(Spring, 1953)


About ninety-five percent of the quality of the emotion in the body is felt just from the neck to the top of the head. Some inferences are obvious. When you get a feeling, how do you feel it? Do you use your face to feel with? Do you reach and/or have a conclusion with your face?

Now, let me ask you: have you ever seen people walking around the street who reminded you of "Protestants"? Who have a determinedness about them? Who combine childish simplicity with determination? This ability to perform with the face, with the muscles of the face, is tantamount to their saying, "Iíve got faith." This musculature is a reminder to them of their faith. Such a fixed configuration will determine so-called thoughts or conclusions regarding the environment.

Conclusions are often reached by use of the facial muscles. Opinions are in the facial muscles. Now, here is an experiment designed to help you relax your thoughts and your emotions through the use of your facial muscles:

Begin to feel the individual contours of your face. Then, with the utmost amount of attention, without changing the contours of your face, scan the contours of your face. Become aware of the topography of your skin, of the way it folds. Become aware of the type and quality of sensation, the temperature, and the pressure. Scan the terrain. Now just scrooch up the muscles in your face a little bit. Make it go all awry. Deliberately contort it. Do this dynamically - just let it flow. Now, as you do this, notice the feeling of emotion that fits, that combines with it here. Notice how the thoughts combine with it.

See if you can do this: wiggle your ears. Now wiggle your forehead. See if you can make your scalp drag back and forth. Wiggle your nose a little bit, and let your cheeks move with it. Sort of curl your lips, curl them back as though you were snarling. Now curl first one side and then the other.

Next, I want you to practise emotion. Practise the emotion of complete apathy with your face. Once having done this, I challenge you to feel apathy without using your face in just this way. Deliberately smile now, and notice the tensions. Next, smile through your hands, and consider what you feel inside yourself. Then completely remove the smile from your face and feel it in your hands - only.

Let me make a statement like this: to be a whole human being is just that. A whole human being has many parts - face, hands, body; but most important of all is the ability to control these parts.

You notice, for instance, that the being is designed to co-ordinate and control the functioning of the body. Disturbances of the control can be created functionally because we are endowed with the necessity of keeping our bodies intact when faced with emergency situations. We are further endowed with the ability to render ourselves functionless, because if we did not have this ability we would have been destroyed.

Here is an experiment designed to increase the co-ordination and control of the total being: Next time you find yourself in the grip of an emotion, face yourself in a mirror and deliberately characterize the next higher emotion. Once having done this, go on to the next higher emotion, and so on, until you are parodying exhilaration. Having reached this point on the emotional scale, return and characterize the emotion that you felt on starting the experiment.

Once you have totally broken your set emotional/facial configurations, you will have fluid, self-determined emotion.


Let me give you a technique which I would say is the best one for helping yourself, with or without a therapist. It is the B-A-M; Belief, Attitude, Motivation Technique.

Take some point of direct physical experience. This direct physical experience is a thing: it is a set of points, a set of contacts with the environment and with yourself. This happened to you. Now, take this experience and tell someone about it. You will inevitably color the experience somewhat, just a little bit.

The coloration of the experience is what you believe about it. Your effort to maintain the coloration is your attitude toward your belief. Your value of self-esteem, which you derive from the maintenance of this attitude and the production of this belief, this is your motivation. Once again - the coloration of oneís experiences: this is belief. Investment of effort into the coloration: this is the attitude. Value obtained from the production of the belief, and the maintenance of the attitude: this is motivation, or the reason for the value, which should be construed as motivation.

One takes the conclusion one draws from their B-A-M, treats it as a belief, and begins to knock it further and further down, using, once more, belief, attitude, motivation, again and again and again. Until finally you have arrived at a conclusion which is absolutely basic to you - a solution that is satisfactory, be it positive or negative.

