Describe and evaluate 2 approaches to the treatment of self-defeating behaviours.

Topics: Cognitive behavioral therapy, Self-esteem, Psychotherapy Pages: 6 (2373 words) Published: March 20, 2014
Describe and evaluate 2 approaches to the treatment of self-defeating behaviours.”

Self defeating behaviours are present in every person on earth once they have developed enough and are able to copy, consequently our parents and siblings contribute In this essay I intend to describe what self defeating behaviours are, how they arise and describe how cognitive behaviour therapy and/or a person centred approach can be helpful in treating the client who presents for therapy to make changes to their lives. What is a self defeating behaviour? One definition of self defeating behaviour is “any deliberate or intentional behaviour that has clear, definitely or probably negative effects on the self or on the self’s projects” (Scher & Baumeister 1988). How often do you hear someone saying ‘I have had a rubbish day I need a drink to calm myself down’ or, ‘I am going to treat myself to a cream cake to cheer myself up’? Theses actions are ok when done occasionally with no detrimental effects. However, if the individual is an alcoholic or morbidly obese the outcome for them could be catastrophic, even life threatening. They would not recognise their actions as being so as they see their response to the stress as normal and appropriate this can be described as a destructive coping strategy which in turn when repeated becomes a self-defeating behaviour (Module 5 p5). This is a subconscious response, a learned behaviour. The definition above suggests a conscious decision to deliberately sabotage the self, as on onlooker we would probably agree with that statement but the individual will see their action as a solution. There are a number of self defeating behaviours that will be recognised by us all over eating, excessive drinking, driving to fast, Beumister describes three categories of self defeating behaviour (Beaumister 2008) •Primary Self Destruction- when an individual deliberately harms themselves for instance cutting themselves or taking an overdose of pills. The individual foresees and desires the harm •Trade off – For instance someone takes up smoking, knowing it could cause cancer but knowing they can blame the cigarettes for the disease if it happens and not himself for taking up the habit. The individual foresees the harm but does not desire it. •Counter Productive Strategies – Teenagers fall into this category. Despite the advice of parents and teachers such as having unprotected sex. When an individual neither sees nor desires the harm which may result from their actions. I would suggest if an individual found themselves in the first two categories they may seek help but it is unlikely someone from the third category would feel the desire to seek help unless something drastic happened. As rational intelligent beings it seems ludicrous that we would want to cause ourselves harm so how does this kind of behaviour become part of our makeup? The probable cause for most people is low self esteem. Self esteem is described as ‘Confidence in one’s own self worth’ (Year One Module 4 p 11). If you are told often enough that you are stupid or useless you will believe the statements and continually live your life in such a way that it becomes true. For example, a person with low self esteem will choose a dead end job because they believe they are not capable of doing anything else. Low self esteem usually develops as in childhood. Parents who demand perfection from a child who can’t be perfect will cause the child to develop confidence problems leading to low self esteem, this leads to the individual who usually sets unachievable targets. Low self esteem manifests in many ways, the shrinking violet, the aggressor, the joker the perfectionist. Underneath these many guises is a person who feels unworthy and useless but to overcome they put on a false image. A study by Leith and Beaumister (1996) looked at the effects of bad moods on self defeating behaviours. The studies involved a number of students...

References: Chrysalis Diploma in Counselling and Psychotherapy -Year Two- How to work with Self-Defeating Behaviours - Module Five 08/2010-10307SC
Chrysalis Diploma in Counselling and Psychotherapy – Year One – Working with Stress, anxiety, phobias and habits -Module Five 1-50307SC
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Baumeister R Bushman B (2008) Social Psychology and Human Nature Thompson Higher Education Belmont CA 94002-3098
Rogers Carl R (1967) the therapists view of psychotherapy ‘on becoming a person’, Publisher Constable and Robinson, St Edmundsbury Press LTD Bury St Edmunds England
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