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Personal Responsibility and Avoidance

Personal responsibility consists of choosing if and how one has influence, i.e. how one experiences oneself as an agent, and where one is the victim. One can utilise the decision-making possibilities to view something, such as rules, norms or prohibitions as ‘set’ and unalterable. In that case, one becomes the victim of a fixed ‘truth’ (“This is the way it is!”). In psychology this is called introjection. Something foreign is perceived as one’s own, which is not alterable. In many cases this is dysfunctional, because one no longer questions limiting or misleading internal rules, and becomes the servant of acquired laws. The mirror image process occurs when one decides to attribute one’s own impulses or own imaginations to the outside. One sees oneself in others, and forgets this. This is then called projection. Here, too, the process becomes dysfunctional if, because of it, the freedom to influence is inappropriately reduced and one believes that others or other things must change, and not oneself. To put it bluntly: if you are at peace with yourself, you will not have unnecessary conflicts with the outside. If you are full of conflicts inside, it will create these outside, where they are not solvable. Therefore, for counselling, the analysis of that for which someone does not feel responsible, be it in his inner life or his outer world, is essential to help and understand the client.

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