My Tremendous Issues with Byron Katie's "The Work"

Byron Katie 2
Byron Katie, author of The Work

There's this thing called "The Work" written by a woman named Byron Katie that has gained traction in the world in general and more recently among my social circles, with people talking about how much they love the book, and others giving classes in it, trying to teach it to others.

The basis of her teachings is this epiphany she had:
"I discovered that when I believed my thoughts, I suffered, but that when I didn't believe them, I didn't suffer, and that this is true for every human being. Freedom is as simple as that. I found that suffering is optional. I found a joy within me that has never disappeared, not for a single moment."
She calls this process of her epiphany, "The Work".
"Katie's experience, as described in her book Loving What Is, is that all suffering is caused by believing our stressful thoughts. This, she says, puts people into painful positions that lead to suffering, as she recognized to be the case with herself. Through self-questioning, she describes how a different, less-known capacity of the mind can end this suffering."

As someone who talks about mental health and therapy a lot, you'd probably think that I'd be a big proponent of this. Why not promote something that increases your mental well being?

And you know what? On the surface, it actually sounds like a good idea. CBT therapy talks a lot about cognitive distortions, lies we tell ourselves. There are 15 main examples of cognitive distortions regularly used. Examples include:
  • Filtering
  • Black and white thinking
  • Overgeneralization
  • Jumping to conclusions
  • Catastrophizing
  • Personalization
  • Control fallacies
  • Fallacies of fairness
  • Blaming
  • Shoulds
  • Emotional reasoning
  • Fallacy of change
  • Global labeling
  • Always being right
  • Heaven's reward fallacy
Some of these are pretty straight forward and understandable, but others need explanation. See more here for explanations about each of these. 

One of the things done in CBT is that when you have a thought that is hurtful to you or otherwise causing you pain, you examine it to see if it is one of these cognitive distortions, and if it is, you work on seeing how accurate the situation is.

I strongly believe in this, and I just bought myself a children's book that teaches these CBT skills among others in a child friendly way.

So that seems similar to what "The Work" is talking about, no? Our thoughts make our life worse, so lets get rid of these negative thoughts and improve our life, no?

But nope. I am not a fan of "The Work".  At all. 

Because I think it's dangerous. Really dangerous. And can be used badly in the wrong hands. And I see that happening regularly.

Before I talk about my issue with it, why don't we go to the site for The Work and see the steps described there.

The work has a few steps, each with a few parts.  I am going to copy and paste from the site so no one thinks I'm misconstruing any words or didn't understand things properly.

First step in The Work, you notice things that are bother you.

Then you: 
Capture your stressful thoughts on a Judge-Your-Neighbor Worksheet using short, simple sentences.
Staying anchored in the situation, at a specific moment in time, write down your responses to the questions on the Worksheet, using short, simple sentences. Write without censoring yourself. Allow yourself to be as judgmental, childish, and petty as you were in that moment. This is an opportunity to discover the cause of your stress and emotions in that moment.

Then question.

Isolate one thought. Ask the four questions. Allow the genuine answers to arise.
To begin, isolate a statement for inquiry. Now apply the four questions. Begin by repeating the original statement, then ask yourself each question. This Work is a meditation practice. It’s like diving into yourself. Contemplate the questions, one at a time. Drop down into the depths of yourself, listen, and wait. The answer will meet your question.

Here are the 4 questions, which are considered to be the basis of "The Work".

