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workplace, in relationships, with children, with parents and siblings, and
in intimate relationships.
However, people with addictive personalities often respond positively
to help when it is offered in a collaborative way. Rather than being criti-
cal of their beliefs and attitudes, something they've heard throughout their
lives, most people with work addictions want counselors to understand
how well they've done in their lives and how successful they've been,
even if the results of their success are sometimes problematic. Chapter 11
goes into more detail about additional approaches to help people with
work-related problems, including the use of self-help groups, but two
helping approaches are briefly outlined here: brief counseling and guided
reading.
Brief Counseling
Brief counseling assumes that people are having problems now because of
a number of reasons and tries to sort out the major ones and help the per-
son resolve them in five to ten sessions. Most brief counseling uses cogni-
tive therapy, a form of counseling that tries to get people to understand
the irrational things they say to themselves that end up getting them into
trouble. Some irrational ideas by workaholics to reinforce their behavior
include the following:
1. Work is the most important thing in my life. It's true that some
people involved in very important work believe their work trumps
everything else, but for most of us, when it's more important than
our health, our families, and the pleasures we might get out of life,
it's an obsession. Making work the most important thing in our lives
tends to push people away, inhibits real intimacy with others, and
makes children and family secondary. When work is no longer avail-
able, as in forced early retirement or being laid off, it leaves us with
nothing to take its place.
2. I won't succeed unless I work harder than anyone else around
me. That's possible, but how do you measure working harder than
anyone else? Some people don't need to work as hard, because they
work smart. Others are naturals at the job or have more ability.
Working harder doesn't necessarily mean that you'll be successful.
The better idea is that you learn the job and work smart and hard
but not to the extent that putting in more hours than anyone else
will actually lead to more success.
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