“You may be feeling overwhelmed by the number of new terms, theories, and practices you are learning. With all of the clinical information, you are consuming it can be easy to gloss over the concepts of transference and countertransference.
You know it makes sense that as a clinician you may be triggered by a client or you remind the client of someone they know. You may feel it’s common sense and it will be easy to identify in the clinical setting. However, transference and countertransference can be the areas that cause the most significant issues for you as a clinician. Here is why these concepts are a big deal and what you need to know.
What is transference? To define transference, start by thinking about the word transfer. When you transfer something, you move it from one place to another. The transference definition in psychology is when a client redirects their feelings from a significant other or person in their life to the clinician.
Think of it as the client projecting their feelings onto you as they would another person in their life. In most cases, the client experiences unconscious transference and is unaware that they are doing it. The client’s feelings transfer onto you and may be positive or negative. Transference in therapy is normal. Expect to experience transference in counseling and discuss any concerns you have with your supervisor.
Transference examples: The client places unrealistic demands on you. A client admires you and tells you how much you remind them of their best friend. A client displaces anger onto you during a session when talking about his abusive parent.
Why is transference a big deal? Transference has benefits in the counseling session. The client can relax and be real during the session allowing themselves to experience growth. As a clinician, you can utilize the transference as a tool to help the client gain insight into their strength to handle situations outside of the session. You can help your client to see their reality of the event they are dealing with.
Just as it can benefit the process, negative transference can hinder your client’s growth. If you become activated during transference and react negatively or defensively, it can stop the growth process. For example, if the client speaks to you in anger as they would to their partner and you personalize it, then you may miss an opportunity to help your client. Transference is a powerful way to improve your client’s ability change their behavior and gain insight.
What is countertransference? Countertransference is when you as the clinician transfer your feelings onto your client. Often clinicians don’t realize when this happens. The countertransference definition can be thought of as the clinician’s response to a client’s transference.
Countertransference is an excellent reminder that clinicians are human beings with feelings and emotions. During a session, a client may open up and bear their souls causing a strong emotional reaction. The experience of the clinician during the session can affect the outcome. Clients can remind you of someone you know currently or in the past. As a clinician, you need to be aware of countertransference at all times.
Countertransference examples: A clinician offers advice versus listening to the client’s experience. A clinician inappropriately discloses personal experiences during the session. A clinician doesn’t have boundaries with a client.
Why is countertransference a big deal? Countertransference can occur in many different ways and have adverse effects. It is a big deal when a clinician brings in their outside experiences and they lose their perspective which can lead to a reaction that hurts the client. Countertransference is common and can happen regardless of your years of clinical experience.
A crucial area to be aware of is erotic countertransference which is when the clinician experiences attraction, love, or sexual feelings towards a client. With strict ethical and legal guidelines, relationships with clients are prohibited. If you experience a strong reaction to a client, then you need to seek supervision for your countertransference.
Your awareness of transference and countertransference is crucial in your growth as a clinician. Remember that these occurrences are normal and don’t be afraid to seek supervision when they happen. Don’t jeopardize your career as a clinician because of your pride. Your openness to accept feedback and guidance from a seasoned clinician can help you sharpen your skills in this area as well as prevent you from harming your client.”
“The Buddha taught that to realize enlightenment, a person must develop two qualities: wisdom and compassion. Wisdom and compassion are sometimes compared to two wings that work together to enable flying or two eyes that work together to see deeply.
In the West, we’re taught to think of “wisdom” as something that is primarily intellectual and “compassion” as something that is primarily emotional, and that these two things are separate and even incompatible. We’re led to believe that fuzzy, sappy emotion gets in the way of clear, logical wisdom. But this is not the Buddhist understanding.
The Sanskrit word usually translated as “wisdom” is prajna (in Pali, panna), which can also be translated as “consciousness,” “discernment,” or “insight.” Each of the many schools of Buddhism understands prajna somewhat differently, but generally, we can say that prajna is understanding or discernment of the Buddha’s teaching, especially the teaching of anatta, the principle of no self.
