(THE BOOK) Introduction


an excerpt from 3 (w borders)Want to trap a monkey?

Try this:

(1) Find a heavy bottle with a narrow neck.

(2) Drop a banana into it.

(3) Leave the bottle where a monkey can find it.

(4) Wait.

The monkey will do the rest.

He’ll come along, smell the banana, reach in to grab it.

Then find he can’t pull it out, because the bottleneck is too small.

He can free himself easily.  He just has to let go.

But he really, really wants that banana.

So he hangs on.

He’s still hanging on when you come to collect him.

And that’s how you trap a monkey.




Want to trap a human? 

Try this:

(1) Place the human in an uncomfortable situation.

(2) Wait.

The human will do the rest.

He or she will try to reduce their discomfort by controlling the situation.

The harder they work to reduce their discomfort, the more uncomfortable they’ll get.

The harder they try to escape their discomfort, the more trapped they’ll feel.

And that’s how you trap a human.




This is a book about control in general, and psychological monkeytraps in particular.

A psychological monkeytrap is any situation that temps us to hold on when we should let go — to control what either can’t or shouldn’t be controlled.

The world is filled with monkeytraps.  

As is the emotional life of every human being.

I learned this from practicing psychotherapy.

Therapy also taught me four truths:

1. We are all addicted to control. 

2. This addiction causes most (maybe all) our emotional problems.

3. Behind this addiction lies our wish to control feelings.

4. There are better ways to manage feelings than control.

I call these the Four Laws of control, and they structure the four parts that follow:

Part 1: Addiction is about the idea of control, and how it structures our lives and choices.

Part 2: Dysfunction is about the most common ways control addiction makes us (and those we love) sick and miserable.

Part 3: Emotion is about the real reason we try to control people, places, things, and ourselves.

Part 4: Alternatives is about moving beyond control addiction to healthier ways of responding to discomfort.

I plan to publish the first two parts online for free.  Then I’ll offer the entire book for sale in spring 2015.

Since this is a new way of looking at people and their problems, chapters will be kept bite-sized and spaced out, to give you a chance to chew on each idea as it emerges.  

Chapters you want to reread will be archived on the page titled Monkeytraps (The Book).

Feedback and questions are always welcome.





You may be used to thinking of control as a solution, not a problem.  

Fine.  Read on.

You may not think of yourself as a controlling person.  

Also fine.  Read on.

You may never have tried redefining your emotional problems as rooted in your wish for control.  

Terrific.  Read on.

A client once described his first Al-Anon meeting as “like a light coming on in a dark room.  Suddenly I could see all the furniture I’ve been tripping over all my life.”

That’s just what we’re going for here.

Welcome to the light switch.

* * *

We’re planning an online study/support group for readers who want to explore these ideas with me in real time.  Also coming, a group for therapists who want to integrate these ideas into their clinical work.  Both groups will be small, eight members at most, and meet weekly. Fee is $50 per 90-minute session, and group members may purchase Monkeytraps (The Book) at half price. Interested?  Write me: fritzfreud@aol.com.




8 responses to “(THE BOOK) Introduction

  • bejoubum

    YOU AGAIN! You, who seems to know me without ever meeting me. Hmmm…
    I’m anxious to buy your book, and work on letting go of that damned banana.

    • Steve Hauptman

      Thanks. I love it when people say they feel I know them. Confirms my suspicion I’m onto something. 🙂
      Looking forward to your feedback on the rest of it.

  • Simona

    Congrats on your book!!!

  • Susan Perretti

    I’m so excited that this book is becoming a reality!! I love the intro. It will be great to have these ideas at my fingertips. When I first started therapy with you some time ago, I had trouble wrapping my head around your theories about control, but every day I see more how control plays out in my life, for the good and for the not-so-good. Sounds so simple but it’s layered and complex, and so worth the work that goes into healing, understanding self and best of all the FREEDOM that comes with discovering and embracing your truth!! Good luck with the book – I look forward to reading more.

    • Steve Hauptman

      Thanks, Susan. I appreciate the encouragement, especially from someone who’s worked so hard and successfully to implement these ideas.
      And I love your description:
      It does sound simple, but it is layered and complex.
      Having stared at this stuff for so long, I sometimes forget the last part.
      So I really need you — and everyone who reads these chapters as they emerge — to give me honest feedback on what works for them and what doesn’t.

  • Lisa Marie

    Can’t wait for the book! Look forward to your posts every day! Have learned a lot from you already and had confirmed what I thought I knew but couldn’t put into words. Keep up the great work…excuse the sentence fragments, comes from too much texting….

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