Learned helplessness

Learned helplessness; It is the feeling of helplessness and lack of motivation that occurs when the person repeatedly encounters negative situations that are beyond his control and his efforts to get rid of it are inconclusive. Even if the same obstacles do not exist in the future or the person’s coping resources have developed, Learned Helplessness prevents being able to get rid of a negative situation.

American psychologists Martin Seligman and Steven Maier conducted an experiment on dogs in 1967. They gave small electric shocks at intervals to dogs kept locked in cages. Even though the dogs tried to escape at first, they stopped trying to escape after a while as they saw that they couldn’t. Later, when the doors are opened, the dogs that tried to escape before and failed, instead of trying to escape, they stay inside and continue to cry. Similar experiments were repeated on various animal species.

Although there is a chance to change, people can be stuck in the same traumatic experience just like animals. The failure of previous change efforts leads the person to think that there is no solution and to despair. Learned Helplessness can manifest itself in a variety of situations such as depression, addiction, traumatic stress, anxiety problems, relationship problems. Bessel A. van der Kolk, an expert in the field of trauma, describes this situation in her book The Body Keeps Records. “Being trapped in familiar fear instead of trying new options”expresses as.
Repetitive traumatic experiences, childhood neglect and abuse, domestic violence can cause Learned Helplessness. With the help of therapy support, it can be determined where this feeling of helplessness comes from and how it affects behavior and steps can be taken towards change.

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