Describe and Evaluate Two Approaches to the Treatment of Self-Defeating Behaviour. the Approaches Should Be Selected from Those Introduced in Module 5

Describe and evaluate two
approaches to the treatment of
self-defeating behaviour.
The approaches should be selected
from those introduced in module 5


During this paper I will look at what self-defeating behaviour (SBD) is. Look at classes of SBD and potential options for treatment using the TIME and HINDSITE models. I will look into some of the additional considerations that a counsellor may want to keep in mind when treating someone for an SBD as well as the broader implications for providing patient care.

Self-Defeating Behaviour

This maladaptive behaviour is also known as ‘Self-Sabotage Behaviour’. A definition given by Brownson and Hartzler (2000) shows Self-Defeating Behaviour (SDB) ‘.. as a repetitive pattern of behavior in which the individuals’ goal-directed attempts to fulfill a basic human need result in unintended and harmful consequences.’   They go on to qualify this as ‘Those who engage in a repetitive cycle of failed attempts to fulfill a core human need – whether it be the need for intimacy, affiliation, control, or acceptance – may be vulnerable to mental health difficulties such as depression, anxiety, social isolation, or compensatory externalizing problems…. Basic issues individuals share are frustration with having a core need remain unfulfilled and diminishing hope and/or lack of self-efficacy in future attempts to change one’s situation… self-defeating behaviours may reflect a self-perpetuating negative spiral in which the more the individual attempts to fulfill an unmet need, the greater the resulting sense of frustration, hopelessness and perceived lack of control.’

Self-defeating behavior is something we all experience at some time or another. Examples range far and wide. For example, a child may be determined to gain attention through naughty behavior, initially this may be positive attention, later negative attention – but attention all the same. Perhaps an adult avoiding work they are not looking forward...