The word usually translated as “compassion” is karuna, which is understood to mean active sympathy or a willingness to bear the pain of others. In practice, prajna gives rise to karuna, and karuna gives rise to prajna. Truly, you can’t have one without the other. They are a means to realizing enlightenment, and in themselves, they are also enlightenment itself manifested.
Compassion as Training In Buddhism, the ideal of practice is to selflessly act to alleviate suffering wherever it appears. You may argue it is impossible to eliminate suffering, yet the practice calls for us to make the effort.
What does being nice to others have to do with enlightenment? For one thing, it helps us realize that “individual me” and “individual you” are mistaken ideas. And as long as we’re stuck in the idea of “what’s in it for me?” we are not yet wise.
In Being Upright: Zen Meditation and the Bodhisattva Precepts, Soto Zen teacher Reb Anderson wrote, “Reaching the limits of practice as a separate personal activity, we are ready to receive help from the compassionate realms beyond our discriminating awareness.” Reb Anderson continues:
“We realize the intimate connection between the conventional truth and the ultimate truth through the practice of compassion. It is through compassion that we become thorougly grounded in the conventional truth and thus prepared to receive the ultimate truth. Compassion brings great warmth and kindness to both perspectives. It helps us to be flexible in our interpretation of the truth, and teaches us to give and receive help in practicing the precepts.” In The Essence of the Heart Sutra, His Holiness the Dalai Lama wrote,
“According to Buddhism, compassion is an aspiration, a state of mind, wanting others to be free from suffering. It’s not passive — it’s not empathy alone — but rather an empathetic altruism that actively strives to free others from suffering. Genuine compassion must have both wisdom and lovingkindness. That is to say, one must understand the nature of the suffering from which we wish to free others (this is wisdom), and one must experience deep intimacy and empathy with other sentient beings (this is lovingkindness).” No Thanks Have you ever seen someone do something courteous and then get angry for not being properly thanked? True compassion has no expectation of reward or even a simple “thank you” attached to it. To expect a reward is to maintain the idea of a separate self and a separate other, which is contrary to the Buddhist goal.
The ideal of dana paramita — the perfection of giving — is “no giver, no receiver.” For this reason, by tradition, begging monks receive alms silently and do not express thanks. Of course, in the conventional world, there are givers and receivers, but it’s important to remember that the act of giving is not possible without receiving. Thus, givers and receivers create each other, and one is not superior to the other.
That said, feeling and expressing gratitude can be a tool for chipping away at our selfishness, so unless you are a begging monk, it’s certainly appropriate to say “thank you” to acts of courtesy or help.
Developing Compassion To draw on an old joke, you get to be more compassionate the same way you get to Carnegie Hall — practice, practice, practice.
It’s already been noted that compassion arises from wisdom, just as wisdom arises from compassion. If you’re feeling neither especially wise nor compassionate, you may feel the whole project is hopeless. But the nun and teacher Pema Chodron says, “start where you are.” Whatever mess your life is right now is the soil from which enlightenment may grow.
In truth, although you may take one step at a time, Buddhism is not a “one step at a time” process. Each of the eight parts of the Eightfold Path supports all the other parts and should be pursued simultaneously. Every step integrates all the steps.
That said, most people begin by better understanding their own suffering, which takes us back to prajna — wisdom. Usually, meditation or other mindfulness practices are the means by which people begin to develop this understanding. As our self-delusions dissolve, we become more sensitive to the suffering of others. As we are more sensitive to the suffering of others, our self-delusions dissolve further.
Compassion for Yourself After all this talk of selflessness, it may seem odd to end with by discussion compassion for oneself. But it’s important not to run away from our own suffering.
Pema Chodron said, “In order to have compassion for others, we have to have compassion for ourselves.” She writes that in Tibetan Buddhism there is a practice called tonglen which is a kind of meditation practice for helping us connect to our own suffering and the suffering of others.
