Emotional-Self Management: The Art of Tranquility in the 21st Century by Norm Gillies© 1997

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Here follow EXCERPTS from this book about the Center for Counter-Conditioning Therapy’s® unique cross-cultural, non-cognitive mental health treatment design C-CTherapy®.

UNIVERSALS OF HUMAN BEHAVIOR include the following facts:

  1. Human interaction is unceasing and unrelenting.
  2. All human beings think, all the time, about anything and everything.
  3. All human beings habitually react to anything and everything in their surroundings.
  4. All human beings evolve in a human environment, not in a cultural vacuum.
  5. All human beings are the product of their early mental conditioning.
  6. All human beings instinctively move from pain to less pain, in the resolute pursuit of peace of mind.

C-CTherapy® takes these human behavior universals and incorporates them in the fundamentals of its treatment design. By including these universals in the core of its treatment program, C-CTherapy® addresses the function of human universals as they apply to everyday behavior. In this way, this psychotherapy provides the individual with a personal capability for neutralizing the negative effects of early mental conditioning


The C-CTherapy® treatment design mobilizes the inherent impulse in human beings to steer away from mental pain and upset.

One of the C-CTherapy® fundamentals is its focus upon the patient’s speed of recovery. For instance, the short-term program achieves this goal of a speedy recovery in one or two sessions. It does so by combining the patient’s testimony about “where it hurts” with the therapist’s attention to the patient’s preoccupation with that “hurt”. The patient’s report and the therapist’s clinical focus are combined. This psychotherapy design returns the patient quickly to emotional stasis. The early reduction in a patient’s mental pain is the primary goal of this non-cognitive treatment program.

Also, the C-CTherapy® non-cognitive design, reduces diagnostic time to nil. This reduction in diagnostic time is made possible because the clinician receives data on the patient’s mental turmoil from the patient himself not from collateral sources such as tests or the opinions of others. The clinician, by applying a non-cognitive therapy approach invests no time or energy in understanding why the patient is mentally agitated. The clinician concentrates upon what mentally is happening with the patient not on why he is mentally agitated. This fundamental of C-CTherapy® frees up treatment time. Thus, more treatment time is available which is a critical consideration for those with limited budgets.

Patient-therapist compatibility is not considered a treatment fundamental at the Center for Counter-Conditioning Therapy®. The Center’s finding is that a relationship does not determine the rate at which a patient moves from pain to less pain. The Center’s research conclusion is that the patient-therapist relationship is not the change agent. The patient-therapist relationship, therefore, possesses no treatment magic.

The change agent is the patient’s acquisition of a mental health skill which he routinely applies outside of the therapy session.

The C-CTherapy® treatment process follows a teaching format. The therapist instructs the patient in the building of a mental platform enabling him to beneficially apply his new-found mentality. Reduction of the patient’s mental turmoil through Emotional Self-Management is the goal of the patient’s treatment program.

All people think constantly about anything and everything. A key feature in the dynamic of human functioning is that a human being cannot avoid hearing himself think. Sometimes these thoughts are negative, and often they are illogical. If one lacks energy, the chances are that depressed or dark thoughts will dominate. The amount of one’s physical energy, therefore, is a primary contributor to the kinds of thoughts that are most forceful. That is, one’s level of energy is the determiner regarding the power and the intensity of one’s illogical thoughts.

In the long-term program, a patient learns how to oppose his chronic habit of obeying illogical thoughts originating from out of the past. This ability to oppose his illogical thinking, called thought-voices, must be acquired like any skill. Through this skill-building process, the patient builds a mental platform from which to interfere, and thus, counteract his on-going illogical thoughts.

It is a universal fact that human interaction is unceasing. Therefore, human beings develop in a human arena, not in a cultural vacuum. They live and flourish amongst human beings from whom they absorb “crazy” and illogical attitudes and mannerisms. These absorbed impressions of attitudes and viewpoints influence the emotional character and mental forcefulness of each person’s behavior. The mental impressions inadvertently collected differ from person to person. This is the principal basis for C-CTherapy® is design as a one-to-one therapy.

