How To Get "Unstuck"
By: Herb Williams / Gibbs Williams PH.D.
Human beings wish to maximize pleasure and minimize pain. Developmental psychology teaches that all
newborns start their lives desiring to get both what they want and when they want it without experiencing any delay
(frustration). This ideal state of perfection (perfect ease/pure pleasure) is experienced as bliss. The desire to
live a life of pure pleasure (dominating childhood awareness) is referred to as the pleasure principle.
Adults, like children, also want to live a life of pure pleasure. However, - internal and external limitations
being an inevitable fact of every person’s life - forces adults to make necessary compromises between striving to
fulfill the impossible fantasy of perfection versus accepting inevitable realistic limitations in order to live
relatively balanced lives.
The awareness of inevitable life limitations, experienced as painful ‘negative feelings’ and the need to cope with
them, is referred to as the reality principle.
Included on every person’s list of so called ‘negative’ feelings are: anxiety, depression, frustration, and
tension. Other so-called negative feelings are: not knowing, ambiguity, ambivalence, complexity, fear, shame and
A necessary requirement for a person to be able to maintain a relative sense of balance when threatened by internal
and or external limitations is the presence of a strong sense of personal identity (the psychological structure of
the self) and a strong ego (the voice of reason).
If a person lacks adequate psychological structures [ i.e. a solid self and a strong ego] they are vulnerable to
being overwhelmed by negative affects particularly those of frustration, anxiety, depression, and or tension
When life limitations are experienced as overwhelming one feels as if they are thrown off balance typically
referred to as a state of crisis. A person in crisis describes himself as feeling like a lost child wishing to be
rescued - literally taken by the hand by a secure supportive adult.
People in a state of crisis are most in need of someone who will actively come to their aide to help them restore
their lost sense of balance. This proactive process of helping people in crisis is referred to as crisis
By far the primary aim of nearly all of the conventional approaches in coping with crises has been their focus on
relieving the pain associated with symptoms. However, breakthrough findings of relatively recent research, and
practical experience, indicates that the most effective crisis intervention is that which addresses underlying
causes rather than simply focusing on symptom reduction.
The underlying cause of psychological crisis is essentially a negative attitude to those feelings experienced as
If this basic assumption is accurate it follows that the most effective crisis intervention will be focused on
shifting attitudes towards inevitable realistic limitations from negative to positive.
Attitude Shifting™ is dedicated to assisting stressed people get ‘Unstuck” by teaching them how to change their
attitudes enabling them to move in a positive and less stressful direction utilizing empathy, trust, and verbal
I’ve concluded that most of the self-help books and tapes are missing a crucial step…a step that you must take in
order to achieve the relief and controlled order you desperately seek.
People will read the latest book, listen to the most popular TV Guru, often pop the most recently advertised pill
endorsed by the pharmaceutical companies who make them (frequently with positive benefits).
You will try various methods offering ‘exercises’ designed to reduce the painful symptoms of stress, anxiety,
depression, and frustration, many of which result in notable relief. But in practically all cases the relief that
comes from symptom reduction is short lived. Underneath is a feeling of overwhelming ‘stuckness’ as the person
feels trapped in a state of ‘negative inertia.’ What’s happening?
My answer is: You are simply looking in the wrong direction for the answer to your concerns.
You believe that the surface issue (i.e. losing your job) is your primary problem whereas it is actually a symptom
of a deeper problem which is your negative attitudes towards the accompanying overwhelming emotional reactions to
your surface issue (i.e. feeling trapped - unable to act due to immobilizing panic anxiety).
To obtain long term mastery over the feelings of anxiety, depression, frustration, and stress you have to assume
the responsibility of addressing causes not symptoms by making a CHOICE to change your
"To obtain long term mastery over your feelings of anxiety, depression, frustration and
stress you have to assume the responsibility of addressing causes not symptoms. You must make a
CHOICE to CHANGE your ATTITUDE. To do so you must read this manual."
-- SG North Carolina