“Tonglen reverses the usual logic of avoiding suffering and seeking pleasure and, in the process, we become liberated from a very ancient prison of selfishness. We begin to feel love both for ourselves and others and also we being to take care of ourselves and others. It awakens our compassion and it also introduces us to a far larger view of reality. It introduces us to the unlimited spaciousness that Buddhists call shunyata. By doing the practice, we begin to connect with the open dimension of our being.” The suggested method for tonglen meditation varies from teacher to teacher, but it usually is a breath-based meditation in which the meditator visualizes taking in the pain and suffering of all other beings on each inhalation, and giving away our love, compassion, and joy to all suffering beings with each exhalation. When practiced with complete sincerity, it quickly becomes a profound experience, as the sensation is not one of symbolic visualization at all, but of literally transforming pain and suffering. A practitioner becomes aware of tapping into an endless well of love and compassion that is available not only to others but to ourselves. It is, therefore, a very good meditation to practice during times when you are most vulnerable yourself. Healing others also heals self, and the boundaries between self and other are seen for what they are—non-existent.”
“You are what you feel, not what you think. Feelings come first. They produce thoughts. Feelings shape your whole being from within. Everything is feeling-based at its core. Feeling is sound/vibration-based. First, there was vibration in the form of audible or inaudible sound and only out of sound was light born. At the beginning, there was Logos: the word, the sound, the vibration. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” (The Bible, John 1:1)”
“How does your brain know when you feel pain? How does it know the difference between the soft touch of a feather and a needle prick? And, how does that information get to your body in time to respond? How does acute pain become chronic pain? These are not simple answers, but with a little explanation about how the nervous system works, you should be able to understand the basics.
What the Nervous System Does Your nervous system is made up of two main parts: the brain and the spinal cord, which combine to form the central nervous system; and the sensory and motor nerves, which form the peripheral nervous system. The names make it easy to picture: the brain and spinal cord are the hubs, while the sensory and motor nerves stretch out to provide access to all areas of the body.
Put simply, sensory nerves send impulses about what is happening in our environment to the brain via the spinal cord. The brain sends information back to the motor nerves, which help us perform actions. It’s like having a very complicated inbox and outbox for everything.
The Role of Nerves in Identifying Pain Sensations Let’s say you step on a rock. How does a sensory nerve in the peripheral nervous system know this is any different than something like a soft toy? Different sensory nerve fibers respond to different things and produce different chemical responses which determine how sensations are interpreted. Some nerves send signals associated with light touch, while others respond to deep pressure.
Special pain receptors called nociceptors activate whenever there has been an injury, or even a potential injury, such as breaking the skin or causing a large indentation.1 Even if the rock does not break your skin, the tissues in your foot become compressed enough to cause the nociceptors to fire off a response. Now, an impulse is heading through the nerve into the spinal cord, and eventually all the way to your brain. This happens within fractions of a second.
The Role of the Spinal Cord in Pain Response Your spinal cord is a complex array of bundles of nerves, transmitting all kinds of signals to and from the brain at any given time. It is a lot like a freeway for sensory and motor impulses. But your spinal cord does more than act as a message center: it can make some basic decisions on its own. These “decisions” are called reflexes.
An area of the spinal cord called the dorsal horn acts as an information hub, simultaneously directing impulses to the brain and back down the spinal cord to the area of injury. The brain does not have to tell your foot to move away from the rock because the dorsal horn has already sent that message. If your brain is the body’s CEO, then the spinal cord is middle management.
The Role of the Brain in Interpreting Pain Even though the spinal reflex takes place at the dorsal horn, the pain signal continues to the brain. This is because pain involves more than a simple stimulus and response. Simply taking your foot off the rock does not solve all of your problems. No matter how mild the damage, the tissues in your foot still need to be healed. In addition, your brain needs to make sense of what has happened. Pain gets cataloged in your brain’s library, and emotions become associated with stepping on that rock.
When the pain signal reaches the brain it goes to the thalamus, which directs it to a few different areas for interpretations. A few areas in the cortex figure out where the pain came from and compare it to other kinds of pain with which is it familiar. Was it sharp? Did it hurt more than stepping on a tack? Have you ever stepped on a rock before, and if so was it better or worse?
