>>58621>it's kind of a fatalistic view on the whole thing attributing the cause of real change to unnkown forces.
I think it's useful to acknowledge that no modality has understood psychological change, otherwise they'd be able to maximize it beyond every other one and there would a clear winner statistically. People do happen to change, even in therapy, it's just that it's completely random and has very little to do with the methodology itself. The funny thing is that even modalities that do the opposite things, produce the same outcome, meaning that they are so far off the mark that it doesn't really matter what they do at all, people will change but not consciously and deliberately.
The thing that all them have in common is that beyond their supposed elegant theory of change, in practice, change always boils down to brute-force. At some point, a person reaches an impenetrable wall of their psyche and they are forced to hit their head against it. This usually means suppression and dissociation from symptoms. For instance, in CBT, the idea is that rational arguments is what is needed for people to change their irrational beliefs (the cause of disturbances), yet in practice, it's never as elegant as someone following and accepting a rational argument, usually requiring the person months of so-called "practice" for them to actually accept the belief (or rather, work on suppressing the symptom long enough to appear as if change happened).
The change you describe is the change on the level of behavior. Certain approaches focus entirely on that, but as you've noticed, it's very shallow change. One could train oneself to act contrary to one's emotions and instincts, suppressing and dissociating from them and working on producing the "correct" behavior. Yet this shallow change is never permanent because it requires constant effort and maintenance, continually fighting against oneself, as such it's usually not sustainable in the long run.
Genuine psychological change, what some would call "transformational change" is very different. The markers of such change are symptom cessation, non-reactivation and effortless permanence. Meaning: symptoms disappear, can no longer be re-activated by usual triggers and the change persists without effort. Such markers indicate a change on a deeper level i.e. a klepto no longer reaches to steal, not because he catches himself with the urge and avoids it, but because he no longer has the urge in the first place. I don't believe there is a mainstream modality that even acknowledges this distinction between shallow and genuine change, let alone can re-produce it continually in therapy.
It's hard to say at what level should change be focused on. Both thoughts and behavior, in my opinion, are simply surface-level symptoms compelled by deeper structures. I've previously theorized that the proper level of inquiry is in perception, below the level of even reflexive thought, "how things appear to the person" initially without conscious deliberation. The question is always "why" does reality appear this way and what are the mechanisms/rules of change on this level i.e. why does the cigarette appear so enticing, why do people appear as a threat and so on. This is why when change actually happens on this level, there is an effortless permanence, there is no longer a need for one to reflexively catch oneself and react differently, proper thoughts and behavior trickle down from proper perceptions (or perhaps something deeper).
Anyway, I could write for hours on this subject, but I'll conclude by saying that my pessimism with the current tools available in psychotherapy doesn't mean that I believe genuine change is impossible or even improbable, simply that we are currently in the dark in regards to how change operates and therefore, unable to re-produce it on regular basis.