Question 1: Is it true?The answer to the first two questions is just one syllable: either yes or no. Be still and find your honest yes or no as it arises to meet the question. If your answer shows up as a yes, move to question 2. If it’s no, then experience that no for a moment and then move to question 3.
Question 2: Can you absolutely know it's true?If your answer to question 1 is yes, ask yourself: “Can I absolutely know that it’s true?” Take this opportunity to look again. Shine the flashlight on that moment in time again, and see what reveals itself to you.
Question 3: How do you react—what happens—when you believe that thought?With this question, you begin to notice internal cause and effect. You can see that when you believe the thought, there is a disturbance that can range from mild discomfort to fear or panic. What do you feel? How do you treat the person (or the situation) you've written about, how do you treat yourself, when you believe that thought? Make a list, and be specific. (This is from Oprah's website's write up on The Work.)Close your eyes and witness the feelings, body sensations, and behaviors that arise when you believe that thought. Notice and report the answers to any of the following:
What images do you see, past or future, and what emotions or physical sensations arise as you witness those images?
How did you treat the other person?
How did you treat yourself?
Do any obsessions or addictions begin to appear when you believe that thought?
(This is from the site of The Work.)
Question 4: Who would you be without the thought?Closing your eyes, return to the situation. Take a moment to reflect, observe, and experience the situation again, this time without the thought. Who or what you would be without the thought? How would you see or feel about the other person? Drop all of your judgments. Notice what is revealed.

Then the "big part" of the work, the part that is supposed to be the most life changing, is the "turn around".
Turn the thought around:The "turnaround" gives you an opportunity to experience the opposite of what you believe. Once you have found one or more turnarounds to your original statement, you are invited to find at least three specific, genuine examples of how each turnaround is true in your life. (This is also from Oprah website's write up.)
To do the turnarounds, find opposites of the original statement on your Worksheet. Often a statement can be turned around to the self, to the other, and to the opposite. Not every statement has as many as three turnarounds. Some may have just one or two, and others may have more than three. Some turnarounds may not make any sense to you. Don’t force these.
Finding Opposites:The Original Thought: Paul doesn’t listen to me. Turns around to:
  • I don’t listen to myself.
  • I don’t listen to Paul.
  • Paul does listen to me.
Turnaround to my thinking:As you do The Work on subjects such as the body, disease, career, or God, when you come to the turnarounds, substitute the words “my thinking” for the subject. Example: “My body should be strong, flexible, and healthy” turns around to “My thinking should be strong, flexible, and healthy.” Isn’t that what you really want—a balanced, healthy mind? Has a sick body ever been a problem, or is it your thinking about the body that causes the problem? 
Turnaround to statement 6The Original Thought: I don’t ever want Paul to lie to me again. I don’t ever want to see him ruining his health again. I am willing to… I am willing for Paul to lie to me again. I am willing to see him ruining his health again. I look forward to… I look forward to Paul lying to me again. I look forward to seeing him ruining his health again. 
Finding Examples:Consider how each turnaround you find is as true as or truer that the original judgment. Find at least three specific, genuine examples of how each turnaround is true for you in that situation. This is not about blaming yourself or feeling guilty. It’s about discovering alternatives that can bring you peace.
Avoiding Turning around the Turn AroundThe original statement “He shouldn’t waste my time” may be turned around to “I shouldn’t waste my time,” “I shouldn’t waste his time,” and “He should waste his time.” Note that “I should waste my time” and “I should waste his time” are not valid turnarounds; they are turnarounds of turnarounds, rather than turnarounds of the original statement.

Anyone see a problem yet?

Ok, before I become immediately critical, let me give an example of when "The Work" would actually be helpful.

A person makes a statement that "I am a worthless individual."

So then they ask themselves "Is it true?" They might say yes, but then they're supposed to ask "Can you absolutely know its true?" and hopefully a person will be aware enough to say no, its not.
Then they ask themselves "How do you react when you believe that thought?" And then they might notice how they don't take care of their body, they speak badly about themselves, they get into relationships that hurt them, etc... and they think they deserve it, because they are worthless. Then the question "Who would you be without that thought?" the answer would hopefully be a happier individual, one who respects themselves and takes care of themselves and their body, etc... Then the turnaround to "I am a worthwhile individual" and "No one is a worthless individual" would be helpful.

Ok, this is pretty much the only time I actually promote using this process. When you have negative thoughts about yourself.

Because the rest of the time, it can get pretty downright dangerous.

I'm going to give an example of how dangerous this can be.