This can be construed to be a satisfaction - of food, of drink, of shelter, of love, of prestige, or of self-esteem. The ability to construct, to create, to expound, to compose, to communicate. One must feel that he is accepted. One must feel that he can perform, and the performance must be acceptable. Oneís ability to produce his performances must be allowed.

One must be satisfied in rest, in sex, in love, in prestige. The basic bedrock, the dynamics, the basis of these, must be satisfied, and until you have gotten down to this bedrock of personality - the psyche - you havenít completely resolved all the ideas and motivations. All motivations stem from the dynamics essentially, and on that basis, from the psyche.

If you can take a single conclusion derived from belief, attitude, motivation, and trace it completely down to the bedrock of human survival, you will blow out about one tenth of your case. If you take a single aberration that you have, back to the time when you were hungry, thirsty, tired, needed love, prestige, or performance, and really take it back there, know exactly what you are doing, feel it again, know exactly how it influenced you, I guarantee that at least one tenth of your case will go down the drain.

Most aberrations are based on a lack of love, a good majority of them. Some are based on a need more basic than that: the necessity for rest, the necessity for a surcease from anxiety and tension, or based on hunger, thirst, necessity for proximity with other person, reassurance and, again, prestige. When the technique is properly utilized, one does not necessarily deal with the incident, or a chain of incidents. One only deals with their effect on himself.

Letís start from scratch on the time track. The time track we define as being the location, chronologically, of a lot of experience, regardless of depth or quality of contact. The experience itself, from the standpoint of recall, may not be on this track, but it leaves a contact with the track. B-A-M technique picks up the contact, not necessarily the experience. The contact is the effect on the individual, what it does to him. The B-A-M technique picks up this effect. Again, it is not necessary to pick up the incident, as such. This is a little bit faster, for one thing.

Considered theoretically, from the standpoint of technique, one could have every incident off the track. In doing so, one would necessarily, by definition, leave the effect of the incident on the track. To do so would have the same result. The effect wouldnít change. It is just that now you no longer have the incident to contact. But you do contact its effect.

Somewhere within the incident syndrome lies the effect of the incident. Somewhere, either before it or behind it or in it, lies the effect of the incident, and its effect on you. What you do with the B-A-M technique is to disregard the incident and merely work with its effect. To do so is faster and more efficient.

Now, starting out again with the basics: belief can be defined as the color or the falsity one is willing to invest in an experience. This implies that one knows what happened, and one knows how one has colored it. This is always done by the normal individual with normal I.Q. and normal memory span. Attitude is the amount of effort one is willing to invest in the coloration, be it negative or positive, be it against one man or a thousand men, against past experience, against control centers, against whatever it might be. The amount of effort, for or against.

And finally, motivation: this is the value that one has in producing the belief and perpetuating the attitude. Motivation is the most complex phenomenon of all. It is based upon what is known classically as ego satisfaction; not quite so classically as self-esteem. Now, self-esteem is basically the heart and core of any therapy. If one did not have self-esteem, one could not become aberrated.

Self-esteem, in this case, is self-determinism, if you want to put it this way. By any name, it is still something we have. Apparently, the rules of the game say that self-esteem must be maintained at a certain level. If it is not, something happens to us. We have self-regulation mechanisms that restore self-esteem to that certain level. This is a law, as far as we are concerned. This is the way in which we function Optimum or not, we still function this way.

This, then, indicates that if one can discover why we are engaged in restoring the lost balance of self-esteem or, more scientifically stated, the mechanisms used, we would discover a great deal. Part of the laws governing this we call belief, attitude, and motivation. They definitely play an important part. Now this was recognized a long time ago. In 1946, in a book by Richards, the laws governing self-esteem were called capacity, control, and motivation. The capacity, control, motivation triangle was first developed about 1910. It was developed in a more scientific manner, structurally, in 1945-46 by Richards. He begins by explaining it this way: capacity is the maximum potential of which you are capable. No one, to his knowledge, including himself, ever used maximum capacity except in moments of extreme stress.

