About Adoptee Rage

Statistics Identify large populations of Adoptees in prisons, mental hospitals and committed suicide.
Fifty years of scientific studies on child adoption resulting in psychological harm to the child and
poor outcomes for a child's future.
Medical and psychological attempts to heal the broken bonds of adoption, promote reunions of biological parents and adult children. The other half of attempting to repair a severed Identity is counselling therapy to rebuild the self.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Avoidance Coping Mechanisms in Adopted Children and Adult Adoptees

ADOPTEE RAGE!

Avoidance Coping Mechanisms In Adopted Children and Adult Adoptees
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Experiential avoidance


Experiential avoidance (EA) has been broadly defined as attempts to avoid thoughts, feelings, memories, physical sensations, and other internal experiences—even when doing so creates harm in the long-run.The process of EA is thought to be maintained through negative reinforcement—that is, short-term relief of discomfort is achieved through avoidance, thereby increasing the likelihood that the behavior will persist. Importantly, the current conceptualization of EA suggests that it is not negative thoughts, emotions, and sensations that are problematic, but how one responds to them that can cause difficulties. In particular, a habitual and persistent unwillingness to experience uncomfortable thoughts and feelings (and the associated avoidance and inhibition of these experiences) is thought to be linked to a wide range of problems.



Psychodynamic

Defense Mechanisms were originally conceptualized as ways to avoid unpleasant affect and discomfort that resulted from conflicting motivations. These processes were thought to contribute to the expression of various types of psychopathology. Gradual removal of these defensive processes are thought to be a key aspect of treatment and eventually return to psychological health.

Process-Experiential

Process experimental therapy merges client-centered, existential and Gestalt approaches. Gestalt theory outlines the benefits of being fully aware and open to one's entire experience. One job of the psychotherapist is to "explore and become fully aware of [the patient's] grounds for avoidance" and to "[lead] the patient back to that which he wishes to avoid" (p. 142). Similar ideas are expressed by early humanistic theory theory: "Whether the stimulus was the impact of a configuration of form, color, or sound in the environment on the sensory nerves, or a memory trace from the past, or a visceral sensation of fear or pleasure or disgust, the person would be 'living' it, would have it completely available to awareness…he is more open to his feelings of fear and discouragement and pain…he is more able fully to live the experiences of his organism rather than shutting them out of awareness."

Behavioral

Traditional behavior therapy utilizes exposure to habituate the patient to various types of fears and anxieties, eventually resulting in a marked reduction in psychopathology. In this way, exposure can be thought of as "counter-acting" avoidance, in that it involves individuals repeatedly encountering and remaining in contact with that which causes distress and discomfort.

Cognitive

In cognitive theory, avoidance interferes with reappraisals of negative thought patterns and schema, thereby perpetuating distorted beliefs. These distorted beliefs are thought to contribute and maintain many types of psychopathology.

Problems Associated with EA

  • Distress is an inextricable part of life, therefore, avoidance is often only a temporary "solution."
  • Avoidance reinforces the notion that discomfort/distress/anxiety is "bad," or "dangerous."
  • Sustaining avoidance often requires effort and energy.
  • Avoidance limits one's focus at the expense of fully experiencing what is going on in the present.
  • Avoidance may get in the way of other important, valued aspects of life.

Empirical Evidence

  • Laboratory based thought suppression studies suggest avoidance is paradoxical, in that concerted attempts at suppression of a particular thought often leads to an increase of that thought.
  • Studies examining emotional suppression and pain suppression suggest that avoidance is ineffective in the long-run. Conversely, expressing unpleasant emotion results in short-term increases in arousal, but long-term decreases in arousal.
  • Exposure based therapy techniques have been shown to be effective in treating a wide range of psychiatric disorders.
  • Numerous self-report studies have linked EA and related constructs (avoidant, coping, thought suppression) to psychopathology and other forms of dysfunction.



