Avoidance Fusion and Pathology

Many of the problematic behaviors seen in PTSD may be the result of unhealthy avoidance strategies, fed by cognitive fusion. Steps taken to avoid experiential states may include directed thinking, rumination, and worry. These cognitive strategies are ways to distract oneself from current experience and the cognitive material associated with emotional content (Wells & Matthews, 1994). Worry and self-analysis seem to provide control over events but, in fact, have been shown to have minimal constructive benefit (Borkovec, Hazlett-Stevens, & Diaz, 1999) and may only serve to complicate psychological struggle. Numbing oneself to emotional responses or engaging in one type of emotional reaction as a way to avoid another (e.g., using anger to avoid hurt), and removing oneself from situations and personal interactions that elicit certain negative thoughts or emotions are all examples of avoidance maneuvers. A victim of trauma may spend large amounts of energy engaging in a number of these behaviors, avoiding feelings and thoughts associated with the trauma or activities that stimulate memories of the trauma (Shapiro & Dominiak, 1992). Avoidance and numbing are two of the more central aspects in a diagnosis of PTSD (American Psychiatric Association, 1994). Avoidance is not always negative, however. Some forms in some contexts may actually be healthy especially, if it is connected to more active methods of coping that help elaborate healthy repertoires, such as positive distraction. But if this coping process dominates, it may result in emotional numbness to cognitive and emotional material and may lead to prolonged problems.

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How To Win Your War Against Anxiety Disorders

How To Win Your War Against Anxiety Disorders

Tips And Tricks For Relieving Anxiety... Fast Everyone feels anxious sometimes. Whether work is getting to us or we're simply having hard time managing all that we have to do, we can feel overwhelmed and worried that we might not be able to manage it all. When these feelings hit, we don't have to suffer. By taking some simple steps, you can begin to create a calmer attitude, one that not only helps you feel better, but one that allows you the chance to make better decisions about what you need to do next.

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