Nail biting could be considered an unconscious reaction or pattern of behavior or could be identification with a family member. It is very hard to generalize about a specific symptom or behavior as they have meaning for an individual in a specific way. We do welcome your interest in our theories. Jeanie has offered you several ways to learn more about the theory but let me also add the website form our organization, which is: http://www.sfprg.org/. There you will learn that Control-Mastery is a contemporary theory of psychotherapy, which places adaptation to one's interpersonal world as a central organizing principle in the development of the individual. This theory draws upon research to generate an elegant and highly coherent explanation of how psychotherapy works. In doing so, Control-Mastery theory offers a framework that, even in the most difficult cases, often allows the therapist to make sense of the patient's behavior early in treatment.
At the root of the theory is the principle that people have an inherent wish to overcome their problems and to develop into healthy, productive adults. Childhood trauma is a particularly potent agent in creating grim, unconscious beliefs, which interfere with the achievement of these normal goals and become the basis for maladaptive behavior. Patients come into therapy with an unconscious plan to change these beliefs and to overcome maladaptive behavior. Patients test these beliefs in therapy, and the therapist works in accordance with the patient's unconscious plan to pass the patient's tests, and to help the patient move toward his or her goals.
The name Control-Mastery alludes to two defining aspects of the theory: "control" refers to the concept that the person, utilizing criteria of safety and danger to decide a course of action, exercises control of unconscious mental life; and "mastery" refers to the instinctive, unconscious desire to mastery psychological problems that interfere with the achievement of normal life goals.
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