35. Paradoxical Cost -Benefit Analysis– List only the advantages of a negative thought, belief, feeling, addiction, or relationship problem. The list will make you aware of all the powerful forces that keep you stuck. Ask yourself, “Given all the advantages of this thought (or attitude or behavior), why should I change?”
36. Devil’s Advocate Technique– This is a Role Playing Technique. Another person plays the role of the Devil who tempts you to drink, overeat, procrastinate, or date the wrong person. You talk back to those thoughts in real time. Role-reversals can be helpful when you get stuck. For example, if you are overweight, imagine being in a mall where fast food is sold. The Devil might say, “Gee, why don’t you get one of those hot, buttery cinnamon buns? They just came out of our oven. They’d taste so good. You deserve it.” You would fight back and say, “I don’t need a cinnamon bun, and I’ll feel terrible if I give in. I’m determined to stick with my diet, and I’m looking forward to fitting into more attractive clothes.” The Devil can try to break down again, and you will fight back. This method is surprisingly challenging, especially if the Devil is familiar with your own rationalizations and expresses them in a seductive and persuasive manner.
37. Stimulus Control– If you’re trying to break a bad habit, such as alcoholism or overeating, you can reduce temptation rather than struggling with it. For example, if you drink too much, don’t go to places where alcohol is served, and get rid of all the alcoholic beverages in your house. Stimulus Control is not a complete treatment, but an important part of a more comprehensive program.