Experiential Avoidance Worksheet

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What is the theory behind this Experiential Avoidance Worksheet?

Experiential Avoidance refers to an individual’s attempt to purposely avoid any internal experience that is stressful or disturbing. This means suppressing painful or uncomfortable thoughts, feelings, memories and bodily sensations. The temporary relief it brings reinforces this behaviour even if it can have drastic consequences for one’s mental health. It is an unhealthy coping mechanism which is only going to make a problem worse. 

How will the worksheet help?

This worksheet can help individuals reflect on what kinds of common avoidance strategies they use to escape their painful internal experiences. This is a crucial step before they can move on to determining how beneficial or harmful their avoidance of those particular internal experiences actually is. 

How to use the worksheet?

Individuals can read through the descriptions of the mentioned avoidance strategies and reflect on their own past experiences with each in attempts to suppress certain memories, emotions, thoughts or sensations. They have to write down which strategies they have mostly relied on in the past.

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