Self Defeating Behaviour

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“Describe and evaluate two approaches to the treatment of self-defeating behaviour. The approaches should be selected from those introduced in module 5.”

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“Self-defeating behavior is the idea that sometimes people knowingly do things that will cause them to fail or bring them trouble. It is defined as “any deliberate or intentional behavior that has clear, definitely or probably negative effects on the self or on the self’s projects.” (Wikipedia: Self-Defeating Behavior) The concept of and theories behind why a person behaves in ways that are self-defeating is one that has been examined by many psychological approaches over time. In this essay I will define and explain self-defeating behaviours, their origins, causes and reasons for maintaining them, together with examples of such behaviours. Subsequently I will focus on two approaches to addressing self-defeating behaviours, incorporating similarities and differences. I will then give my personal thoughts as a student counsellor. The origins of self-defeating behaviour can often be traced back to childhood. One trigger may be constant criticism whereby the child is told that he/she can never do anything right, is useless and so on. This can lead to the child engaging in self-defeating behaviour that reinforces their resultant poor self-image. If the parent(s) are seen as the most important people in the child’s life, fear of disappointing them, or of not being able to meet their standards or expectations can result in developing self-defeating behaviour. The child may not even try to attempt a task for fear of failure. Too much emphasis placed on competition with other children in the family for example, may reinforce feelings of failure; of losing and could create the reaction of freezing up or self-sabotage if under pressure as an adult. In essence therefore, learned responses and patterns of behaviour and reactions create a programme of the child’s



Bibliography: Lieberman, D.J. (1997). Instant Analysis. New York. St Martin’s Griffin Hadley. J & Staudacher, C. (2001). Hypnosis for Change. New Delhi, India. New Age Books Wikipedia:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cognitive_behavioral_therapy Wikipedia:www.wikipedia.org/wiki/Free_Association_(Psychology) Wikipedia:www.psychwiki.com/wiki/Self-Defeating_Behavior

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