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Daniel Rutley

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Escaping Emotional Entrapment
by Daniel Rutley   

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Publisher:  Pax Publishing ISBN-10:  0968740901 Type: 


Copyright:  January 2001 ISBN-13:  9780968740903

Daniel Rutley, Psy.D.
Daniel Rutley, Psy.D.

Dr. Daniel Rutley is the Best Selling author of Escaping Emotional Entrapment: Freedom from negative thinking and unhealthy emotions.

He is also the author of the ground-breaking audio-CD, Understanding the Opposite Sex: 5 keys to relationship enhancement and the home-study program - 8 Weeks to Life.

All of Daniel's material can be purchased on
Daniel Rutley is an inspirational, dynamic and captivating individual with a strong, unparalleled ability to help people take charge of their lives.
Throughout Escaping Emotional Entrapment, Daniel Rutley knows how to connect with his readers, showing them how to make a significant change in their lives.
Tens of thousands of people have benefited from his direct and simple approach to gaining emotional control and reaching their potential...personally and professionally.
In this best selling book, Dan will captivate and motivate you.
Gaining emotional control will make a profound difference in your career, in your relationships, and in your life. Daniel focuses on how to become more of who you want to be and how to take charge of your life, regardless of life circumstances.
Daniel Rutley not only makes sense, he makes a difference.
Please check out his other products on

From the Publisher

After reading the manuscript, we were sure we had a winner. After test marketing “Entrapment” we knew it!

Hundreds of copies were tested with clinicians, clients and the general public for readability, enjoyability and effectiveness. The result was immediate and universal acceptance.

The Difference is:

1. Powerfully written inciting action to make change and excitement to share with others*

2. Humor and warmth showing a systematic approach to developing emotional control and life improvement

3. Practical exercises make reading the book personally relevant and useful* with a step-by-step “What do I do?” in each section

4. Includes a Section on Fun & Fulfillment; the last Section is a book wrap-up & overview

- Using effective therapeutic techniques yet written in a simple, easy to understand style*

- Packaged with valuable information, each chapter encourages the reader to revisit it

- Provides solutions to internal conflicts and issues that “hits the nail on the head!”*

- Focuses on the “overcoming” of problems AND on moving beyond to fun and fulfillment

- Makes self-help reading enjoyable and entertaining with relevant, humorous examples

- Makes the reader stop, reflect and put to use the information he or she has just read!*

* Represents frequent comments from our test market

Escaping Emotional Entrapment
“It’s About You!”

This book is about you. It is about your feelings, your attitudes and you maintaining a positive direction in life.

Do you want to be more centered with a greater sense of confidence, be happier and more fun-loving? Do you want to have more energy and feel more enthusiasm yet be at peace within yourself? If you want to feel stronger and be in greater control so you will be free to advance in any other area of your life that you choose, unencumbered by negative unhealthy emotions…then this book is for you. If you really want to make a change, you can!

By developing better emotional control and breaking free of the unhealthy emotions that bind you, you can learn how to create a change that is so powerful it will literally change your life for the better. By becoming emotionally fit you will be happier, more fulfilled, centered and content, and better able to cultivate long-lasting healthy relationships.

Emotions rule! No matter what you are doing, if you are having a panic attack, in a fit of rage or sunken into the abyss of depression — your emotions will win out — your emotions will rule.

If you ask yourself what is more important, what you know or how you feel — you understand that what you know does not matter if you feel bad.
Like with physical health, if you do not have a strong and stable positive emotional outlook, the quality of your life drops dramatically.

Emotional Control vs Practical Advice

A myriad of therapists, counselors and well-meaning friends will give you advice on: developing your spirituality, the importance of relying on your intuition, enhancing your parenting skills or improving your relationships. As valuable and well intentioned this practical advice might be, seldom will it be followed if you are in any significant emotional distress.

The average person finds spirituality elusive when anxiety mounts over unpaid bills. Human beings have an almost infinite ability to talk themselves into anything, thus an overconfidence in intuition can be problematic if it is influenced by insecurities. The best advice on child rearing and relationships goes out the window if the person has inadequate emotional control getting angry, anxious or jealous easily. When one is in distress, the sound practical advice found in many self-help books, heard on TV and obtained from credible sources goes unheeded. Have you ever given wonderful advice to a friend only to have him or her ignore it?