Lets say a person named Bonnie is really upset with her life. She writes in her journal:

"My husband never treats me respectfully. He always puts me down. He can get violent and ends up being scary. I don't feel safe around my husband.
In addition to that, my husband refuses to live within our means. We can't survive financially. My husband needs to start spending within our budget. I'm already doing as much as I can to survive financially and I just can't do anymore."

And then she tells her friend that she is upset by how her marriage is, and her friend tells her "Bonnie, you have to hear about "The Work!" It's a really amazing program that helps you turn around your life. It'll help you really improve things. Give it a shot!"

Then Bonnie listens to her friend who recommended the work, because for years, she's been told by her husband how all the issues in her marriage are her fault, everything is always her fault, and part of her believes that.
And then when a big "guru" is basically telling her that she can change her life around just by changing her thoughts, she says "Yea, that must be it. The only problem in my marriage is my attitude."

So she does The Work, and writes down the following statements:
1. My husband never treats me respectfully.
2. My husband usually puts me down.
3. My husband gets violent.
4. My husband can be scary.
5. I don't feel safe around my husband.
6. My husband won't live within our means.
7. We can't survive financially.
8. My husband needs to start spending within our budget.
9. I'm already doing as much as I can to survive financially.
10. I can't do any more than I am already doing.

Then she asks herself the 4 questions.

1 and 2. Is it true? Can you absolutely know it's true?

Let me tell you something.

Bonnie is an abused woman. One of the big things in abuse is gaslighting. Doubting oneself. So she may say to 1, yes, it's true, but then when she's told to question that, can she absolutely know its true, she may say "Well, I'm not so sure anymore."
But even if she says she absolutely knows its true, with number 2, she's still supposed to continue to number 3. How do you react when you believe that thought? And then to those, she probably answers to all of them that she's miserable and frustrated. Then question number 4. Who would you be without that thought? Of course, if she didn't believe she was disrespected, didn't believe he was violent, wasn't scared of him, wasn't upset at him for spending too much, wasn't worried about surviving financially, didn't want him to spend less, she'd be a "happy wife and be happily married".  And if she didn't believe she was already doing as much as she could, and that she couldn't do anymore, she'd then try harder to improve her situation. And since she wants to be a happily married wife, she's encouraged to drop all those negative thoughts and be a happier person. "It's all in your mind, all a matter of attitude!"

But if that wasn't bad enough, she's then encouraged to do "The Turnaround."

This is probably the most dangerous part of all.

Here's the turn around for those 10 statements.

1. My husband always treats me respectfully.
I don't treat my husband respectfully.
2. My husband doesn't put me down.
I usually put my husband down.
3. My husband doesn't get violent.
I get violent.
My husband is calm.
4. I'm not scared of my husband.
My husband is scared of me.
5. I feel safe around my husband.
My husband doesn't feel safe around me.
6. My husband lives within our means.
I don't live within our means.
7. We can survive financially.
8. My husband already is spending within the budget.
I need to start spending within the budget.
9. My husband is already doing as much as he can to survive financially.
I'm not doing as much as I can to survive financially.
10. My husband can't do more than he's already doing.
I can do more than I'm already doing.

As I mentioned before, a big issue in abusive situation is gaslighting, psychological manipulation making people question their own memory, perception, and sanity.

This is exactly what the turnaround is. Gaslighting your own freaking self. Because once you turned around these statements you made, you're then supposed to find proof that these turn arounds are true. And I'm sure you'll be able to find some examples of these being true, because no abuser is horrible every single second. And no abused person is perfect either. A common feature of abuse is someone being abused so badly and so consistently that they then snap, and then their abuser says "See, look, SHE is the abusive one." And this is basically what this turn around is.

In case you think I'm doing an extreme example, trying to "debunk" The Work using an abusive situation, my issue is specifically that. The people I've heard lauding The Work specifically use bad and unhealthy marriage situations of things in "The Work." And someone even read quotes from the book about how to deal with an abusive situation by using "The Work" to become more content with your life.


