

5) Talk about process rather than content.

6) If at any point the abuser escalates, you can either match their escalation or call a time-out. What you're matching isn't bad behavior but intensity level.

7) Whenever you need to, take a time-out. "I'll check back with you in an hour."

8) If the abuser won't stop the abuse, walk away, and the relationship is ended.

Indirect self defense is only used when direct won't work. It has 4 principles:

1) Pretend to give in and go along.

2) Notice what the abuser's weaknesses are.

3) Expose the abuser publicly, in front of the people whose opinion he cares about.
4) Use your knowledge of the abuser's weaknesses to defend yourself.
Questions can serve all these functions in an efficient manner.
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Abuse and Defenses: There are 10 forms of abuse, and 10 defenses that don't work.
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One of them is Melodrama: Melodrama is unique, in being both a form of abuse and a defense. It's the hardest to use self defense skills against.melodrama.
People who are afraid of real feelings fill their lives with melodrama instead. Most melodramas are based on betrayal, and can be recognized by the moment of surprise, the switch.
The most classic melodrama goes like this: The Persecutor attacks the Victim, the Rescuer comes in to save the Victim, and the Persecutor and Victim join together and attack the Rescuer, who feels confused and betrayed.
But there are many melodramas. A good collection is "Games People Play," by Eric Berne.
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Anger Skills: Anger is always valid. Anger is self-reinforcing and self-escalating. Anger is usually a response to threat. The proper thing to do is use my warrior skills and defend myself. But it's not proper to use attack as a self defense tool. To express old stored anger, I write letters and let the anger go. I don't send the letters. I never show anger to anyone. There's no win in showing anger. When anger comes up, I don't act on impulse, and I don't do nothing. I excuse myself. I say, "I'm sorry, I'm starting to get angry, and so I need to take a time out." And I say when I'll check in, and I leave immediately. Once I'm gone, I use progressive relaxation to get back to being able to think clearly while I'm angry. I get in touch with my feelings and thoughts. I figure out what made me angry and find a way to look at it that doesn't make me angry. I identify what I want, and what I want to change. I come back, and we continue talking. We negotiate a win-win solution.
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Anger Styles: Anger avoidance. Sneaky anger. Paranoid anger. Sudden Anger. Shame-based anger. Deliberate anger. Addictive anger. Habitual anger. Moral anger. Hate. Healthy anger.
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Fighting Fair: People fight over trying to control each other. Avoid character assassination. Be proportional in your intensity. Keep it relevant. Keep it real. Remain task oriented. Take it private and keep it private. It's not whether you fight or not but how you end that counts. If you don't allow your partner to retreat with dignity, the relationship is in jeopardy. This is the #1 predictor of divorce, with 90% splitting up in less than 5 years.
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Warrior Skills: The Way of the Warrior is the way of stealth and deception. The Grandest Principle of Martial Arts is harmlessness. If someone attacks me, I shouldn't get hurt, and also they shouldn't get hurt. The Warrior's Challenge is overcoming self indulgence and self pity.

The 4 Qualities of a Warrior are: patience, sweetness, cunning and detachment.

The 7 Strategies of Stalking are:
1. Warriors choose their battleground.
2. A warrior discards everything that is unnecessary.
3. Any battle is a battle for one's life.
4. Relax, abandon yourself, fear nothing.
5. When faced with odds that can't be dealt with, warriors retreat for a moment.
6. Warriors compress time.
7. A warrior never pushes to the front.

Applying these principles means that warriors learn to laugh at themselves. If you're not afraid of being a fool, you can fool anyone. Warriors learn to have endless patience. Warriors are never in a hurry. They never fret. And warriors have an endless capacity to improvise.
Warriors know that they are waiting and know also what they are waiting for, and while they wait they feast their eyes on the world. The ultimate accomplishment of a warrior is joy.
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Negotiation Skills: Don't argue over positions. The classic mistakes are soft negotiation and hard negotiation. Soft negotiation is wanting to avoid conflict. Hard negotiation is seeing every disagreement as a contest of wills.

Principled negotiation means deciding issues on their merits rather than through a haggling process. A wise agreement meets the interests of both sides, resolves conflicts fairly, is durable, is amicable, and improves the relationship.

Separate the people from the problem.

Focus on the underlying interests rather than the positions.

Generate a variety of options before deciding on one. Look for the win-win solution.

Insist that the result be based on some objective criteria independent of the naked will of either side. Use some objective standard like market value, expert opinion, custom or law.
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Sample Agreements: Here are some agreements I've seen couples make in session. Click here

Problem Solving Skills: Tell the story of the difficult situation, to someone who responds with empathy but not advice. Advice won't help you. Answer their questions to clarify your experiences, behaviors, feelings and dilemmas. Describe what you want your situation to be. Describe what you've done in the past, and what you're doing now. Tell them which are the most important of the difficulties you have. Identify the underlying interest that needs to be met. Tell them what changes are needed to get from here to there. Tell them what you're willing to do. Come up with lots of possible courses of action. Evaluate these possible courses of action. Choose the best one and act on it. Give it some time (say, three weeks), and if it doesn't work, choose another and try that.
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Relationship Skills: I don't play Catch Me If You Can. I know my partner. I accept my partner. I express fondness and admiration. I turn toward rather than turning away. I complain rather than critcize. I remember that many problems are unsolveable. I ask for what I want. I accept my lack of control over other people. I recognise that it takes time and consistency to build or rebuild trust. I agree with criticisms when they're right. I own my mistakes, rather than labeling others. I don't win. I negotiate for mutual interests.
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Sex Information: Here's some background information about sex. Click here

Orgasmic Trance: Here's some background information about ecstatic trance.Click here

Sex Skills: Many of the sex skills are common to both men and women: tenderness, sensitivity, making love in a spirit of giving, playfulness, openness, vulnerability, the ability to go into trance.... For many women talking is more intimate than sex.

