Marriage Counseling Fort Myers – Safety Behaviors (Part 1 of 2)

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Marriage Counseling Fort Myers – Safety Behaviors (Part 1 of 2)

Psychology Tools, a website for therapists, psychologists, marriage counselors, and others posted an article on Safety Behaviors.  Marriage counseling fort myers along with cape coral marriage counseling agree that emotional safety is extremely important when it comes to one’s sense of well-being.  This is no less true when it comes to marriage relationships.  The article is reproduced and edited in a two part series.  This document contains part one.

Safety Behaviors in Marriage

Safety behaviors are actions carried out with the intention of preventing a feared catastrophe.  In the short-term they often give a sense of relief, but in the long-term they are unhelpful because they prevent the disconfirmation of the beliefs that are maintaining anxiety.

What is a Catastrophe?

Catastrophes can vary enormously, but tend to be about different kinds of threats to the individual, for example:

  • Physical threat – “I’ll be killed”, “I’ll be hurt”
  • Psychological threat – “I’ll go mad”, “I can’t cope”
  • Social threat – “I’ll embarrass myself and never be able to show my face again”, “They will think I’m an idiot”

What Types of Safety Behaviors are There?

Marriage counseling fort myers agrees that there are three types of safety behaviors, including in a marriage relationship.

  1. Avoidance – e.g. not going to a feared situation
  2. Escape – e.g. leaving a feared situation
  3. Subtle avoidance, which can include things we do in our minds – e.g.
  • distraction – counting in my head during a panic to stop myself from going mad
  • calming my breathing – otherwise I’ll be overwhelmed by my fear and lose control
  • averting my eyes – in case someone picks on me and I’m humiliated

What are the Effects of Safety Behaviors, including Marriage?  [Good question, says marriage counseling fort myers]

  • Short term: In the short term safety behaviors lead to a reduction in anxiety. Any form of escape or avoidance is often accompanied by a powerful feeling of relief. Relief is powerful negative reinforcer, and once an individual has learned that a safety behavior leads to relief they are likely to use it again.
  • Long term: In the longer term, safety behaviors act to maintain anxiety by preventing the disconfirmation of unhelpful beliefs. For example, if someone has the belief “dogs will attack me and bite my face” and avoids dogs, they don’t get the opportunity to learn that most dogs are friendly, or fail to learn the difference between friendly and unfriendly dogs.
  • Unintended consequences: Safety behaviors often have unintended consequences which can reinforce the original belief, make the anxiety worse, or lead to other problems.

Dr. Ken Newberger services couples who are struggling in their marriages in the Southwest FL region of the United States.  View the outline to his process, says marriage counseling fort myers. It is represents a cutting edge alternative to traditional marriage counseling at his website:  If you live in Naples Florida, or Fort Myers Florida, or Cape Coral Florida, or Bonita Springs Florida, or Estero Florida, you are in easy driving distance to his office.  If you are struggling in your marriage, call him directly to learn more.

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