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Automated Behaviour

The more automatically clients react with certain behavioural or experiential responses (“then I simply had to …!”), the more important it is to help them, in a counselling technique way, to view these automatic responses as the result of unconscious schemata. Often, clients can only disengage from such reaction habits when they understand how they have acquired them. Those who are totally identified with a behaviour (“He simply deserved a telling off for that and he is going to get one, too!”), do not initially see a reason to change anything about it. Mostly, such problems are more likely to be raised in counselling because partners, colleagues, employees or children have difficulty with them.

As long as the client’s understanding provides him with plausibility (rules, norms, values), he, himself, will find everything in order. The client needs to understand why it is implausible for others that he thoughtlessly reacts with rage, outrage, withdrawal, breaking of relationship, accusations, fear, shame or guilt. This sometimes succeeds, when he can recognise that such schemas <a href=””>Schemata</a> have been acquired and are not a characteristic of his personality. Therefore, it makes sense, when the counsellor introduces hypotheses which help the client to get an inkling about the fact that he, himself, has once suffered under similar behaviour patterns which he now displays. Unfortunately, victims often become the perpetrators.

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