The problem for many people is that they do not realize how severely their emotions impact their life. The decisions that people make are more determined by their emotional states than any other single factor. People often think, “It’s a logical decision” and that is why they made it. But if an option does not feel right, most people will not take it regardless of how sensible it is. The selection most people make is the one that feels right — logical or not. That is why we often observe others coming to conclusions that are clearly illogical and seem utterly absurd to us. This divergence occurs because we see their options and their decision in an unemotional light.
Emotions guide and color our decision process. This happens without being cognizant of it. Subconsciously. Below our level of awareness.

The Essence of Emotional Entrapments

When people have been tested, it’s found that their choice of mate, career, vacation, music and lifestyle plus much more are all impacted significantly depending on their emotional state. We are not normally conscious of how much our choices are altered by emotions. This is because our choices — whatever they may be — seem right, fit right and are congruent with our emotions at the time. Nothing seems out of place…at the time…until sometime the next morning when your feelings have changed and you think, “Why did I do that?”

If a woman is feeling unassertive and unconfident, this will guide her life into a very different direction — personally and professionally — than if she were feeling stronger and more daring. The problem is that after a while, wherever we are, it becomes comfortable. Natural. Seems to fit…sometimes even when it is uncomfortable, like in a difficult relationship. There’s a tendency to develop a “that’s just the way it is” attitude. We get into a rut, stuck, comfortably uncomfortable and do not know how to get unstuck. This is the essence of emotional entrapment.

But this is not the way is has to be. Emotional entrapments like depression, anxiety and anger are more like bad habits that are subconsciously developed, nurtured and raised without any conscious desire or intent.

Simply put, we were not taught emotional control as children. Do you remember sitting down with your family and your father saying, “Okay family, I’d like for us to talk about the dynamics of how to control our emotions”? It didn’t happen. They did not teach it in school or in your religion, and we sure did not learn it from our friends or siblings. No one knew how to control emotions.

In the mid-1900s, psychology knew very little about emotional control. There was a fair amount of study on how to change behavior but not emotions. Today, there is an immense amount of available information on emotional control. We can now break free and escape emotional entrapments. Liberate ourselves. Learn to soar like an eagle instead of being destined to hug the ground like a tortoise.

After giving a lecture on the dynamics of escaping emotional entrapments, an elderly man came up to me, introduced himself and said, “You know, I’ve lived over 80 years and it never came to mind that I could make a decision to change my emotions.” That is what this book is about: Learning to control your emotions so that you may choose a full spectrum of healthy emotions. You can choose to be passionate or pensive, ecstatic and excited or calm and relaxed. Yes, how you feel really can be a choice. Now you are going to learn what countless generations before you did not know.

This is a book about choices. Choosing how to think. Choosing how you feel. Ultimately, choosing how your life will continue to develop. How you think and feel will determine the choices you make and the actions you take.

Escaping Emotional Entrapment: Freedom from negative thinking and unhealthy emotions is about delivering you from the emotions that can enslave you.
These emotions bind you, sometimes subtly but always impact the direction of your life significantly and negatively.

Depth and Breadth of Experience

This book is written with you in mind. It is strategically written so you can clearly and easily see how to understand yourself and gain better control over your emotions.

Escaping Emotional Entrapment combines a diversity of disciplines that will help you view yourself and your life with greater depth and breadth.
Escaping Emotional Entrapment embraces both the spiritual (examining the “spirit” of who you are) and the scientific (accepted, reliable constants within our physical world).

A collaboration of complimentary disciplines in my life affords me a unique outlook that is shared in Escaping Emotional Entrapment and provides for improved and synergistic learning to you, the reader. Individual psychology permits an understanding of how we can deceive ourselves and how to grow beyond ourselves. Social psychology examines how groups work, while anthropology and history presents a wide base of cultural understandings across time for perspective. Combine these with my love of the physical world (i.e., physics and astronomy) then add philosophy as a foundation for guidance and stability and this is the background for the development of Escaping Emotional Entrapment. Because this is more than a profession, it is a way of life for me — it makes me uncustomarily qualified to act as your guide through the labyrinth of your emotional world.

With over 20 years in counseling, teaching and lecturing, I remain interested, curious and fascinated with people…always wanting to pass the information I learn onto others. Have you ever been to a professional of any kind — physician, lawyer, investment broker — and they talk to you using the terminology of their profession? I have and it’s frustrating and often belittling. This book is for you. No jargon. Just plain language and good communication.

It’s from a particular context or framework that we view ourselves and our world. From time to time, and especially if we are in distress, it becomes important to “reframe” our outlook on life so that we develop into happier and more productive people. Inside these pages you will find a reframing of our most common emotional entrapments into healthier emotions and ultimately joy, fun and fulfillment. Reframing gives you the advantage of looking at life differently, adding to the number of ways you can think about your experiences. This contributes to a greater psychological flexibility, a vast behavioral liberty and an immense emotional freedom.

