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Function of Performance

It is inherent in people to perform. It is the expression of the desire to freely unfold their strength, to apply themselves with the wish of achieving something special, or to be useful for the community and to acquire a secure grounding in life. Achieving a performance, and the effort attached to it, becomes dysfunctional when it is not about taking pleasure in the doing and joy of success, but rather in balancing a feeling of inferiority, in compensating for the feeling of only being wanted or tolerated under certain conditions and, finally, in replacing a lack of love through admiration. Then doing something becomes a substitute for being something. For those who identify with what they do (“I am my success!”), the self is always at stake (“not: “I am making a mistake,” but “I am a mistake.”) and for them much collapses when the action is not as successful as hoped. This (unconsciously) creates permanent stress. Therefore, particularly in the high-performance context, the counsellor must watch out for which function the performance carries internally for the client. Otherwise the essential issue remains unprocessed, or the counselling even exacerbates the dysfunctional state in the client.

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