It takes its name from the Asian method of trapping monkeys using heavy narrow-necked jars with bananas inside. The monkey smells the banana, reaches in to grab it, and trap himself by refusing to let go.
Stupid monkey, right?
Except we’re not so different. Our monkeytraps, though, are psychological.
A psychological monkeytrap is any situation which tempts us to try to control something we either cannot or should not control.
We spend our lives moving in and out of monkeytraps, over and over again. We do this waking and sleeping, consciously and unconsciously, out in public and in our most secret thoughts.
We’re so used to seeing control as a solution to problems we fail to notice it can be a problem in itself.
Why is it a problem?
Because the more we seek it, the unhappier we get.
In fact the most common symptoms people bring into therapy — anxiety, depression, addictions, broken communication, and unsatisfying relationships — are rooted in their addiction to control.
In other words, control is the most important overlooked idea of your life.
Here at Monkeytraps we believe that nothing is more important to human happiness than healing our relationship with control.
So we’re determined to learn all we can about it, and to share what we learn.
Please join us.
Steve Hauptman, LCSW is a Buddhist-flavored therapist practicing in Mount Sinai, New York. A Gestaltist and leader of Interactive Therapy groups, he is author of Monkeytraps: Why we try to control everything, and how we can stop, available here.
Bert is Steve’s inner monkey.