Not too long-ago psychologists and other behavioral scientists prided themselves for their ability to understand emotional problems in depth. They didn’t limit their perspective and analysis to the proximal, superficial causes of people’s difficulties. Rather, they looked for the underlying causes of these difficulties by exploring early childhood experiences that shaped the developing psychic structures (e.g., self-image) and the current interpersonal conditions that interact with the influences of those psychic structures. This helped them and their patients understand what made this particular person vulnerable to particular stressors where others wouldn’t have been so affected. They, therefore, understood that current stressful events do not bring about emotional disorders by themselves. Rather, they interact with the person’s emotional makeup and especially with the vulnerabilities that resulted from his early life experiences (Barlow, 2002, Chap. 8).
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