Relevance to Quality of Life

Perhaps the most significant impact of EA is its potential to disrupt and interfere with important, valued aspects of an individual's life. That is, EA is seen as particularly problematic when it occurs at the expense of a person's deeply held values. Some examples include:
  • Putting off an important task because of the discomfort it evokes.
  • Not taking advantage of an important opportunity due to attempts to avoid worries of failure or disappointment.
  • Not engaging in physical activity/exercise, meaningful hobbies, or other recreational activities due to the effort they demand.
  • Avoiding social gatherings or interactions with others because of the anxiety and negative thoughts they evoke.
  • Not being a full participant in social gatherings due to attempts to regulate anxiety relating to how others are perceiving you.
  • Being unable to fully engage in meaningful conversations with others because one is scanning for signs of danger in the environment (attempting to avoid feeling "unsafe").
  • Inability to "connect" and sustain a close relationship because of attempts to avoid feelings of vulnerability.
  • Staying in a "bad" relationship to try to avoid discomfort, guilt, and potential feelings of loneliness a break-up might entail.
  • Losing a marriage or contact with children due to an unwillingness to experience uncomfortable feelings (e.g., achieved through drug or alcohol abuse) or symptoms of withdrawal.
  • Not attending an important graduation, wedding, funeral, or other family event to try to avoid anxiety or symptoms of panic.
  • Engaging in self-destructive behaviors in an attempt to avoid feelings of boredom, emptiness, worthlessness.
  • Not functioning or taking care of basic responsibilities (e.g., personal hygiene, waking up, showing up to work, shopping for food) because of the effort they demand and/or distress they evoke.
  • Spending so much time attempting to avoid discomfort, that you have little time for anyone or anything else in your life.

In psychology, avoidance coping, or escape coping, is a maladaptive coping mechanism characterized by the effort to avoid dealing with a stressor. Coping refers to behaviors that attempt to protect oneself from psychological damage. Variations of avoidance coping include modifying or eliminating the conditions that gave rise to the problem and changing the perception of an experience in a way that neutralizes the problem.
PTSD symptoms are thought to be precursors to avoidance coping: PTSD sufferers draw into themselves, avoiding the trauma and partaking in cognitive or behavioral avoidance coping.

Symptoms

Individuals suffering from avoidance coping display symptoms similar to those of avoidant personality disorder, including drawing into oneself (avoiding relationships or social activities) and fearing commitment due to a fear of rejection. Such withdrawl behaviors manifest themselves in the personality as indecision and lack of confidence.

Caring for the elderly

Those who care for a loved one with Alzheimer's and other dementias demonstrate symptoms of depression and stress that can lead to signs of avoidance coping. Closer relationships to the patient may lead to greater avoidance coping. This strategy may be used to alleviate stress caused by caring for the patient, such as financial burdens and feelings of guilt for resenting the patient. Factors that may lead to avoidance coping include low self-rated health, chronic medical conditions, and a history of psychiatric illness.

Treatment

Cognitive behavioral and psychoanalytic therapy are used to help those coping by avoidance to acknowledge, comprehend, and express their emotions. Acceptance and commitment therapy, a behavioral therapy that focuses on breaking down avoidance coping and showing it to be an unhealthy method for dealing with traumatic experiences, is also sometimes used.
Both active-cognitive and active-behavioral coping are used as replacement techniques for avoidance coping. Active-cognitive coping includes changing one's attitude towards a stressful event and looking for any positive impacts. Active-behavioral coping refers taking positive actions after finding out more about the situation.

Beneficial Forms of Avoidance Coping

Literature on coping often distinguishes coping avenues into two broad categories: approach/active coping and avoidance/passive coping. Approach coping includes behaviors that attempt to reduce stress by alleviating the problem directly, and avoidance coping includes behaviors that reduce stress by distancing oneself from the problem. Traditionally, approach coping has been seen as the healthiest and most beneficial way to reduce stress, while avoidance coping has been associated with negative personality traits, potentially harmful activities, and generally poorer outcomes. However, research has shown that some types of avoidance coping have beneficial outcomes. A study by Long and Haney found that both jogging and relaxation techniques were equally successful at lessening anxiety and increasing feelings of self-efficacy. Therefore, it seems that positive forms of passive coping such as exercise and meditation have qualitatively different outcomes from negative forms such as binge eating and drug use. These positive forms of passive coping may be particularly beneficial for alleviating stress when the individual does not currently have the resources to eliminate the problem directly, indicating the advantage of flexibility when engaging in coping behaviors.