C-CTherapy® divides mental functioning into two spheres of mentation designated as volitional and non-volitional. The workings of each of these mental divisions yields a different mental outcome. In this way, C-CTherapy® treats them as separate but equal mental entities.

C-CTherapy® is the first mental health treatment design to address, systematically, the subject matter of thought-voice activity and its role in crazy-making behavior. This crazy-making thought-voice activity victimizes the patient.


  1. Why does C-CTherapy® concentrate solely upon emotional activity which emerges from the patient’s non-volitional pattern?

    The non-volitional division of one’s functioning mentality harbors only emotive, illogical material — and one cannot not react to one’s human behaviour surroundings. Illogical thoughts are always present in one’s thinking.

    Logic and reason, however, are not the source of emotional upset. They are not in control of one’s emotionally reactive mentality. On their own, human beings are able to cope with matters of logic and reason without assistance from mental health experts. In short, one does not require professional assistance in distinguishing the difference between the land and the sea.

  2. Why are C-CTherapy® patients taught a mental health skill?

    In cognitive therapy, patients are told to think differently in the hope that they will behave differently. C-CTherapy® is in disagreement with this notion. It maintains that only a way of operating differently will allow the patient to move forward. In short, this is not a sit around, ìfriendly-visitingî style of psychotherapy; this is a skill-building psychotherapy.

  3. Why is building a mental health skill necessary?

    Building a mental health skill is necessary because the patient is the only one with access to what’s inside his head. He is the only one capable of intervening with himself. Building a skill gives him the means to do so. C-CTherapy® ‘s building approach creates a mental platform from which he can mentally navigate.

    Through the treatment process, the patient develops a capacity to regularly counteract the power of his illogical thought activity. By building a mental platform, the patient moves away from his old habit — the pursuit of right thinking and right behaving. Through the building process, he moves towards mentally operating on the basis of current, factual information.

  4. How does the patient know when to activate the procedure which makes up the skill?

    Mental incapacity and emotional pain are the signals. During the course of treatment, the patient comes to view his signals as advantageous. His ability to detect mental signals and translate them to his benefit grows as an accompaniment of the skill-building process.

  5. What is the treatment goal?

    The treatment goal is reached by means of a learning experience which is a contributor in the skill-building process. The patient acquires this capability in part by discovering which of the negative contents in his non-volitional pattern victimize him. In conjunction with the discovery process, the mental means is evolving which aims to counteract the negative effects of the patient’s non-volitional pattern. The title the Center attaches to this acquired ability is called ìemotional self-managementî.

  6. What will C-CTherapy® do for me?

    C-CTherapy® will give you a clear-cut way of coping with your self-victimizing habits. You will find it mentally liberating when you can routinely counteract mentally disturbing habits. You will gain emotional self-sufficiency and self-reliance — the equivalent of mental freedom.

  7. How do you know C-CTherapy® works?

    I know it works because patients have consistently attested to their benefitting from this unified, non-cognitive psychotherapy since its inception in 1965. A self-explanatory cliche fits here: “The proof of the pudding is in the eating!”

  8. How do you know that patients tell you the truth?

    Truthfulness is not an issue in C-CTherapy®. The patient need not confess sins or bad behavior. Telling the therapist where the “pain” is coming from is not a matter of truthfulness, but simply the patient’s report of a personal fact. C-CTherapy® operates from a human behavior design which maintains that each patient is the “expert” on his or her own mental self. Patients, alone, know whether or not they are upset, and consequently, can report the characteristics of their upset.

  9. You said that understanding or investigating the background of a patient is a cognitive, medical-model therapy procedure. You said, also, that you do not analyze or try to understand my behavior, a common practice of cognitive therapy. If you don’t understand all about me, how will you help me?

    Well, let me give you an analogy. Suppose your house were burning down. The firemen arrive. They stand around and discuss why flames are destroying your house. Wouldn’t that annoy you? Wouldn’t you think that studying the cause before they extinguished the fire a bit odd? You assumed they had come to put out the fire and save your burning house.

    Now apply that analogy to your situation. Why would you want me to sit down and study you? Wouldn’t you rather I helped you get out of pain? I have found over many years of clinical practice that it is more useful for you and I to marshal our forces and fight your “mental house-fire”!