Signals are also sent from the thalamus to the limbic system, which is the emotional center of the brain. Ever wonder why some pain makes you cry? The limbic system decides. Feelings are associated with every sensation you encounter, and each feeling generates a response. Your heart rate may increase, and you may break out into a sweat. All because of a rock underfoot.
Other Factors That Influence Pain Response While it may seem simple, the process of detecting pain is complicated by the fact that it is not a one-way system. It isn’t even a two-way system. Pain is more than just cause and effect. It is affected by everything else that is going on in the nervous system. Your mood, your past experiences, and your expectations can all change the way pain is interpreted at any given time. How is that for confusing?
If you step on that rock after you have a fight with your wife, your response may be very different than it would if you had just won the lottery. Your feelings about the experience may be tainted if the last time you stepped on a rock, your foot became infected. If you stepped on a rock once before and nothing terrible happened to you, you may recover more quickly. You can see how different emotions and histories can determine your response to pain. In fact, there is a strong link between depression and chronic pain.
When Acute Pain Becomes Chronic In this scenario, after your foot healed, the pain sensations would stop. This is because the nociceptors no longer detect any tissue damage or potential injury. This is called acute pain. Acute pain does not persist after the initial injury has healed.
Sometimes, however, pain receptors continue to fire. This can be caused by a disease or condition that continuously causes damage. With arthritis, for example, the joint is in a constant state of disrepair, causing pain signals to travel to the brain with little downtime. Sometimes, even in the absence of tissue damage, nociceptors continue to fire.1 There may no longer be a physical cause of pain, but the pain response is the same. This makes chronic pain difficult to pin down and even more difficult to treat.”
“The field of mental health is composed of many smaller parts, not all of which are considered a condition to be diagnosed.
Self-destructive behavior is one of those components.
It is seen as a symptom of other underlying dysfunction or psychological disorders that a person may be experiencing.
Though there have been studies that confirm self-destructive behavior is part of certain disorders, there is an absence of solid evidence that self-destructive behavior exists in people without underlying dysfunction or psychological diagnoses.
There are few studies or documented evidence that a typical person who meets the criteria for mentally and emotionally healthy will engage in self-destructive behavior.
It’s important to understand that this doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen. It just doesn’t happen often enough in people that would be considered mentally and emotionally healthy to be cited as a solid statistic.
As a result, self-destructive behavior is often looked at as a symptom of other underlying psychological issues.
The phrase “self-destructive behavior” covers a wide variety of types and severity of behavior.
Self-destructive behavior may be intentional or subconscious, impulsive or planned.
It can be either an action, series of actions, or a way of life that causes psychological or physical harm to the person engaging in the behavior.
It may start off small and escalate, even going as far as leading to death for some people.
The best way for a person struggling with self-destructive behavior to reach a favorable outcome is through early identification, intervention, and treatment.
Self-Destructive Behavior As A Coping Mechanism Emotional pain or trauma are some of the most common reasons for people to engage in self-destructive behavior.
The person substitutes healthier coping mechanisms for harmful coping mechanisms because it may feel better, may make the person feel more numb, allow the person to mask their genuine feelings, or they may just not know how to cope in a healthy way.
The individual may also use self-destructive behaviors as a form of punishment for a lack of control over themselves, their world, or their actions.
This type of self-destructive behavior also ties into what is considered to be a “cry for help.” The person may not know how to ask for help and engages in a visible destructive action to signal that they are in distress and need help.
A person who engages in self-destructive behavior may not be thinking from a rational or conscious place. They may be addicted to the feelings and feel a compulsion to engage in that behavior.
Self-Destructive Behavior As A Means To Exert Control The world is a chaotic place. People get tossed, turned, and dragged down paths they may not want to walk. Not all of them good or healthy.
Those that feel out of control of themselves and their life may engage in self-destructive behavior as a means to feel as though they have control.
The person may not have control over what their boss does, what their spouse thinks, whether or not they lose that job, whether or not they get approved for that loan…
…but they do have control over what they put in their body and how they treat themselves.