Thinking and Feeling Intertwine

We have three primary colors. Psychologically speaking, we have three primary irrational concepts. They are:

Amplifying Negatives
Assessments of Self-Worth

When we utilize these philosophies, we get ourselves upset or distressed. Depending on the combination and to what degrees each of these concepts are applied will largely give us the full spectrum and variation of emotional entrapments.

The three primary unhealthy emotional groups that other unhealthy emotions stem from are: depression, worry/anxiety and anger. These three areas are the focus of Escaping Emotional Entrapment. Those who experience other intense unhealthy emotions will also derive significant benefits from applying the concepts herein.

Jealousy, which is another strong unhealthy emotion, most often consists of anger masking significant amounts of anxiety (insecurities) and qualities of depression (self-pity). By reading and applying the principles in Escaping Emotional Entrapment, jealousy will minimize significantly though it was not discussed directly.

Each person is unique and has a unique relationship with his or her problem area. There are dozens of doorways that lead to the solution of any given emotional entrapment. You will find an abundance of examples and illustrations throughout; each designed to enter a different doorway.

To assist you in getting the most out of your reading time and to aid you in relating to the material, there is a “Section Preface” at the beginning of each section. This contains a short one-minute exercise to help you apply what you are reading to your personal life. Or it may provide you with ideas or thoughts to keep in mind when reading that section. It is important not only to read but to read actively – in other words, apply the material directly to you and your own life. In this way, you can make Escaping Emotional Entrapment more personal and meaningful to you.

Wisdom Never Goes Out of Style

Escaping Emotional Entrapment takes you through a series of stages. Each stage will help you develop the necessary skills to make the required change so that your life is far more enjoyable, productive and playful. Now aren’t those the primary goals we have in life?
Throughout each chapter there are practical applications or chunks of information that you can instantly apply and practice to make your desired change long lasting or permanent. By showing you how to escape emotional entrapments by design — systematically — you can also learn how to solve or avoid them in the future. In this way, you can live with less emotional upset and to some degree, with fewer of life’s difficulties.

Most practical problems (relationship conflict, death of a loved one, loss of a job, paying bills, etc.) are accompanied by an emotional problem, such as depression, anxiety or anger among others. These emotional problems actually make solving the practical problem more difficult.

Unfortunately, most people attempt to deal with the practical problem first, in an effort to feel better. This is often ineffective since many lifestyle problems are out of our control or are next to impossible to solve while we are emotionally entrapped. For example, it’s difficult to increase or improve communication, trust and sexuality with a partner when you remain hurt and angry. By alleviating the emotional entrapment, you can relax and view the situation from a different perspective. Solving the practical lifestyle problem then becomes more probable. Everything is easier when seen from a position of strength. By the time you complete Escaping Emotional Entrapment you, ideally, will be well on your way to leading a happier lifestyle.

My goals in writing Escaping Emotional Entrapment are: to leave the reader with as few self-defeating behaviors and negative emotions as possible — particularly depression, anxiety and anger — and to increase productive behaviors and positive emotions, such as joy, fun and a sense of personal fulfillment. It is also important for the reader to develop an attitude of being self-aware as to ensure continued positive emotional freedom. It will become self-evident that there are other goals interlaced throughout these pages, such as self-acceptance, self-interest, self-direction, flexibility, tolerance, commitment, fun and fulfillment.

The Past is Silent

This book is rather uncommon in the array of self-help books because of what it is lacking. It will become apparent to anyone who has read a number of other self-help books that Escaping Emotional Entrapment focuses almost entirely on the present and the wonderful possibilities of the future.
(The only exception is a forgiveness/self-acceptance exercise that puts your past to rest and starts off the first chapter.) What is lacking is any discussion about your childhood, your parents or how the past has treated you. The past is just that, past. What you make of today is what is important.

“Isn’t the past important?”
Most definitely it is. But the past does not determine your future. You do!
You see, when a significant event in the past occurs we learn a lesson and develop an attitude from it. If the lesson or attitude is a good one (i.e., Although things went badly for me and I made mistakes, I can still like myself) then emotional health and growth follows. If the attitude is irrational or does not make logical sense (i.e., Because things went badly for me and I made mistakes, it means I’m a worthless, useless person) then emotional distress follows.