SEX SKILLS THAT ARE DIFFERENT:

FOR WOMEN: The primary sex skill that's unique to women seems to be learning to have better and better orgasms. Part of that is learning to go into ecstatic trance.

FOR MEN: The primary sex skill unique to men seems to be delaying orgasm until his partner has had all the orgasms desired. For 25% of men, this isn't difficult, as they don't come every time they have intercourse anyway. The other 75%, who do come every time, may have to learn how to delay.

A man can learn to feel his partner's orgasms in his own body, and follow a partner into ecstatic trance.

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Love Skills 1: There's only one love skill, and that's to love. What does love mean? It means to treat someone well under any circumstances. How do I know if someone loves me? To them, I have no faults. I only have some cute foibles and quirks.

There's only one way love can fail, and that's to contract away from the relationship. Love doesn't fail for me when someone stops loving me or treats me badly. It fails when I give up on the relationship and withdraw.

The way to stop the fear contraction is to stop taking humiliation and abandonment as insults and instead take them as wounds.

How can I do this? By effort of will, by summarily replacing the woundedness of my heart with love. Love cares about the other person, even if and while they're hurting me. I can replace habits of rejection and panicky recoil into isolation with habits of being willing to be seen in pain and helplessness and suffering. What if you could respond to a loved one's upset with soothing instead of anger?

The same principle of taking things as wounds rather than insults applies to the rest of the world.

If there's a throbbing wound in my ego, one that makes me vulnerable to feeling insulted by misfortune, I need to find and heal it. Healing comes from within. One becomes more loving by determination to do so. To stay in love even when it hurts is life's greatest challenge.
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Love Skills 2: Some people always complain, "You do not love me." This complaint is a self-image, the heart-sick and self-pitying and precious idea that "I" am rejected.

Fear IS the self contraction. All of fear, self-contraction and un-love is only suffering. Fear can be transcended only if it is summarily replaced by love.

If you will be love, you must constantly encounter, understand and transcend the rejections of others. You must skillfully transcend the tendency to become un-love.

Rejection by others is received and accepted as a wound, not an insult. The necessity to love and be loved is a wound.

The practice of love requires vulnerability, sensitivity to the other and love itself.

It is not necessary or even possible to become immune to the feeling of being rejected. You would have to become immune to love itself. What is necessary and also possible is to love. Not only are you loved, but you are love itself.

Love does not fail for you when you are rejected or betrayed or apparently not loved. Love fails for you when you reject, betray and do not love. Don't stand off from relationship. Be vulnerable. Be wounded when necessary, and endure that wound. Don't punish the other. Communicate to one another, even discipline one another, but don't dissociate from one another. Realize that each one wants to love and be loved. Therefore, love.

If you remain vulnerable in love, you will still feel love's wound, but you will remain in love.

Those who love ARE love, and others inevitably love them. Those who seek love aren't love, and so they can't find it. Only the lover is lovable.
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Grieving Skills: Elizabeth Kubler-Ross discovered what's often called the grief cycle. A more general name might be the assimilation cycle, since even good changes are a stress, and are metabolized with a series of feelings, though not necessarily in the following order or one at a time.

These feelings are shock and disbelief and numbness at first, usually.

Later they're likely to include anger and protesting at one's situation, anger at oneself, bargaining, sadness, fear, and yearning. One is likely to go through these feelings more than once.

One skill lies in accepting your own feelings and feeling them.

Another lies in learning the lessons the emotions bring up.

Others include not taking it out on the people around you, reaching out for support, getting enough solitude, doing some breathing, and letting time go by.

In the end, one reaches acceptance and a return to your natural level of happiness.
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Resilience Skills: If you can be cheerful and relaxed while you're losing everything, you've attained resilience.
Part of resilience is taking things less personally, letting go of personal importance.

Resilience is the opposite of self-pity, of being fussy. Are you adaptable, autonomous, cheerful and capable even when things go terribly wrong? Are you relaxed under pressure? Do you accept the nature of life while remaining active and creative? Are you hopeful even when you're losing everything? And without taking your stress out on those around you?

I can work to overcome self-pity. The way to do it is to develop the positive qualitites of detachment, sweetness, cleverness and patience. It helps to use death as an advisor, to abandon remorse and desperation, to live sparingly, and to disrupt the heavy routines of life in order to become free, fluid and unpredictable. Life is better when one is able to laugh, be patient, improvise, be creative, be joyful, and even be capable of that most wonderful of arts: controlled folly.
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Acceptance Skills: The goal is to accept all of life, as it is. Acceptance isn't easy, and it isn't passive.

Acceptance skills include tolerance, non-judgementalness, non-authoritarianism, forgiveness, treating all people as equal in value, letting go, feeling feelings, maintaining hope, nondefensiveness, opening to pain, and non-blaming.

The point of acceptance is having inner peace. It's possible to go through life cheerfully and happily.

There isn't anything in life that can't be accepted. I believe people are indominatable, and eventually they recover and grow through everything.


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