That person may not feel a compulsion or have an addiction to self-harm – they choose to do it, almost as an act of defiance in the face of whatever is making them feel like they are out of control.
There is a more difficult facet of this type of self-harm…
Regular self-destructive actions can become a part of a person’s personality. The person may cease to see it is as a thing they do as a coping mechanism and instead see it as a part of their identity, which makes the problem that much more complicated to fix.
As an example…
Brian works a stressful job. After work, he stops at the local bar to have a couple drinks to shed some of the day’s stress before he heads home for the night.
After Brian finds a new job, he may still find himself going out for those few beers because that’s just what he does. Substance abuse is a part of his routine, becomes a part of his identity, and it could be or evolve into alcoholism.
What Causes Self-Destructive Behavior? The question of what causes self-destructive behavior is an infinitely complex one because of how broad of a category self-destructive behavior is.
It can extend into every facet of life – friends, family, romantic, chemical, professional, food, and so many more.
Many people who engage in self-destructive behaviors are somewhat aware of their own destructive tendencies, but fail to do anything meaningful to stop or change them.
They may very well know the solution and make every excuse, find every reason to avoid stopping or changing.
Many self-destructive behaviors start off pleasurable. A person may start doing drugs or drinking to be able to feel good for a little while.
As the habit goes on, it stops feeling as pleasurable or it takes much more for the person to reach the point where they can derive a pleasurable feeling from the activity.
Addicts and alcoholics may eventually find themselves needing their drug of choice just to feel normal as their body and brain begins to need the substance to function.
At some point, those once pleasurable behaviors cease to be pleasurable and become a detriment to the person’s life.
Not all self-destructive behaviors are pleasurable. As an example, there are people who choose not to control their rage or anger. It may cost them friendships, relationships, jobs, safety, or stability.
They may see and understand that their anger issues are detrimental to their well-being, but they may refuse to change that behavior.
Though there is no single driving factor behind self-destructive behavior. The person may have unaddressed trauma or grief in their history. They could have unhealthy habits that have fostered through their general lifestyle.
They may be experiencing problems that they do not feel comfortable seeking help with. They may also engage in self-destructive behaviors to cope with the chaos and difficulty that life can throw our way.
What it is not is a weakness of character or a superficial desire to self-destruct.
People have this general need to find a reason behind actions or choices, but the reason often isn’t clear or may be purposefully hidden.
Emotionally healthy, happy people do not want to turn their life inside out with self-destructive behavior. If a person engages in self-destructive behavior, there is a reason that needs to be addressed with an appropriate certified mental health professional.
Traits Self-Destructive People May Share Though there are some traits that people with self-destructive behaviors may share, most people will not fall neatly into a perfectly packaged category.
Not all people with self-destructive behaviors will share these traits, so we should avoid trying to cram people into neat packages they don’t belong in.
Emotional dysregulation is a phrase that is used in mental health to denote an emotional response that falls outside of the scope of what is considered to be typical.
A person who experiences emotional dysregulation may act rashly or impulsively, display unnecessary aggression, or have emotional reactions that are not in line with what they are experiencing.
Emotional dysregulation is often a driving force behind self-destructive behaviors. It can result from brain injuries, early childhood trauma like neglect and abuse, or a variety of psychiatric disorders and mental illnesses.
People with emotional dysregulation may feel emotions with greater intensity or clarity. They may be a highly-sensitive or exceptionally emotional person.
It’s not necessarily negative. These individuals may also be more creative and empathetic than the average person.
A person may also have grown up in an invalidating, adverse, or toxic environment. That may include experiences like abuse, neglect, and abusively severe criticism.
The person may have been exposed to or raised by people who are emotionally unintelligent, invalidate emotions, or who, themselves, engage in self-destructive behaviors as a coping mechanism.
They may have been exposed to bullying by their peers at school, ostracization, or other social alienation throughout childhood.
