A little bit more about avoidance

“Every psychological defense has an element of avoidance, in that the purpose of the defense is to protect the individual by minimizing or excluding from awareness of a realization, a disturbing memory, or a “trauma-reliving” part of self. It makes sense, both theoretically and practically, to think of this type of avoidance as a separate mental action from actual activation of the trauma “reliving.” An avoidance defense contains dysfunctional positive affect of relief or containment, in contrast to the dysfunctional negative affect of the material that is being avoided.” EMDR Toolbox, Jim Knipe

In schema therapy we talk about avoidance as a coping strategy and it can manifest in different forms:

  • – avoidance of intimate relationship
  • – avoidance of close involvement with others in personal and business life, not confiding in others
  • – withdrawing and isolations
  • – avoidance of sharing shameful thoughts and feelings
  • – procrastination on decisions
  • – avoidance of acting independently or taking normal adult responsibilities
  • – procrastination on work tasks