Describe and Evaluate Two Approaches to the Treatment of Self-Defeating Behaviour

Topics: Cognitive behavioral therapy, Anorexia nervosa, Motivation Pages: 9 (2596 words) Published: March 31, 2013
Word count – 2553

Describe and evaluate two approaches to the

treatment of self-defeating behaviour.

Module Five

Jane Ovington

May 2012

Jane Ovington - Chrysalis North2A - Tutor , Steven Lucas, page 1 of 9


This essay aims to describe and evaluate two approaches to the treatment of self defeating behaviour. To do this I am using the description of Anorexia Nervosa as a self defeating behaviour, one which has far reaching consequences. I will include possible origins, causes and maintenance of Anorexia and describe two of many ways in which a therapist may help with this condition whilst weighing up the strengths and weaknesses of each. Main essay

What is self defeating behaviour?
Self defeating behaviour could be described as behaviour that when compared to other possible courses of action, it is never the best possible action for that individual. A self defeating behaviour will at some point have been used successfully as a coping strategy to get through a difficult situation. This course of action is then stored in the subconscious by that individual as something that ‘worked’ and therefore the behaviour will be re-produced again in times of perceived trouble. The self defeating behaviour will by its very nature actually serve to ensure that the fear or consequence that the person is trying to avoid will in fact come to pass. (Chrysalis Year 2 Module5) What is Anorexia?

Anorexia is an eating disorder whose main feature is excessive weight loss and obsessive exercise. A very low weight is achieved which is then maintained abnormally low for the patients age and height.

The sufferer develops an intense desire to be thinner and an intense fear of becoming fat. Their body image becomes completely distorted and their body weight and shape become the main or even sole measure of self worth as maintaining an extremely low weight becomes equated with beauty, success, self-esteem, and self-control.

It is not seen as a problem by the sufferer.

Jane Ovington - Chrysalis North2A - Tutor , Steven Lucas, page 2 of 9

Contrary to popular belief this psychological and physical condition is not usually about food. It is a self defeating behaviour used as a way of taking control and trying to make life better and is accompanied by a variety of changes in behaviour, emotions, thinking, perceptions, and social interactions.

The name Anorexia nervosa is somewhat misleading as it literally means "nervous loss of appetite." However, for people with this disorder all waking thoughts are dominated by food, weight, and body image and incredible levels of self control are used to fight feelings of intense hunger. ( Approximately 95% of those affected by anorexia are female and most often teenage girls. Higher incidence of anorexia is often seen in environments where thinness is deemed to be especially desirable or a professional requirement, such as athletes, models, dancers, and actors.

In order to enter the state of Anorexia Nervosa, a person must lose weight. The majority set out to do so deliberately because rightly or wrongly they feel that they are too fat.

For most people, dieting to lose weight is a struggle. Most dieters 'cheat' or give up before they lose all the weight which they had intended to shed and for those who do reach their intended weight there is a measure of satisfaction and re-education of eating habits which allow them to maintain a healthy weight.

In contrast, the soon to be anorexic finds slimming easy, rewarding and something they can be good at from the start, something they can control which brings feelings of success, power and triumph.

The sense of satisfaction gained from the suppression of hunger and the level of self denial required to be successful is frequently reported...
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