An activity or behavior used to display the performance of specific skills or character traits rather than being done for the obvious, ordinary goal of the action or behavior. The performance is ultimately aimed at getting approval.


The SoS term Vehicle is used throughout this work with a meaning special to this Method. It refers to an action, activity, event, or behavior used subconsciously as a tool or means to achieve a surrogate Sense of Self. Receiving the caregivers approval induces a state of “Feel-good-about-yourself”, which substitutes for an abiding sense of being a real person.


In absence of the parent/caregiver the internalized judge, The Internalized Parental Voice (IPV) gives this approval.


So, the activity that serves as the Vehicle is only a tool, or a (subconsciously operating) cover–up, for creating an opportunity to experience success in achieving a good result with living up to a subconsciously-accepted condition or requirement for being or behaving, which is based on the parent’s criteria.


That success is expected to lead through to the Hidden Goal of “Feeling-good-about-yourself” which functions as the unhealthy version of a sense of being a real person.


In the sequence of what goes on inside a person’s subconscious when they have Indirect Motivation, selecting a Vehicle-of-the-moment is the first step:


Here is an example of using an activity as a Vehicle: Learning to play a musical instrument to ultimately get the acceptance of your mother or – later in life when your mother is gone – the Internalized Parental Voice. This is how that works:
• Vehicle: Practicing a musical instrument in order to get your mother’s interest and attention, which leads you to performing your
• Ego-Reference, a condition or requirement that you have to live up that will result in accomplishing your
• Hidden Agenda of being listened to or admired and getting your mother’s approval, which results in
• “Feeling-good-about-yourself”
• which functions as your Substitute Sense of Self.


The goal of being a musician is not to simply enjoy making music.


The need for approval in order to feel alive is so compulsive and so desperate that fulfilling these Ego-References is experienced as a matter of life and death. They are adopted in early childhood – and they operate throughout life – below conscious awareness.


In this case the ordinarily expected goals of the activities and behaviors are not the real goal but the desired psycho-emotional result of “Feel-good-about-self” is. That is why the motivation that instigates them is being called Indirect Motivation.


If an activity or behavior is functioning as a Vehicle towards a Hidden Goal, then the actual quality or result of the activity or behavior is likely to be not very successful, for a variety of reasons. In other words, using an activity or behavior as a Vehicle subverts the quality or success you expect from the actual activity or behavior itself.


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