Self Defeating Behaviours: Treatment (person-centred counselling)
Person-centred (PC) counselling was developed and introduced by Carl Rogers. PC counselling focuses on how we feel in the “here and now”, and helps people to take responsibility for their actions. The PC approach assumes that human beings have an innate capacity to heal themselves whilst the counsellor can offer help to eliminate any blocks preventing this process. The person’s subjective experience (including attitudes, beliefs etc.) is important. The counsellor’s empathy, congruence, and unconditional positive regard are also vital to the success of this approach.
The person often employs ‘defence mechanisms’ (similar to minimising the effect) where they deny or distort their perception to “fit” with their perception of themself. Once the person feels understood, accepted and safe, they are able to gradually open up and go deeper within themselves. They can then face attitudes or beliefs that were previously concealed thus becoming more aware of their true inner feelings.
Once the person is able to “own” their behaviour, valuing themselves in a positive light, they will be able to take responsibility for their own actions. They will soon realise that they are capable of coping with life independently without the necessity of employing any defence mechanisms and will be able to adopt new strategies instead of Self Defeating Behaviours. Next time, I will look at how a counselling session might be if the focus was on a self defeating behaviour.
For more information on person-centred counselling, search for person centred approach/ person centred therapy, or client centred therapy. There is a lot of information on the Internet about this.
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Baumeister, R.F. & Scher, S.J. (1988) Self-Defeating Behaviour Patterns Among Normal Individuals: Review and Analysis of Common Self-Destructive Tendencies. Psychological Bulletin, 104 (1), 3-22.
Brownson, C., & Hartzler, B. (2000) Defeat Your Self-Defeating Behavior Understanding & Overcoming Harmful Patterns (T1 082). The clearing house for Structured/Thematic groups and Innovative programs. Texas, USA. Accessed 6/1/19. http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download;jsessionid=BAECD64A429CAC98207F80C0FE3868CF?doi=10.1.1.434.2963&rep=rep1&type=pdf
Rogers, C. R. (1951) Client- Centered Therapy, London, Constable and Company Ltd.