Control is the way in which we modify our capacity. Motivation is why we modify our capacity. He felt that in control, one could say primitive aggressive principles clashed head-on with the requirements and mores of society. The solution of the conflict is control. The type of control, its topography, its structure, is the solution. An inadequate solution to these conflicts produces an inadequate personality.

He defined a certain number of types of control. Over-control, suppression: the heavy introvert, who canít talk, canít think, canít feel - the occluded case. Under-control, too expressive: talks all the time, childish in some respects, easily hurt, retaliates rapidly. In some cases very covert, very hostile; in other cases, extremely affectionate, overdoing it. And finally, the type that misses the target almost entirely. They neither under-express or over-express, but mis-express. They will usually attempt to solve their problems with an organ, such as the skin, kidney, liver, heart, brain. A psychosomatic manifestation is an inadequate solution to the conflict. But mis-expression is a solution. It has many inner:outer, right-hand:left-hand feedback principles, but still, it works. Using an organ as a target manages to produce a system of control which does work, so long as it is accepted by the doctors, and by people, and by the individual himself.

Now, these ideas of control, fixed types, mis-control, express the whole constellation of the human behavior which we ordinarily know. All these things boil down to one prime factor: self-esteem, or ego satisfaction. What a man does, the things that bring him pleasure, are the things he thinks will bring him pleasure. And, because he is of similar structure, these things will tend to be the same from one to another, will tend toward similarity.

Now, what is self-esteem? Break it down into the English words: self and esteem. Self: what is the self? I think the best definition is to be found in the Gestalt theory: the self is the sum total of contact, here and now. That is the self.

How does this work, mechanically? Take a body: five minutes after a body has ceased to breathe, or ceased to be, it is no longer a human being, just a piece of mechanical apparatus. If taken apart, we must be put together again very quickly. Otherwise, we deteriorate beyond resemblance to humanity, beyond the fact that we virtually maintain ourselves as a self-perpetuating entity. This has profound implications. We can be disassembled partially, but only partially, and only for a very short duration. This is very interesting. We are composed of separate parts. Harmoniously functioning as a whole, we are human. Disassembled, we are not human. Disassembled, we are just so much goods.

Back to self-esteem. One might say that self-esteem is the necessity for maintaining integrity, physically and psychically. But this is not a thing, this is a process. One must maintain such a process so that one can function at a maximum of activity, of outgo, of growth, from one point to the next point. This is self-esteem. It is the process of maintaining the potential of moving at a maximum rate, an optimum rate. It is not a thing then, it is a function.

Notice one very important thing about people, contemporary-wise. We change our mood from day to day. We change our kinds of thought from day to day. We change our motivation from day to day. We change ourselves from day to day. We never stay the same. So we can chalk up one absolute datum: we change. If we do not, we die. Now chalk up a second one: we investigate. We are curious, always.

And another: we apparently must maintain a certain in-go:out-go balance. I am speaking of both the physical and the mental. Go back to the idea of motivation, capacity, control. The control is, in essence, this third idea that we must maintain a balance between in-go and out-go. The person who has achieved this has achieved a balance that is satisfactory to him: overcontrol that is satisfactory to him, undercontrol that is satisfactory to him, or miscontrol that is satisfactory to him.

The control itself has to be in motion. It must be something which is dynamic. It must be manifested against a background. For example, in art, when you take a certain object and change the background, you automatically change the object. Yet you do not touch the object whatsoever. If we define ourselves against a certain background, we are a certain thing with reference to that background. Define ourselves against another, against a new reality, and we change that aspect.

It follows that we are partially referent and partially label. This leads to another law, one of the most important: we have the capacity for being both referent and label. Now, which of these two shall we exploit? And why? In therapy you must exploit the very fine idea of referent. In society, label, but without losing your capacity for being a referent.