If you're in an unhealthy situation, don't just "change how you perceive the situation". Get yourself out of the situation. Don't blame yourself for other people's bad behavior. Take responsibility for your own behavior when applicable, but then get yourself out of a bad situation.

Maybe if done with a therapist this can be done in a way that is more safe. But this encourages you to do it on your own, and by doing "The Work" on your own, you're likely to stay in unhealthy situations instead of fixing them. And if you recommend The Work to others, you're probably also encouraging them to hurt themselves.

Sorry. I don't believe in blaming people for the way others treat them. People who treat others badly are to blame, not the abused one.

The Work is, in short, victim blaming, gaslighting, and manipulative.

And I will speak out when I see people talking about it.

Because this is scary and dangerous.

Penniless Parenting

Mommy, wife, writer, baker, chef, crafter, sewer, teacher, babysitter, cleaning lady, penny pincher, frugal gal


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  1. I think it does way more good than harm. If someone has trouble they can call for trained people to help them. Plus it's free. Often abused women can't pay the $50 + it costs. Plus this can be quicker than once a week therapy sessions.

  2. Of course your logic is correct. However the work doesn't condone in any way staying in bad situations. Its purpose is only to reveal that the situation actually is happy or happened and that is reality. When you accept the situation you can then change it but it has to be seen as what is happening or did happen. The turnarounds are to expand brain neurons to help get you out of reverberating thoughts...not to condone violence or any type of abuse. The work says are being abused. Now do something about it

  3. Wow! I had never heard of the book, and your explanation is frightening.
    I trust you're right. Miriam Adahan is very experienced in helping emotionally abused people. An article of hers I read about thirty years ago was a total game changer for me. I wonder what she says about the book.

  4. I understand what you are saying here. I do have to state I do not believe in victimization without self created patterns having some inherent part to play . Please understand this is NOT blaming the victim .. if someone was raped I would NEVER blame them , but an attempt to give them back their power and dignity is something the old victim abuse western therapy story never fully accomplished . Many in the old mental health professional models believe in the victimization of others who are predatory. The abused and abuser paradigm is crumbling under the weight of old therapy of "me vs. Them " . Ultimatley , We do create our perceptions and beliefs and have to take responsibility for that at least at some point along our journey to end our suffering . It's no easy task, and I understand it's easy to blame the bad guy. Our entire culture runs off this premise from cradle to grave . The disease of the western mind . Byron Katie is Buddhist and it's a different mentality than the victim vs hero archetype the west is familiar with .I do not practice " the work on clients" yet have found the turn arounds incredibly helpful personally and have seen unhealthy relationship patterns fall away in others . When the victim realizes they are co creators of their experiences . They begin to awaken to this consciously and archetypally they realize that it is "they themselves" , that are keeping this abusive pattern alive , then , and only then do they have the power to change it . Abuse starts from within, this may sound cliche yet true . If she is being abused it is because her mind is telling her it's okay. In some unconscious way she deserves it( even though we realize consciously this is not true ) . Her own realizations and the reversal work concerning how she treats herself can only help her . It does not make her more a victim of abuse as I felt you were implying . If someone is being abused I would definitley attempt to get out of the situation immediately. Yet , we have to work on ourselves ; if she believes as you say.. shes being abused , then she is allowing a reality of abuse into her life , your modality only tells her shes a victim . A poor wounded bird, nine times out of ten she will meet a second abusive male in her life .. this is statistically fact . So she herself is abuse.. victims are powerless . Aware and responsible souls who awaken to what they are creating can be set free . This is not victimizing the victim . The good guy bad guy paradigm will only go so far . There is another way . If you try not to look at the reversal work from a concious place of choice or power or victim vs abuser . You may have a different understanding . Thank you for bringing your attention to this .

