written by Ron Kurtz
(creator of the method, who passed away in 2010)
Most of our actions and thoughts are habitual. That is, they are not planned or deliberate. We may have some goal in mind, such as driving to work. Once we start, our habits will do more than 90% of what it takes to get there. And while we’re driving, we can be listening to music, talking on a cell phone, or just having a long conversation in our minds with someone, either rehearsing what are going to say, or redoing something we did or did not say yesterday. When you think about all the things we do without thinking or planning, you may as well wonder who, if anyone, is in charge!
Let’s take some especially important habits, the ones that strongly influence the choices we make. These habits involve beliefs (habitual thoughts) and convictions, which are thoughts that have strong feelings associated with them. We all have convictions about who we are and what we can expect from people, life and ourselves. We all have deep beliefs about what’s real and valuable. We act these out habitually, without questioning them or even knowing what they are.
Most of these habits were learned the same way we learned to speak within the language and grammar of our native tongue: we did it by imitation and through interacting with others. We established these habits without using critical thought to examine them. We tried things out and kept what worked, long before we had the maturity to understand what we were doing. Some of these habits are not useful anymore. Our situations have changed radically. We’re not the children who once needed them. Still, the habits persist. Habits this deep are really our way of being in the world. That in turn strongly influences the kind of world we create around ourselves. Aristotle said, “You are what you repeatedly do.”
As clients, to change some of these old, deep habits, we first need to know what they are. We need to examine them and understand them. Then we need to try something different. All of that requires real courage, intelligent support and an emotionally safe setting. The practitioner create a calm, caring relationship in which we do the work we have to do; he helps us understand who we are at those deep levels; he provides a way to initiate new actions which are based on more realistic beliefs and lead to more nourishing experiences. That’s what this method is designed to do.