    C-CTherapy®, as a non-cognitive procedure, teaches the patient a mental health skill. As the C-CTherapy® practitioner, I teach you how to put out your own mental house fire. I teach you how to deal with the mental pain which comes from the early conditioning from which your emotional pattern is derived.

  10. If I don’t ask “why” I behave in a certain way, what instead will I be doing?

    You will be following the direction of your therapist-teacher. You will tape record each of your sessions and practice the exercises . Your taped session is your homework for that week.

    Asking “why I behave crazy” is the type of question asked by the medical people because they apply a physical medicine approach as if it could deal with a mental health question. The medical-model theory is, “if we understand why you are upset, our explanation will remove your turmoilî.

    Cognitive medical-model therapies assume that understanding one’s mental upset is integral to ridding oneself of the symptom. Understanding emotions is a never-ending task because one’s mental self is always active. Knowledge about “what caused the upset” does not transform itself into a solution. Explanations do not supply long-term relief from mental symptoms. Therefore, a cognitive, medical-model approach fails the patient.

    At the Center, we have discovered that emotional upsets are not like colds or infections — they don’t just go away. The patient, not the therapist, is forever subjected to the workings of his head. It is the patient, alone, who possesses the potential for managing his mental upset.


The Center’s research has found that because knowledge does not yield permanent relief, the patient’s preoccupation with ridding himself of the upset, fails as a treatment solution. One’s emotional activity is integral to one’s mental-self and one’s mental-self does not appear and then disappear. That is why a mental health skill applied by the patient, not the therapist, is necessary. Thus, the patient is eventually able to manage, consistently, the self-victimizing mental fluctuations of his own emotional activity.

“Understanding the patient” in pursuit of ìfriendly-visiting” assumes the myth that advice dispensed by a physician about emotional behavior is somehow superior to that dispensed by an ordinary person. However, the Center’s research finding is that patients suffer from advice offered in earnest because it is invariably contradictory regardless of who offers it. The fact is that advice-givers abound. Longtime friends, relatives, new acquaintances offer their opinions. All differ regarding the issue of what is causing the problem, and then, what to do about it.

Little does the patient realize that when he listens to the opinion of others and conscientiously endeavors to put the advice into practice, that he is a participant in the pursuit of absolute truth, that is, confusing opinions promoted by individuals who behave as if they were in possession of truths. The fact is, there are billions of opinions. Therefore, there exists billions of opinions about any single topic that one would choose.


C-CTherapy® is designed to help one cope with one’s illogical thoughts. A patient learns how to oppose his chronic habit of obeying illogical thoughts absorbed from the past. It is through exercises aimed at deliberate opposition that a patient emotionally moves away from mental turmoil. By learning C-CTherapy®, the patient institutes procedures that counteract the negative thoughts-voices which formerly ran his life.

Research findings at the Center indicate that the “magic” of the patient-therapist relationship possesses little influence in determining the rate at which a patient handles the victimizing potential of his functioning mentality. In point of fact, a successful therapy outcome is achieved when the patient acquires a facility for emotional self-management.

When interaction leads to conflict, a human being is inclined to seek peace of mind. We seek to veer quickly away from mental pain and upset. To satisfy this human inclination, a psychotherapy design must provide a consistent and reliable procedure for the patient to return himself to emotional stasis.


When one’s only purpose in associating with other people is to acquire answers in the matter of “right behaving”, one is trapping oneself in a behavioral fiction. The fiction is: “if you behave right you will be safe because no one will persecute you”. The issue of “behaving right” has become big business, such as, seminars in “get rich”, “human improvement”, “power of positive thinking”. In the actual world of human behaving, no absolute way exists of ensuring one’s correct conduct. In our community, human behaving is regulated, for all of us, by whatever laws, mores or traditions our forebearers have legislated or created. No human being is the possessor of a universal truth about how to behave.


A cognitive (logic and reason) approach to events, reinforced by mental conditioning from birth, is a mental property common to all human beings. The basis for magic, shamanism and western religion is based upon this phenomenon. If one cannot understand the complexity of one’s surroundings, then the practice is to create some ritual which is meant to deal with the absence of surety by providing magic words or a ritualized formula as a substitute. Parents, the world over, counsel their off-spring to pay attention, learn and understand the events which surround them. Thus, we human beings start life by practicing the ritual of understanding our human and physical environment.


