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Dealing with Guilt Feelings

Guilt feelings arise when an inner accuser (self-representation 1) (<b>(</b><a href=””>Selbstrepräsentanz</a> 1) confronts an inner accused (self-representation 2), and the accused takes these accusations seriously. They are an expression of an unfruitful inner conflict and, in the social context, they lead to mutually blaming each other in the hope of getting rid of the guilt. After all, someone has to be the ‘perpetrator’. Clients often need support to recognise the uselessness of such activities, internally as well as externally. Therefore, with counselling techniques, <a href=””>Bewusstheit</a> (= recognising and experiencing), there is a possibility to work upon this uselessness, and thus, on the painful effects upon oneself and others. Usually, the counsellor must provide the impetus for this (“Why don’t we explore the implications this has, when you flood yourself (or others) with such accusations? What do you actually achieve by this?), as clients usually see guilt feelings as meaningful responses to events. Without recognising how great <a href=””>Destruktivität</a> the destructiveness of guilt feelings is, how one creates them and passes them on and thus stabilises unfavourable conditions, one will only be able to respond to criticisms from outside with strong conflict or withdrawal.

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