Insight follows change more often than change follows insight. People need experience to change. Insight, as delivered in the psychological professions, usually is not accompanied with experience. Now, your interesting concept of "painful insight" sounds a bit more like what people ought to avoid altogether and maybe that is why they are changing when it is offered! What makes any professional think insight must be painful. If we frame the past in light of our current successes, then it is rarely painful. If we frame the past in light or a current failure or shortcoming it will 1) be painful and 2) not retrieve needed resources for empowerment and change. Perhaps you are seeing change *following* the insight of this kind...but try doing whatever you are doing *after* that insight *without* doing the insight phase and you may discover that subsequent change is the result of that (and not the preceding "painful" insight).
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