Not fully complete or edited, but a massive amount of useful information is included in this section.
I have a great deal of compassion for Barbara. (Compassion = Deep awareness of a human being's suffering coupled with the wish to relieve it.) She tries so hard, and struggles with beliefs that are not at all true but she believes so strongly in them, from beliefs about life in general to those about her. She is more knowledgeable than most, but has not yet "put it together". She has all the equipment needed, but she fails to complete her work, leaving it only partially done - and proving the adage: "What you do not complete, you are doomed to repeat." (See Living Based On "Continuous Paths, That We Continue Taking... - the formula for much, much more rapid gains, making a very significant difference in people's lives.)
This has become more of a psychological education and case study than a successful engagement in terms of having Barbara complete the work and get the results. She has completed some things and made some progress, so that she is now in the range of healthy thinking, but still having relapses and going back to being a "child". She recounts over and over her "explanation" of why she is the way she is, essentially getting herself stuck in her story, instead of creating the future she is capable of.
When engaging in coaching or counseling with anyone, I am reminded from Daniel Kahneman's book, Thinking, Fast And Slow: "You will from time to time meet a patient who shares a disturbing tale of multiple mistakes in his previous treatment. He has been seen by several clinicians, and all failed him. The patient can lucidly describe how his therapists misunderstood him, but he has quickly perceived that you are different. You...and are able to help... Do not even think of taking on this patient! Throw him out of the office! He is most likely a psychopath and you will not be able to help him."
Barbara is not a psychopath, but she is subject to some cognitive illusions (as, at times, we all are), yet she believes she is accurate - which keeps her stuck in her old beliefs! She keeps promising to see A Beautiful Mind, but never seems to do it.
She has promised that she will work hard at things. I have gone onward in faith, only to find out that she hasn't done anything, not even organized her Reminder's notebook, though I thought she had done it six months prior. After four years, she has not done it. I have started things for her (see the massive number of pages in this section) and she has completed perhaps two things (quick things). It is, of course, imperative that the coachee do most of the work, but that hasn't happened here. As for me, I still learn from this and some of that is being harvested for the (hoped for) benefit of others and I do want to see her reduce her suffering - and I do see some progress, and that is priceless...
She puts aside reading and accumulates pages off the site, finds new "white hopes" (which peter out in not being able to perform for her and/or where she doesn't follow through, and just "scans" things, as if she is too busy). She works very hard at self-improvement and coping things and says she is so busy she just can't fit in things, though she is retired. Apparently, just revealed, she has an online shopping addiction that thrills her at the thought of getting a bargain - and that can suck up alot of things. She refuses to let me actually see what her schedule is. I wrote The Coach And The Football Player, but all she got out of it was that I was no coach - and she didn't see what the main point of it all was!
She is always busy doing other things and finding new programs - and then not following through on them, dropping the advisors for not being effective enough. During the time we worked together her happiness coach of a year dropped her, she saw and dropped a couple of psychologists for various reasons and stopped seeing some breathing consultants and doctors (though she seems to have a good doctor right now).
She is trying to tamp down her anxiety, but she continues to do all those things that are the cause of the anxiety. I suggested that she seriously practice (and keep on doing forever) the pause and the time out tool, plus suggested practices for her to do. (See Barbara's Daily Practices Checklist.) It appears she is not doing those.
She has reverted back to being a helpless child at times. I have tried to work with her on that, but she keeps on reverting back to it. Interestingly enough, during hiatuses from our working together, she becomes more "at cause" over her life - and she makes more progress!
At this point, I am not sure if she will cooperate, though I am convinced that she has the ability to overcome her cognitive illusions, and, of course, she wants desperately to overcome the constant anxiety and stress - she is just lost as to what to do, though I cannot see how she could not profit from using the practices that I've screened out from all I've researched.
As far as my "stake" in all of this, I would 'prefer' to see her relieve her suffering, which she'll either do or not do, but I feel I can derive value that will help others to be happier, simply by having to deal with the complexities of thought and the traps that she has shared with me. She has been a noble fighter of dragons and has been willing to share her deepest thoughts (though there are a few things she insists on not revealing). I am a fan of hers and I support her in relieving her suffering and establishing a higher path to greater happiness.
I'm still working on stuff that I think will help...and we'll see. (Meanwhile, see the great results with other 'cases' on the Case Studies page.) Look over the writings available on the page: Contents/Links For The Barbara Section. You'll see a whole lot of things to learn from and get some insights. It'll tell you a whole story of an actual life situation. She has not followed through at all on the Positives Portfolio, which I believe is absolutely essential for her - and has refused to put things in writing, even when asked to only do as best she can for a few minutes, although I've explained why things should be in writing. She seems to want "tips" and "tools" and "insights" but not to endure the work. She adamantly sticks to the idea that she should be able to call and get by with only "talking it out", insisting that is what she wants and needs - and has reprimanded me for not being compassionate enough, although we had no agreement to that effect. She insists that I need to take more responsibility for the relationship problems and then projects thoughts onto me that I would never think - not good.... She is a good soul, who just will not cooperate on doing the work necessary, with virtually nothing produced physically in writing and no proof of her doing the work.
She has sought to exert control over others. pressuring them to meet her needs, getting angry and driving people away, in case after case She claims compassion, yet expressed anger at people not being compassionate with her, not realizing that is the antithesis of compassion.
She basically seems, at this point, to be uncoachable, though I've been happy to work with her, as it has helped my understanding and broadened my scope.
She is, no doubt, very capable and of good intelligence, so she could be successful in creating a new and happy attitude and way of living. She just needs to realize it - and I appear not to be the one who has gotten the message across to her. Perhaps, I hope, she will find someone who she finds compatible to work with and with whom she will cooperate and do the work.
This was what I had written prospectively, that I though would happen, but it has not, as yet, happened. Again, she has informed me that some of the stuff I write is useful but that I am just not effective with her.
Though it seemed at times that there was no progress and some regression, Barbara made some progress, and at this time has proactively set up a plan and some decisions that are smart and helpful. See Barbara's Plan. (Perhaps, she will do as the others did in creating their own success after some initial get togethers to solve "problems". See Case Studies.)
DESCRIBING BARBARA'S INITIAL THINKING
When Barbara started, she viewed life from a 90% negative bias. When she finished, she saw that life was, at the very least, 90% positive...as she quietly smiled through life and all the drama around her. Indeed, she become a mentor and an inspiring role model for wisdom and a sound, clear philosophy.
You will enjoy seeing her progress as she goes through the exercises and insights, and all over a relatively short time. Although everybody is different, you'll see that, overall, everybody is very simillar and that you can apply the same program to make your life like that of Barbara now.
She learned her childhood lessons well, as we all do from our caregivers and from our culture. And they were mostly the "wrong" lessons from a happiness point of view. Of course, she studied to overcome them and succeeded sometimes by overpowering them in a heroic struggle. But only when she looked at and fully understood why there was no truth in what she believed and also thoroughly understand why did the struggle cease and meld into easy victory, with no real battle left. The "untruths" were replaced by "what works" and by a strong, unshakable philosophical foundation of values and thoroughly learned and embraced beliefs.
Of course, some of you will say that Barbara had a head start, was exceptionally talented, and was lucky. But Barbara didn't see that. The lesson here is not about comparing oneself to others, usually unfavorably, but about the viewpoint and great understanding that underlies being happy about life regardless of the circumstances.
Follow her story as it progresses and you'll see what viewpoints she started with and how she struggled and then began gradually at first to put it all together. You can read this like a book. Link to the book Contents.
Although you'll want to go through and read her story and her initial struggle, you'll also want to see what she read and what was made available to her overall.