“Control” describes a patient’s wish and capacity to gain control over their unconscious processes and relates to a person’s ability to be aware of their perceived threats of danger in order to adjust one’s personal defenses accordingly.
“Mastery” refers to the ability and motivation of people to address and resolve the challenges facing them or to master their traumas.
Symptoms stem from “unconscious pathogenic beliefs,” which are inferences about traumatic events, often involving fear of harm to a loved one as a consequence of trying to meet a normal developmental goal (Weiss, 1990; 1993).
The goal of treatment is to help people recognize their pathogenic beliefs and test them against reality. Practitioners of this approach work to provide those in treatment with a safe experience in a safe environment so they will feel able to lower the defenses they have in place and feel free to express their authentic selves.