Many people do not know how to process and cope with difficult emotions in a healthy way. They may decide to ignore their pain or deny that it exists by trying to turn off their emotions.
Unfortunately, emotions don’t work that way. They eventually start to come to the surface and some people turn to self-destructive behaviors like drugs and alcohol to self-medicate.
The person may find success in coping with their unwanted feelings in the short-term with these behaviors, but they get worse and more intense as time goes on.
Upon learning that one of these short-term solutions helps them find relief, the person is likely to go back to that behavior over and over for more relief, which can turn into dependence and addiction.
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11 Symptoms Of A Self-Loathing Mindset (+ How To Overcome It) Why Do I Hate Myself So Much? How To Stop Making The Same Mistakes Again And Again Types Of Self-Destructive Behavior There are numerous types of self-destructive behavior. It would be impossible to list out every example. Instead, these are some of the more common types of self-destructive behavior that people engage in.
Drug and alcohol abuse Substance abuse is one of the most common forms of self-destructive behaviors. It can easily lead to addiction, negatively impact relationships, and destroy opportunities and employment. It can also lead to other physical and mental health complications.
Self-harm Self-harm such as cutting may be used as a coping mechanism to deal with severe or extreme emotional disturbance. The person may even get addicted to self-harm.
Unhealthy eating Regular unhealthy eating habits, too much or too little, can lead to eating disorders like anorexia or bulimia.
Emotional eating can cause a person to gain weight, which not only has physical health ramifications, but may contribute to mental health issues like depression and anxiety.
Self-pity A person may wrap themselves in their suffering and use it as a shield to try to deflect responsibility.
As a result, it will damage their relationships and life as they may come to be seen as burdensome to deal with and they lose out on opportunities.
In general, people are compassionate and empathetic, but they always have a limit. Once that limit is reached, it will start to negatively affect the person who uses their problems as an excuse to not try new things or improve at all.
A person who regularly tells themselves they are not worthy, whether they believe it or not, may come to believe it as truth and stop taking healthy risks or trying to improve.
Self-sabotage The act of self-sabotage is setting oneself up for failure from the start. That may be the result of low self-esteem, as they may not feel as though they deserve to have good things or make positive strides in their life.
Self-sabotage may cost them relationships, jobs, and other opportunities that require a person to take some risk.
A good example of self-sabotage is the eternal pessimist; the person who can always find a reason as to why it’s not worth trying, why nothing will ever work out.
Social isolation People are generally social creatures. There are very few people who can survive no social interaction at all.
Even the act of being around other people provides different benefits from stimulating chemical production in the brain.
A person may isolate themselves from friends, family, and social networks as either an active or subconscious choice. They may convince themselves that they do not deserve to have the friends and family that they do and will act on making it so.
This may look like the person dropping contact and ghosting or picking fights and engaging in arguments to cause the other person to want to break contact.
Unnecessary spending The spending of money can evolve into a self-destructive behavior. Gambling and gambling addiction are well-established as self-destructive behaviors.
One can also include unnecessarily buying things from the internet, excessive shopping from brick and mortar stores, buying upgrades and currencies from mobile games or apps, or excessively donating to good causes.
Spending becomes an unhealthy behavior when it starts negatively impacting one’s ability to conduct their life, or if a person feels mentally compelled to spend when they are lacking the means.
Neglect of the self Neglecting oneself is a common and oftentimes severe form of self-destructive behavior.
The person may neglect to take care of their physical health, eat a good diet, get exercise, or visit a doctor for either regular checkups or when an illness arises.
Neglecting mental health may be refusing to take prescribed medications, attend appointments, or even acknowledge mental health problems at all.
The person simply refuses to do anything to protect or grow their health. The person may also refuse any outside help or advice.
Unnecessary martyrdom There are some people who use excessive self-sacrifice as an easy way to sidestep hard work.
They create this false narrative in their mind that their suffering is the only way that things will work out or be good for others. They stick to that false narrative instead of trying to improve themselves or their situation.
It’s a means to temporarily feel good about oneself by painting their actions as altruistic when the person is actually engaging in self-destructive behavior by using denial to avoid confronting their problems.