Physical medicine applies a disease model geared to “find the BUG and kill it”. While the disease model serves the treatment needs of physical medicine, its design, applied to mental health treatment, is inappropriate. There exists no ìbugî of emotional behavior to locate or kill. “The notion that disordered thoughts are caused by disease of the brain remains a pure hypothesis.” (Shock Treatment is Not Good for Your Brain, John Friedberg, M.D., Glide Memorial Press, 1976, pg. 103)

“Organized psychiatry is fond of producing half-cocked statistics on how many so-called schizophrenics or depressives there are in the country (U.S.A.), because it helps business. But it is loath to estimate how many patients it is permanently damaging [through the use of neuroleptics].” (Toxic Psychiatry, Peter Breggin, M.D., St Martins Press, 1991, pg. 89)


Cognitive, medical-model treatment relies upon the myth that people change their behavior by changing their attitude. The cognitive therapist counsels the patient to adopt a “positive” mental attitude towards his surroundings. This adopted philosophical view — positive thinking — is supposed to “get rid of bad behaving”.

Cognitive, medical-model therapies promote the absolute necessity of a change in patient behavior. For instance, the cognitive therapist tells the patient: “Change your attitude, look on the bright-side of matters, don’t be so negative!” Cognitive therapies advance theories in support of the patient changing his negative behavior for the social good. However, cognitive therapy fails to supply the patient with how to implement the declarations contained in the theories they advance.

Cognitive, medical-model therapies miss the key to successful mental health treatment. The origin of the patient’s upset is not located in the volitional – logic and reason – portion of his functioning mentality. Instead, it is located in the non-volitional division of his mental functioning. It is this mental division which produces the patient’s mental upset.

The emotional system of each person is dissimilar from that of the next person. Now, given the many billions of individual human patterns frequenting the earth, there obviously exists a considerable allotment of emotional dissimilarity amongst human beings. C-CTherapy®, a treatment design incorporating the fact of a multitude of human emotional reactors, recognizes that solutions or insights gained from one patient cannot be applied to other patients as if there existed a common emotional, reactive mold.


Medical-model psychotherapies talk about treating the whole person, but focus instead upon getting rid of the patient’s wrong thinking and bad behavior. In short, these therapies are symptom driven. C-CTherapy®, on the other hand, is system driven, that is, working with the source of the patient’s turmoil, not with the behavior that this turmoil produces. Hence, C-CTherapy® ‘s secondary benefit to the patient of demystifying aberrant human behavior.

Clearly, the public does not recognize that cognitive therapy is an arm of medical-model treatment. The cognitive therapy premise is; if you understand “the why” of the emotional behavior, then, the problem will go away. The public, not professionally trained and therefore amateurs, are ill-equipped to realize that a “get rid of the problem” design is not applicable to the resolution of mental health problems. Therefore, they do not appreciate that the physical medicine, disease design is clinically inappropriate. What works for a physical medicine approach does not work in a mental health, non-pathogen treatment context. A disease-model treatment design is clinically correct only if a pathogen exists.

Medication only conceals the inadequacy of cognitive therapy’s treatment design. In itself, medication is simply a stop-gap maneuver. It is clinically unsound for the cognitive therapist to rely upon medication as a behavior management tool. Medication is not the solution.

Emotion is illogical. Because emotion and illogical behavior originate with the non-volitional division of mental function, behavior produced by this mental division has the capacity to victimize any person.

The therapy distinction between volitional and non-volitional is critical because it is the non-volitional division which governs emotions and creates aberrant behavior. But, this important distinction is not credited by cognitive, medical-model psychotherapies. Consequently, their treatment theories are unable to handle illogical or emotional mentation.

The non-volitional division of functioning mentality is an illogical system. Logic and reason have no impact upon an illogical system. Given the absence of logic and reason in human emotion, a cognitive, medical-model format cannot produce significant long-term change in non-volitionally generated mental turmoil.


