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Avoidance Strategies

If you prevent a situation arising which you could not cope with, or believe you could not cope with, internally or externally, it is not wrong as such. How does this become dysfunctional? It does so when, by avoiding it, one does not solve the problem, but rather on the contrary, maintains or even strengthens it, or makes its repetition more likely. Dysfunctionality occurs when one must avoid the problem, i.e. when there is no internal conscious decision at the bottom of it. What do avoidance strategies avoid? They avoid becoming conscious of a need and the unpleasant feeling associated with it. Because one cannot be had without the other, one avoids both. This is just as comprehensible as it is unhappiness producing. Therefore, it is dysfunctional and so a core focus of every effective counselling. There are endless numbers of avoidance strategies. Our descriptions here serve to illustrate the immediate connection with the psychological guiding processes.

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