Now, self-esteem. Identify that as a referent. Inherently, constitutionally, what we are as referent we are as self-esteem. Now this implies that we can change our necessity for self-esteem. If this were not so, one could not change or improve oneself. But one does. This way one can become a mature adult, or remain a child, staying at some particular stage which had proved to be the most gratifying. How does all this help you in therapy? Therapy gives you a better orientation toward your change of background. New orientation, education - the learning process is taking place.

One of the thing one must do with the B-A-M technique is to be able to expound the problem in oneís own terms, terms that have been fully assimilated and have been fully understood. Otherwise, it is not successful. One must be free to say, "I did this because - so and so," and, as one says "so and so" one says it as one knows it to be true. Not because one has accepted and is parroting the words. Parroting is no good. Rote is no good. There must be actual assimilation of motivation and its understanding and so forth.


In present time, when direct contact occurs, an individual immediately scans past experiences, evaluates the present time situation, and establishes a belief? Yes.

From this point, he then adopts an attitude which contains all his previous agreements on this particular belief? Yes.

The motivation, his instincts and need for self-esteem, etcetera, bring in the power, so to speak, and this is how the individual exists until the next moment of contact? Check.

How does it work backwards? Can you enter this technique at any point with a belief, an attitude, or a motivation? Yes.

At this point you will probably be getting incidents. What do you do with all the incidents?

You donít. This is why it is so much quicker. You donít have to run incidents anymore unless you want to, so long as you contact the full effect of the incident.

So, I find out what the reason for sell-esteem was at this moment, and I re-evaluate the contact. Is this my aim in the B-A-M -- to re-evaluate the contact?

Yes. Understand this. Change the background now. You are looking for the effects of the incident. If the incident is on the track, and the effect is not too well known, shove the incident aside until the effect is fully known. Then work on the incident. You need not deal with an incident in the B-A-M technique unless you want to. If you wish to, then you fully exhaust the incident, so that you know what you believe about it, your attitude toward the belief, and so on.

Suppose now that the individual has the data and recognizes the original need. What then?

He can do either of two things. He can take the original incident, as such, and re-evaluate its content - know what happened as a physical experience, period. Or he can adopt a new belief, attitude, and motivation. Or he can merely adapt a new attitude and a new belief toward the old motivation. This would mean that he merely changes his efforts to produce the effects desired. Let me say again that if you can take a single conclusion derived from belief, attitude, and motivation and trace it down to the bedrock of human survival, you will knock out about one tenth of your case, just like that.


The "I accuse" technique is extremely simple and effective in orienting the individual to his present time difficulties. It gives the therapist rapid insight into the self-honesty of his client, as well as to the individualís method of social control - overcontrol, undercontrol, or miscontrol.

The individual starts by saying, "I accuse myself of xxxxx," and continues with as many variations as occur to him. It is interesting to note that in the beginning most individuals will make negative accusations of self. Seldom will you find one who will accuse himself of lying, deliberately harming other, or a positive act of destruction.

Accusatory materials can then be used with the belief, attitude, motivation technique.


First, take a word, any word. Repeat it over and over until it has become a meaningless noise. Then continue repetition until it again has some meaning. Words are noises. Their meaning is derived from what is communicated about, and not from one's own stimulus-response to the words. This technique seems unduly simple, but it will produce surprising results.

Second, when the individual has achieved some insight into himself and how he functions, the technique can be extended. Take any word and repeat it aloud until it has no meaning for you. Then, for as long as you are able, extend the length of time during which the word is meaningless. Then establish a referent - a real object or action - for the word and, as you do so, notice how you do this.

After doing this exercise a number of times, attempt to use the method, which you have discovered for yourself, of giving a referent to words in a present-time social situation. When you can do this effectively, you will have raised your I.Q. at least twenty points, and possibly a good deal more.

The object of this exercise is not the exhaustion of possibilities and connections contained in an object whose name you use in the experiment. It goes beyond that. It is intended to lift the limitations you have placed upon your contact with, and your use of, objects and ideas by having labelled them. It is intended to restore your ability for spontaneous and novel relationships with object and ideas, with referents.

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