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12. Affect Management


  • Be able to describe scripts for managing negative affect, how they develop, and how they might be modified.
  • Discuss applications of script theory for recognizing patterns of managing fear/distress/ anger/shame, etc. Can you give examples from personal or clinical experience?


EA, “Script Theory,” pp. 364-388.

Bulletin, v2, #1, 1995, Donald L. Nathanson, “Scripts, Therapy, and the Movies,” pp. 1-3.

Discussion Questions:

  1. Describe three types of affect management scripts. What is the aim of each type?
  2. Does use of a sedative increase or decrease as the sedative becomes more effective?
  3. How does a sedative script evolve into preaddictive script?
  4. How does an addictive script manage negative affect?
  5. What happens when addicts miss their addictive substance?
  6. Tomkins speaks of a “conjunction of greed and cowardice” in the nuclear scripts. What does he mean?
  7. Can the nuclear script succeed in reversing a bad scene into an idealized good one?
  8. Will it be easy to renounce this goal?
  9. What types of bad scenes and good scenes play central roles in nuclear scripts?
  10. What is reciprocal magnification and how does it keep nuclear scripts from resolving?
  11. What is a “scarcity script”?
  12. How might you use script theory to explain personality change?