Sabotaging friendships and relationships The person may sabotage their friendships and relationships as a means to further reinforce and convince themselves that they are an awful person who is not worthy of friends or love.
The behaviors associated with sabotage include jealousy, possessiveness, excessive neediness, passive aggression, gaslighting, manipulation, or even violence.
The behaviors may either be a subconscious drive or conscious choice. Either way, they typically stem from the person’s belief that they are not worthy of love.
The Helper-Helpee Relationship A person’s self-destructive behaviors rarely only affect them. They typically spill out into their lives and affect the people around them.
Friends, relatives, or lovers may find themselves getting pulled into a helper-helpee relationship with a person who is displaying self-destructive behaviors.
Boundaries become an essential part of that relationship. The helper is likely to experience some negative impact on their life or well-being while in proximity to that kind of behavior.
While some people will interpret that as an unkind statement, it is worth remembering that excessive self-sacrifice can also be a common form of self-destructive behavior.
There is nothing unhealthy or wrong about healthy boundaries and expectations.
There are people who choose to get wound up in the suffering of others because it gives them a good reason to ignore their own problems. Or, they are trying to earn love from someone who isn’t in a position to give it.
Does that mean that a person shouldn’t try to be kind or understanding?
Not at all.
What it does mean is that we must always remember that you can’t help someone that doesn’t want to help themselves.
Destroying your own life or well-being for a person who won’t help themselves is not a solution.
Enabling another person’s self-destructive behaviors just makes them worse and harder to correct in the long-term.
It may also take much longer for that person to realize that they need to make a change if the people around them are tolerating excessive bad behavior.
A healthy support network can make a massive difference to a person’s ability to recover and find a better way to heal or manage their wounds. But, one must balance their willingness to help with maintaining their own well-being in the process.
Healing And Recovery From Self-Destructive Behaviors The process of self-improvement is long and sometimes difficult.
No one really wants to dig through the shadows of their past to unearth the things that have caused them great pain or suffering…
…but it’s necessary.
It’s necessary because we are all the product of our life experiences – good and bad.
The ability to process severe emotions, like those associated with trauma or grief, is not innate. It’s a skill that must be learned and practiced to help unwind those emotions so they can be put to rest.
That’s going to require a therapist or counselor for many people, as they can serve as an effective guide to help someone find their peace of mind.
If you or someone you love is engaged in self-destructive behaviors, the best choice is to seek personalized help from a certified mental health professional.”
“What is CBT? Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is a type of talking treatment which focuses on how your thoughts, beliefs and attitudes affect your feelings and behaviour, and teaches you coping skills for dealing with different problems.
It combines cognitive therapy (examining the things you think) and behaviour therapy (examining the things you do).
Making sense of CBT CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy) is one of the most common treatments for a range of mental health problems, from anxiety, depression, bipolar, OCD or schizophrenia.
“I have depression. [CBT is] very, very good for helping [me] not listen to [my] self critical voice, which is so damaging.”
What’s the theory behind CBT? CBT is based on the idea that the way we think about situations can affect the way we feel and behave. For example, if you interpret a situation negatively then you might experience negative emotions as a result, and those bad feelings might then lead you to behave in a certain way.
How does negative thinking start? Negative thinking patterns can start from childhood onwards. For example, if you didn’t receive much attention or praise from your parents or teachers at school, you might’ve thought “I’m useless, I’m not good enough”.
Over time you might come to believe these assumptions, until as an adult these negative thoughts become automatic. This way of thinking might then affect how you feel at work, university or in your general life.
If your negative interpretation of situations goes unchallenged, then these patterns in your thoughts, feelings and behaviour can become part of a continuous cycle:
How does CBT work? In CBT you work with a therapist to identify and challenge any negative thinking patterns and behaviour which may be causing you difficulties. In turn this can change the way you feel about situations, and enable you to change your behaviour in future.
You and your therapist might focus on what is going on in your life right now, but you might also look at your past, and think about how your past experiences impact the way you see the world.”