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Sample interview questions for Dr. Marion Jacobs, author of Take-Charge Living
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1. What is the inspiration for the book?
I've always been interested in what some have called "giving psychology away." After many years as an educator, researcher and clinician, certain strong themes emerged for me about the nature of personal change. I've tried to package these ideas in a usable way, on a practical, self-help basis.
2. What's unique about the book compared to other self-help books?
Several things. First, it addresses how to manage the negative resistance that inevitably arises when we try to change - most books don't even mention that problem. Second, it draws on some of the latest neuroscience research to explain how behavior is driven by influences outside of our awareness and how to get in touch with those forces and harness them towards positive change. And third, the book provides a realistic, usable and supportive step-by-step program for personal change.
3. Since you are a therapist with a clinical practice, as well as a UCLA professor, why did you write a book saying people can change on their own?
We make most of our changes on our own, without therapy. With the right guidance, people have so much power to change themselves and improve their lives. That's why packaging the knowledge and techniques we use in psychotherapy, and putting them in the hands of the lay public, has always been my professional passion.
4. What kind of problems can Take-Charge Living help with?
Most any personal pattern in how you do things that you would like to change. Would you like to end a bad relationship? Communicate more effectively? Be more assertive? Control your anger? Take better care of your body? These and many other personal problems can be helped with the Take-Charge Living program.
5. Can people really change?
Absolutely. In fact, change is inevitable and ongoing. You're not exactly the same person you were five or 10 years ago, or even last week. What this book teaches you is how to be in charge of those changes instead of letting other people and external forces run your life for you.
6. Why should I have to change when somebody else is causing my problem?
The only person whose life you have any real control over is your own. If somebody else is causing you a problem, the question Take-Charge Living addresses is: What do you need to do to deal more effectively with that problem?
7. I've tried to change but failed. Does that mean it's my personality to be this way?
Definitely not. Most probably you didn't know how to go about changing and didn't have a plan and a roadmap to guide you. Take-Charge Living is a step-by-step program so you'll know exactly what you need to do and get lots of encouragement for doing it.
8. Isn't insight into your problems enough to create change?
I wish it were, but it isn't. Insight into the cause of your problem and what holds you back from changing is a good first step. But it is only the beginning of the change process. Transforming something about how you do things requires two more things - a carefully worked out plan of action, and lots of practice.
9. What is the biggest obstacle to people changing?
People often want to feel ready before they try to change. Unfortunately, that's not how it works. You have to change your behavior first, whether you feel like it or not. Your feelings will change afterwards. Take-Charge Living shows you how to make it happen.
10. How long does it to take to change an old behavior pattern?
That is entirely up to you. Successful change depends upon lots of practice, giving yourself feedback and fine-tuning your new behavior. The more time you put in practicing, the quicker you will see results.
11. What if some people don't want me to change?
That's a common problem. If you change your ways, it may inconvenience or annoy someone who wants you to remain stuck in your old way of doing things. When that happens, it's helpful to get support from people who like the changes you're trying to make. The book also gives techniques for dealing with people who try to block you from changing.
12. Is there a secret to successfully changing yourself?
Several things make for success. Understanding how change works - so you have realistic expectations - is one. Developing the right plan of action is another. Finally, there is rehearsing the desired behavior and fine-tuning your performance until you've gotten it where you want it to be.