    1. As an abuse survivor of 15 years with 13 protection orders All I have to say is you know nothing of abuse dynamics.

  5. You are clinically correct in raising these questions, and this type of work may not be appropriate for someone in situations you describe, but you grossly misunderstand the premise which is to deal with one's *own* thinking about any given circumstance and then proceed from that point. If the answer to question #2 is still "Yes this (abuse) is true." Then The Work is done and other decisions need to be made (like planning an exit strategy, couples counseling, etc., depending on the details). The Work is a means of taking responsibility for what *is* one's own thoughts/actions and to hold others accountable for theirs - Byron Katie even states, "There's my business, their business, and God's business." And "my business" is what's explored in any individual's work. If abuse is happening, the first step is leaving the situation, the recovery afterwards, as you know as a counselor, will be years of work in which The Work can be a great tool, among others. As with any modality, it will not fit every situation. The issue is not The Work itself; it is with the potential for it to be misused or misunderstood - so using a platform such as this to describe its limitations is an excellent idea.

    1. Can the answer to question 2 really ever be yes? Byron Katie does say 'nothing is true, believe it or not'. I am interested because I spent many years in a relationship that to all around me was very unhealthy and I spent all my time 'doing the work'. I turned everything around and saw my own responsibility for everything that happened. 'I did this', 'everything he says is true' and I could find lots of examples where that was true. There was lots of suffering and then a lot of 'work' and a lot of realisations. 4 years later and I was in a precarious situation, having had no boundaries, set up no scaffolding for my life and I still, of course took responsibility for this but wished to God I had left before so many opportunities had past me by in life. I'm not saying 'The Work' isn't absolutely amazing, but at the outset of years of devotion I am left feeling a little disconnected from it now. I do appreciate all thoughts for clarity.

    2. According to Katie's approach the answer can never be yes. If it's yes, according to her, then you need to find a new angle for it. But all of this depends on what the thought or situation is. If there's one thing I've felt recur in her book it's that it has the potential to actually destroy the idea of boundaries for someone. It's meant to be empowering, and I do know it can be, but I'd suggest being very careful with how it's applied in abusive situations. I haven't found an abusive situation where applying it didn't end up deleting barriers, as it's often "turned around" to both the abusers benefit and your own detriment while the initial thought "They are abusing me" is essentially dismissed. That is a very real issue. You can be abused, and it's okay to acknowledge that thought while you move forward in making a decision without feeling left to the idea that it must be an ongoing process if you think it. "They abuse me" to "I value my boundaries and don't want to be abused" to telling them "I don't want you to abuse me" to "You haven't stopped abusing me so I'm leaving you out of my life" is an example of something healthy that I haven't seen suggested through Byron Katie's work as her version of "The Work" is meant to be the only one you'll ever need.

  6. I would live to talk with you more about your feelings and the ideas you have about the work. When I inquire about my thoughts add beliefs and meditate on the questions my experience is illuminating. I would invite you to watch some of the videos on the website to see if seeing the process in action is useful for you. Or not. Either way is fine. Thank you

  7. I hope people would use common sense. Dont use the work if it makes you crazyer.

  8. Skilled facilitators would not proceed as you described, but instead urge the person to question why she would stay. Katie says to meet your thoughts like little children, and if you have a thought like 'This hurts' then how do you respond? The best turn around to 'he's violent' might be 'I'm violent (to me)' if I stick around. Get safe first, then question the thoughts that lead to emotional pain later if you like. I notice the majority of your feedback suggests to find a good facilitator rather than try to make inquiry work when you don't get it.

  9. Sometimes people are unhappy and afraid for perfectly valid reasons and no amount of positive thinking can solve some problems totally outside of our control. Indeed simplistic solutions can compound the issue by adding guilt and a sense of failure to control the situation into the mix. Moreover, the more strongly we adhere to our own belief systems whether that be religious or philosophical the harder it becomes to avoid judging others for not succumbing to our world view. You are right to call out blinkered-thinking Penny. Positivity and CBT can only ever go so far and has its limitations some of which can be dangerous. Well done.