All therapies attempt to create an attitudinal change. If your attitudes have not changed at the end of therapy (or Escaping Emotional Entrapment for that matter), then the process was not successful. Instead of creating change by taking a detour through your past, my attempt is to create an attitudinal change by directly focusing on current attitudes that are causing distress and interfering with your happiness today.
If you are in emotional distress, your attitudes will be the primary source.
When I talk of emotional distress I am referring to sustained unhealthy negative emotions, such as depression, anxiety, worry, guilt, and anger. These contrast sharply from healthy but negative emotions, such as sadness, remorse, concern, annoyance, irritation and frustration.

Unhealthy emotions help to keep you
stuck, immobilized and you will feel trapped in them. By contrast, healthy negative emotions make their mark in your memory to help you learn to avoid the situation in the future; the discomfort created provides the impetus to make change. Healthy negative emotions are appropriate in intensity and duration to the problem, and when all is said and done, you have benefited and grown from the experience. It is self-evident that fun and fulfillment are healthy.

Escaping Emotional Entrapments starts with the foundation to all mental health: a generous dose of self-love and unconditional self-acceptance. The following section explains how emotions are created and how you can gain excellent control over them. There are three basic irrational areas of thinking that tend to produce emotional entrapments. Each area and how to free yourself from these mental entrapments will be discussed in detail in Sections III, IV and V. Sections VI through VIII will look at the three primary emotional entrapments — depression, worry/anxiety and anger that create the myriad of other emotional entrapments that are so commonplace. While Section IX focuses on making life fun and fulfilling, the last section “Bringing It All Together” is a review and quick reference guide to escaping emotional entrapments. There is a “how to” guide at the end of each section called “What do I do?” followed with “Section Highlights.”

FUN-damentals of Emotional Freedom

I do not know if you have ever been to see a therapist. When I would go to conferences or symposiums, I found many therapists rather…stuffy. They were usually so serious. I know psychology and clients’ issues are important, but being serious, solemn and somber helps no one to feel better.

Oscar Wilde once said that “Life is too important to be taken seriously.” I believe he was right.

This is why after more than twenty years as a therapist, I have transformed my role to one of a “Personal Emotion Trainer”: training individuals to gain excellent emotional control. It’s my belief that psychology can do far better than just helping someone not to be depressed, not to experience anxiety or not to get angry. Psychology can be used to advance each individual’s primary goal: to be happy and have a long, fun and fulfilling life.

The founder of the Humanistic movement of the 1970s — Abraham Maslow — believed that if you were going to study the human being, it was important to study the high achievers as well as those who struggle through life. It allows for a basis of comparison and provides a goal to aim for. Escaping Emotional Entrapment is designed to help you take the struggle out of your emotional life and at the same time to provide you with the tools to enhance and enrich your daily experience.

If I went to a therapist and she was not having more fun than me, I would question how much she has to teach me. With over two decades working as a therapist myself, I am acutely aware of how important it is to do the anti-depression or anti-anger work. What I have found is that people who are depressed are not playing and laughing enough. People who are angry are taking themselves and life far too seriously.

Remember that importance does not equal seriousness. Your vacations, I assume, are important to you, but God forbid that you treat them seriously. So I would invite you to read a light-heartedness into the most important words on the pages herein. Perform the section exercises with a playfulness and you will go much further.
Adults almost seem hesitant to be playful and most definitely do not treat “play” as a way of life. The philosopher Voltaire said,

“God is a comedian playing to an audience that’s afraid to laugh.”

Do not be afraid to be childlike and to laugh at the absurdities of life. Do not be afraid to look inside and ask the difficult questions either. You will find the answers to be truly freeing and empowering.

Michelangelo said that in a mound of clay the statue of perfection already exists, he simply removes the clay that hides the masterpiece. Escaping Emotional Entrapment is about removing the emotional clay that hides a masterpiece: you.

You really are a masterpiece, unique and exceptional in many ways. Believe in yourself. Trust in yourself. And in the same vein as Socrates: Know yourself…there is no-thing and no one more important to know.
Daniel Rutley

Professional Reviews

John Gray, Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus
"If you want a happier, healthier relationship, this book offers practical advice to help you achieve just that. A building block for an emotionally enriched life."

Albert Ellis, Ph.D., A Guide to Rational Living, President of the Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy Institute
"Daniel Rutley's Escaping Emotional Entrapment is an excellent self-help book that clearly and succinctly states some of the principles of Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy and other sensible procedures. It can help many individuals with emotional problems."

Denis Waitley, Ph.D., Psychology of Winning
"Gaining emotional control empowers you to make choices that are normally out of reach. Using humor and insight, 'Entrapment' is a straightforward, common sense approach to bring out the very best in you."

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