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Descibe And Evaluate Two Approaches To The Treatment Of Self Defeating Behaviours

2848 words - 12 pages

Writtle College:

Kay Milton

Title: “Describe and evaluate two approaches to the treatment of self- defeating behaviour”

Word Count: 2774

In this essay I will describe what self defeating behaviours are and where they originate from, their causes and maintenance of the behaviour. As an example I will show two treatments that might be offered to help the presenting condition of depression in a person who suffered a stroke, and how they differ in their similarities. I will then give my own opinion and conclusion.
Many people, if not all of us will employ a self defeating behaviour in our life at some point. A Self-defeating behaviour is defined as a ...view middle of the document...

Sometimes the subconscious is working from out of date or incorrect information, and various kinds of therapy can help to start to alter these ideas and behaviours.
Beaumeister and Scher (1988) distinguished three models of self-defeating behaviour. These were based upon how intentional the behaviour was. (3)
The first model; ‘Primary self-destruction’ is when people deliberately seek to harm themselves. Examples of this type of behaviour are masochism and self-harming.
The second model is classified as ‘Trade-off’. This is when the person knowingly makes a trade-off in a situation. An example of this is when a person smokes; they know the relative risks involved, but they make the decision to trade off the risks against the (perceived) pleasure they get from smoking. They deny to themselves that any harm may come to them because of their actions.
“In the trade-off, people will deliberately choose to do something that they know will harm them, so that if they fail later they are able to blame their failure on the bad choice they previously made.”  
The third model of self-defeating behaviour is “counterproductive strategies.” This is where the person intends on doing something to help their situation, but unintentionally creates an even worse situation. Of course, no one can ever really know if a strategy will eventually pay off, so in  order for it to be classified as a self-defeating behaviour, it has to have become habitual; something that the person does repeatedly despite getting the same negative outcome. (4)
Some self-defeating behaviours are easy to recognise. Misuse of potentially damaging substances such as drugs, food or alcohol. These are easy to spot, because the person takes these things as a way of comforting themselves or to escape the realities of life. Sometimes emotional behaviours that are self-defeating are harder to spot. For example, a person may have extreme controlling tendencies, and can hide these, but this may not be apparent on the first few sessions. It is the job of the therapist to take on the role of detective in order to find out the issues/self-defeating behaviours that we may have. 
Other emotional self-defeating behaviours could be over confidence, under confidence, being incredibly defensive, aggressive or hostile. This could be caused due to an accident or injury. Perhaps the person has extreme shyness or an overly suspicious nature. Some people will use avoidance to extreme levels and this can gradually turn in to agoraphobia or severe social anxiety (5)
One of the solutions to self-defeating behaviour comes first from acceptance. We must accept that we are contributing to our problems and become aware of the main ways that we sabotage ourselves. We have all done it from time to time. We step into that hole in life and then do it again the next time! It seems as if we have learned nothing from our past experience. (6). Some typical self-defeating behaviours are: Procrastinating, avoiding...

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