  10. I get what the author is trying to say, but I don't agree with the extent of her methods. I've done successful self-evaluation without the need to say negative things to myself. Who wants more of that?!
    I do understand exactly what you're saying, and thank you for saying it. Analysing your thoughts about problematic situations and then turning them around into more negative thoughts about yourself is not helpful. Ask anyone who's been depressed, abused, misunderstood, bullied etc (all of those for me) and the last thing they want or need is to add thoughts of more self doubt. Our thoughts need to be lifted up. We need to hear others say "it's NOT your fault" and to tell us the good things they see in us. Positivity is so much more powerful than negativity to someone who's been hurt, confused and downtrodden.

  11. As a energy healer of 25 years I can say that "The Work" is based on Spiritual Bypassing more than any other technique I've ever seen, and is dangerous. Getting a woman who is suffering from cancer, as Katie does, to start saying to herself "I don't have cancer" may numb out her anxiety, but it could also cause her physical demise as she stops seeking a cure. All she has done is find a lie she can tell herself to manipulate her worried mind into being less fearful. There are many much better ways to deal with fear - the primary malaise, along with low self-esteem, that I find in almost every client. Healing through facing the actual Truth, including realization of the unborn undying Self as your true immortal ever-present real identity, in a world where bodies, thoughts and belief systemd are all eventually discarded as temporary as the autumn leaves, is the best one I've found.

  12. I completely agree with your assessment of "The Work" which is some of the most twisted new age bullshit I've come across. It gives healing work a bad name. I agree with @andyrauf above, it is spiritual bypassing to the highest degree. There is absolutely no need to engage with this kind of philosophy in order to heal. This "work" preys on the vulnerable who already question their own thoughts and struggle to stand up for themselves.
    Her techniques are actually gaslighting for victims of abuse. As a healing practitioner who has done years of self-work, this is absolutely the WRONG direction to go. There are so many amazing trained psychologists and healers who can support your process in a much healthier way!

  13. Have you actually ever done the work yourself? In my experience, witnessing The Work being done by others vs. actually going through the inquiry process with my own thoughts and situations, is a completely different experience.

  14. Every time I hear Byron Katie speak, something in me goes 'nope.'

  15. I have a big question about 'the work' but it's not the same one as yours. If you read her book, if you watch the videos, one thing you see is that Katie knows how to take care of herself and doesn't hesitate to do so when needed. And which is exactly what she encourages others to do. 'The Work' does not prescribe any particular action or avoidance of action. It's purpose is simply to stop the uncomfortable feelings. The example you gave of a woman who was abused by her husband is a good one so let's look at it. When someone is under duress for whatever reason, they tend to freeze in place, to become paralyzed. If they could only feel freer they could act effectively. So here's another turnaround: I don't treat myself respectfully. By allowing myself to stay in this situation I'm showing myself lack of respect and care.

    My question isn't whether The Work is bad in the same sense that you do. My question is this: does it work? Does filling out those questions actually help you feel better? And so far I've not seen enough evidence of this.

  16. I just finished her book and I'm trying to come to terms with some things that have made me very uncomfortable. At the same time I both find value in some applications of her toolser and incredibly self-damaging applications in others.

    I am attensing ACA-meetings and I can wholeheartedly say they have done me a lot more good than this book. I have found that the book has its uses, but in no way is it always valid to have the questions in this sequence. It seems like someone took a few lines out of a methodology framework for helping oneself and decided those lines alone were good enough.

    I found myself at odds with how she interviewed some people (I listened to the audiobook) and her line of questioning. I think that, more important than pushing yourself to follow this exact framework it's important to note when you feel at odds with it and earnestly investigate that. And in that investigation, I think it's incredibly important not to stop listening to yourself in the belief you, at the end of the line, you must have ended up agreeing with her. I hear her tell people that everyone has their own road to truth, but then I see her intervene and push before anybody else has a chance to get things right.

    Katie's interview with a victim of child abuse and rape was heartbreaking and horrendous. I will take the tools presented and use them as I find true and respectful towards both me and others... not the twisted version I hear and see implemented in her interviews. Those hurt.

    Thank you for the blog post, it helps balance my thoughts on the issue.

