Many people avoid things that make them feel uncomfortable, sad, or negative about themselves. Sometimes therapy involves processing negative emotions or traumatic experiences. Treatment for mental health issues can be challenging for some people, and they might try to avoid sessions or therapy recommendations.
Recognizing the signs of avoidance makes it easier to overcome potential problems before they interfere with your recovery progress. The Mindfuli platform has interactive tools and services that can help you learn how to overcome avoidance during treatment.
Avoidance and Mental Health
You might feel ambivalent about treatment or uncertain how discussing complex topics can help you heal. Some people choose to avoid therapy instead of facing the painful realities of their condition. According to the Journal of Health Care for the Poor and Underserved, “Health care avoidance is a kind of patient disengagement that impedes an individual’s health behaviors or causes them to delay obtaining health care.”
Many individuals who start online or in-person therapy end up disengaging and not following up with sessions. Common causes of avoidance behaviors include:
- Fear of discussing challenging issues
- Social stigmas or internalized stigmas
- Unrealistic expectations
- Uncertainty about what will happen next
- Fear of failure
Every case is unique, and you might feel that your avoidance is justified. However, you should speak to your therapist if you ever feel stuck or uncertain about moving forward in therapy. Mental health experts have years of experience. Your therapist could have an easy solution to a situation you felt was impossible to overcome.
5 Common Forms of Avoidance
Many people experience avoidance at some point during treatment for mental health disorders. Below are five common forms of avoidance and ways to overcome them.
#1. Using Family Responsibilities as an Excuse to Avoid Therapy Sessions
Family responsibilities take up a large portion of most people’s lives, and you might feel tempted to let them take priority. However, you will not be able to function at your best if you do not look after your mental health.
Using the excuse of family responsibilities to avoid facing difficult moments in therapy will keep you from healing. You can instead use your family as a motivation to continue attending therapy and working through your mental health issues.
#2. Ghosting Your Therapist or Care Team
The Mindfuli platform provides various reminders for upcoming appointments. If you feel emotionally overwhelmed, you might be tempted to avoid the appointment by ghosting your therapist and care team.
- Not answering phone calls or returning voicemails
- Ignoring text or email messages
- Not attending therapy sessions without canceling
- Avoiding setting a new appointment date
- Not following up with missed appointments
Avoid ghosting by practicing self-accountability. Actively communicate with your therapist on a regular basis and set a consistent schedule.
#3. Procrastinating Instead of Following Through
Following through with therapy homework, recovery goals, and aftercare plans is essential to recovery. Procrastinating or letting yourself put these off for a “better day” will only keep you stuck in the same maladaptive routines. One way to avoid procrastination is to set daily, weekly, and monthly goals.
#4. Cutting Your Therapy Time Short
You do yourself and your therapist a disservice if you cut your therapy time short to avoid a topic. Sometimes you may legitimately not have the time or need to attend an entire session. However, in most cases, leaving a session early is a way to avoid uncomfortable feelings.
Addressing complex issues is necessary for healing. Instead of cutting your time short, you can use the remainder of your session to plan how best to approach the topic during your next appointment.
#5. Ignoring Your Emotions
Emotional breakthroughs can feel overwhelming and frightening at first. However, they help you heal and learn more about yourself. The benefits of increasing self-awareness and being vulnerable to emotions far outweigh any initial discomfort.
However, some people choose to avoid brief emotional vulnerability by hiding their thoughts and ignoring how they genuinely feel. Therapy aims to help you feel better and improve your quality of life. Achieving the emotional balance that allows you to meet those goals takes determination and a willingness to feel emotions that might initially scare you. Avoid ignoring your feelings by choosing to process them with your therapist or counselor.
Taking Back Control of Your Recovery
Your mental health affects all areas of your life, and ignoring or avoiding certain areas of therapy will not help you get better. Take back control of your recovery by deciding to remain consistent with your treatment schedule. Make the extra effort to meet your recovery goals and attend all your sessions.
The most effective way to overcome mental health issues is through continual progress. Over time you will notice significant positive changes to your self-image, self-confidence, and ability to cope with everyday stressors.
A few ways you can start taking back your recovery include:
- Communicating your needs and concerns clearly with your care team
- Making yourself accountable
- Focusing on realistic recovery goals
- Being mindful of your emotional state and using coping tools
Progress requires hard work and consistency. If you regularly avoid sessions or do not communicate honestly with your care team, your recovery will suffer. The therapists and counselors on Mindfuli are here to help you succeed at achieving and maintaining positive mental health.
Everyone avoids things sometimes. However, avoidance can become a problem if you frequently use it to stop yourself from making significant progress with your mental health. You might be uncertain about what happens next or feel uncomfortable sharing your experiences. However, avoiding issues that hold you back will keep you from healing and will not help you move forward. The mental health experts on the Mindfuli platform have the resources and tools you need to learn how to overcome avoidance. You can regain control of your mental health recovery and learn healthier ways to cope with stress or uncertainty. To learn more about our telehealth services, call us today at 866-973-4415.