Gilkey illustrates in what way emotion and not logic runs people — people who preach ìgoodnessî seldom operate from what it dictates. (Langdon Gilkey, Shantung Compound, Harper and Row, 1975). He chronicles how community leaders, who in civilian life appeared in charge of their mental selves, for instance, physicians, lawyers, clergy and such, behaved in self-serving, petulant ways in this prisoner of war setting. Their behavior demonstrates that the non-volitional division of functioning mentality is the legislator of human behavior.

Superior reasoning, that is, the cognitive approach to mental activity, cannot by itself, significantly dislodge a patient’s emotional activity. Therefore, no patient can operate differently merely by intellectually – cognitively – understanding the negative features of his emotional pattern and then willing good behavior. On the contrary, by reminiscing about past upsets, a patient resurrects a mental recall of emotional upset. The frequent recall of negative emotions associated with past experiences is sufficient enough to activate upsetting mental history. That is why Holocaust, POW, and trauma survivors can re-traumatize themselves. The Center’s research findings validate this mental capability.

Cognitive therapies are counter-productive because they prolong recovery time. For instance, trauma patients, who participate in Support-groups or 12-Step programs, remain “in extremis” years longer than do trauma patients receiving treatment at the Center.

Cognitive therapies, by encouraging the patient to participate in an activity of negative recall, activate a non-therapeutic action. This approach reinforces the patient’s preoccupation with trauma. The constant massaging of negative matters merely fosters mental turmoil. In this way, cognitive, medical-model therapies trap the patient in a ìslough of despondî that impedes forward movement.


C-CTherapy® is the first human behavior therapy to incorporate in its treatment format the distinction between VOLITIONALLY produced behavior and NON-VOLITIONALLY produced behavior. These two mental divisions produce markedly different mental results. C-CTherapy® focuses its treatment effort exclusively on material originating from the non-volitional division. It is the patient’s non-volitional division which supplies his mental pain.


“You learn how to be a human being. You learn it just like you learn anything, someone has to lead you or direct you.” (Norman A. Gillies)

Mental absorption from our human surroundings, therefore, defines the developmental progression of all human beings.

But, no one person’s mentality is a duplicate of anyone else’s mentality. No one is the clone of another human being.

Parents have no way of determining which impressions their children will mentally absorb. Nevertheless, this absorption sets the foundation for the emotional character of how one views human behavior. While parenting is important – a baby needs parents for his literal survival – parenting, nevertheless, contributes only to some part of each person’s total mental experience.

Sorry to destroy the myth, but parents do not have literal power to orchestrate the mental “baggage” which their child acquires. Consequently, parents cannot determine what contents go into the formation of their child’s mental development. The child builds the human being framework of his mental functioning out of the behavior of the human resources around him. This universal feature defines early development.

For instance, one of the many features we osmotically incorporate from childhood is the habit of assessing and then judging people’s behavior. Beginning from our early upbringing, we watched our parents watching people. Our parents observed and made judgements about the behavior they observed. Indeed, they were not neutral and as children we noticed their response. Many times, we heard our parents criticize the behavior of others. What our parents did – watching people – was the beginning of our habit of assessing and judging the behavior of others.

What we osmotically copied – mentally absorbed – from the grown-ups around us, combined with our experience of being parented, constitute the tapestry of our mental selves. For all human beings this developmental beginning is the same. Our mental tapestry determines how we respond to our surroundings. This unique mental tapestry is a feature in our personality. Consequently, our early mental experiences are integral to our emotional, non-volitional self and will forever govern us.

The development of our own mental-self inside our own head produces what theorists call personality. Personality is the result of our mentally unique self plus the way in which that unique mental-self experiences the surrounding environment. Our mental impressions of that surrounding environment surface in the form of a personal interpretation of that environment – our opinion. It is the combination of the volitional and non-volitional categories in our functioning mentality which produce this mental outcome — personality with its unique opinions.

The Center’s research findings indicate that mentally upset people are always mentally preoccupied. These people demonstrate this behavior by seeming not to pay attention to what goes on around them. On the contrary, they are paying a considerable amount of attention, not to their surroundings, but to their negative thought-voices. Worry is the result. From worrying emerges agitation, displayed in the form of anxiety.