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    2. I have been looking for an example of her work with DV because I am really concerned about this application. I love the work for self-inquiry into limiting beliefs and want to get really clear about what the limit of this work is.

  17. What most people don't realize is that Byron Katie uses manipulative tactics from other Large Group Awareness Trainnings, and along with cult tactics and LGAT tactics, she uses Ericksonian hypnosis and Neuro Linguistic Programming in abusive ways to tear people down, steal from them, and rebuild them in her image. If you want to read some scary stuff from her, check out the now out-of-print book, "Losing the Moon". The Cult Education Institute also has a message board with lots of information, if you just search for, "Byron Katie and Eckhart Tolle Legit?"

  18. I've done the Work a lot and found it sooooo helpful. It really saved me from some situations where I was inflicting so much pain on myself through my thoughts. I also went to see Byron Katie live and got a lot out of that. Still obviously... it's just a technique, not a magic button to solve every problem known to man, and certainly it can be twisted into something harmful.
    In my experience, when I wasn't ready to face the truth, I was able twist ANY helpful advice or technique into a new way to self-harm. No one can benefit from any good advice or technique or therapy until they're ready.
    The abused woman in your theoretical example shows that she is not ready to break free and is looking for another way to tell herself that she's to blame and has to stay. The Work is just her latest justification for that.
    If she was ready, he most juicy turnaround would be: "I am violent to myself." How is this true? "by letting this situation continue." If done right, her feelings about the situation could majorly transform as a result of that turnaround - and she might finally find the courage and clarity to leave.
    I want to clarify: it is NOT her fault that she's not ready. All of us have been in the situation where we harmed ourselves with unhealthy choices and just COULDN'T get benefit from worthwhile therapies and healing modalities because we simply weren't ready and the timing was not right.
    Any honest therapist or proponent of a healing modality of any kind will tell you that you can't help someone if they're not ready to be helped.

  19. I couldn't agree more. I worked through the 123 guide on a less dramatic episode of relationship dynamics (demanding and anxiously-attached partner guilt-tripping me), and the exercise seemed to be trying to have me discredit my own perception of events, while providing no guidance around how to interpret the "results". Like "my partner was guilt-tripping me" becomes "I was guilt-tripping my partner". I wasn't necessarily guilt-tripping her, and "she wasn't listening to me" to "she was listening to me", is just muddying the water, not really providing any insight - like it's trying to cancel-out the emotion rather than addressing the signal. However, just through the process of writing out the whole situation I definitely felt a) that I understand and sympathize with my partner and can see how their anxiety lead to their behavior and b) that establishing my own boundaries or assertively presenting my perspective is good and c) that feeling guilty is a useful signal but doesn't necessarily mean I need to back down d) one can be in disagreement, temporarily disliked or disproved of and that that conflict is ultimately expected and normal from time to time. However that was a result of simply writing out the situation while removing as many cognitive distortions as possible, nothing to do with this "The Work" hogwash. It also seems a real tragedy to me that someone might decide to do The Work (psychoanalysis) and stumble across this brain rot. What a horrible introduction to therapy.

  20. I have never understood the hype about Byron Katie's 'The Work'. The more I looked into it, the not disturbing and confusing I found it. Part of being human is feeling our emotions. Suppressing or ignoring then is unhealthy and will eventually lead to them coming out in an unhealthy way. For her, she wants to be happy all the time. It's exhausting. And untrue.

  21. Totally agree with your summary! I had googled people’s thoughts off this book because I was having the same thoughts. It wasn’t sticking well. Thank you!

  22. I agree with your post. Taking it further, I realized after decades of CBT being pushed on me, that it is basically a lot like learning to gaslight yourself. It never really worked for me because I never felt that trying to change my thoughts about my experiences was more helpful than removing myself from harmful experiences. The Work, just like CBT, probably does have a few helpful things embedded in it. As a way to proceed through life though...nope. I trust my reactions more than I trust people telling me not to trust my reactions.

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