Monday, April 5, 2021

Helping our patients with experiential avoidance to move towards their values rather than running away from them

What we value the most is often what will give us the most pain. If we don’t value it, we wouldn’t care too much about it would we?

Values and pain are often on opposite sides of the same coin.

In counseling, one of the most common things we see in patients is “experiential avoidance”.

Avoidance of rejection
Avoidance of intimacy
Avoidance of failures
Avoidance of conflict
Avoidance of disappointments
Avoidance of the pursuit our dreams
Avoidance of the “unknown”
Avoidance of “the difficult path”

The mistake that many of us may do is to run away from our uncomfortable and painful feelings, and with such actions, we may unknowingly move away from our values and the life that we want to create. Avoidance may reduce our anxiety, but may worsen our low mood as we move away from our values.

If we want to move towards our values and create a life that we want, we may need to “make room” and “create space” for those inevitable uncomfortable feelings.

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