Out of a preoccupation with negative thought-voices emerges a self-badgering, self-criticism activity. The patient’s self-badgering activity provides both therapist and patient with a contemporary example of the way in which his system was formed long ago. Both therapist and patient uncover the current operation of the patient’s pattern. The C-CTherapy® treatment session is a skill-acquisition laboratory. Learning about the patient’s early mental conditioning as it operates in the present, is a crucial component in the skill-building project.

Anger, for instance, once absorbed from one’s childhood environment, as a non-specific and generalized emotion, is capable of being attached to any available subject. Joe, a patient who copied the capacity for “mad” from the adults in his childhood surroundings becomes annoyed at all sorts of people or circumstances. He can switch his emotional reaction from being annoyed with his mother to being annoyed with his father. He can direct his negative emotion at anyone, about anything.

His “mad” at his long dead mother is illogical and irrelevant. “Mother” serves only as a vehicle for Joe’s current emotional ingredient, whether or not his illogical action makes sense to an observer. In this context, the word “mother” holds no subject pertinence or basis in logic. Indeed, it is irrelevant to the needs of Joe’s emotional action.

As an aside, the mothering/parenting style of Joe’s mother was acquired by her in just the same way that Joe acquired his non-volitional pattern, osmotic absorption. Joe’s mother absorbed her style from those who parented her. As an emotional ingredient in her non-volitional pattern, a mothering/parenting style originates from how she, as a child, was parented. Therefore, one doesn’t arrive at a parenting style in a rational, logical way or because one happens to become a parent. All parenting styles are mentally absorbed when one is a child being parented.

The manner in which one performs the task of parenting is not the right way to parent. There is no right way to parent.


Self-discovery of one’s early mental conditioning as that early conditioning functions in the present is, in part, the road to mental relief. Through building a mental platform, the patient learns to neutralize those mental ingredients in his conditioning which produce turmoil. This is the mental pathway from which the patient operates in order to vanquish self-victimization.

Early mental conditioning, not disease, is the sole producer of mental turmoil.

C-CTherapy®’s non-cognitive treatment format is, currently, the only psychotherapy being practiced that focuses its treatment effort upon the building of a mental platform in the pursuit of defeating the debilitating effects of mental turmoil. This platform allows the patient to throw-off the harassing elements littering his non-volitional division.


Before treatment, this thought-voice activity ñ negative directives ñ would immediately cancel out a patient’s good feeling. Now, the patient knows from where the mental directives come. Now, he responds to the mental harassment as merely the workings of his functioning mentality. Now, the patient categorizes the thought-voice as “meaningless” and responds with the mental equivalent of “Get lost!” Turning these mental connections into a rote mental function is a new and daring gesture on his part.

In times past, these kinds of thought-voices would automatically hijack the patient’s behavior for he had no alternative means of coping. Unable to side-track or interrupt the mental workings of his non-volitional pattern, the patient was unable to steer clear of falling victim to his negative directives. He was mentally chained.

C-CTherapy®’s unprecedented approach places mental coping within the bounds of the patient’s competence. Possessing the power to disrupt habit is mentally liberating. For a procedure to provide the patient with actual relief from turmoil, it must offer an alternative to the dictates of his thought-voices. C-CTherapy® does this. It enables the patient to neutralize mental pain through introducing, on each occasion, a counter to those thought-voices.

The treatment goal is to teach the patient how to consistently counter the pain producing capacity of his conditioning. The patient must obtain the mental capacity to confront the status quo of the non-volitional division, or its negative elements will continue to run him. Reduction in turmoil is achieved when the patient consistently inserts C-CTherapy® exercises. This mental maneuver disrupts and gradually wears down the flow of the negative directive. When disruption is employed the patient can move, routinely, from turmoil to less turmoil.

By building a mental platform, the patient obtains:

  1. acquisition of a personal ability – a mental health skill;
  2. a coherent, pragmatic format which allows the patient to consistently neutralize the source of his aberrant and compelling behavior, enabling him to routinely cope with his potential for self-victimization;
  3. A mental perspective in tune with the properties of human behavior.

A human state of no turmoil does not exist because life is a dynamic whereby continuous flux is unceasing. Therefore, a state of no flux is a myth because the human condition of status quo does not equate with life.