For Modest and General Self-Improvement

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Originally published in Contemporary Psychology: APA Review of Books, 1978, Vol 23(11), 910–911. Reviews the book, Self-Directed Behavior: Self-Modification for Personal Adjustment. 2nd ed by David L. Watson and Roland G. Tharp (1977). Using an essentially operant framework, integrated with emerging work on self-control, the authors constructed a clear and concise guide to self-modification that was broad enough to deal with a wide variety of personal problems. The authors also considered, in sensible fashion, the issues of defining adjustment, the nature of “willpower,” and the limitations of self-help. The book is nicely spiced with relevant examples, including some complex self evaluation and interpersonal problems. Much of the content, however, is different, there has been substantial revision rather than just touching up the surface with new references. Watson and Tharp have done good job by describing conditions that would make self-directed change unlikely to succeed and describing various options for professional help. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved)

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