How to adapt cognitive therapy techniques to overcome obsessive self-defeating thoughts about past mistakes, and how to develop the wherewithal to make positive changes. The first step: write down all past errors, missed opportunities, etc., plus all gnawing thoughts associated with them; then pinpoint each ""thinking error"" according to 15 categories established by Freeman (Psychology/Univ. of Penn.). Next comes a three-columned list of what should have been done, what feasibly could have been done, and the likely consequences of each act. This presumably enables one to overcome negative thinking about the past. Improving one's life calls for writing down a dozen or so possibilities, eliminating all but the most feasible, listing the actions required to make these a reality, and rating the advantages and disadvantages of each action on a scale of 0-5. There's much more: numerous case histories, dissertations on the pitfalls of love, etc. Slim pickings plus writer's cramp.