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Substitution

 

Explanations > Behaviors > Coping > Substitution

Description | Example | Discussion | So what?

  

Description

Take something that leads to discomfort and replace it with something that does not lead to discomfort.

This 'something' may be range of items, including a behavior, a context or a physical item.

Example

Rather than making a difficult phone call, I call my daughter for a chat.

Instead of putting up a mirror, I put up a photograph of myself when I was younger.

Discussion

Substitution is a form of avoidance, as we avoid difficulty by substitution comfort. It is not the same as displacement, which moves a behavior from one target to another.

We often use this simple replacement strategy to put off things we would rather not do. It often appears something like two similar magnetic poles approaching -- the close they come to one another, the stronger is the force to push them apart.

So what?

Watch out for procrastination and other forms of avoidance through substitution. Ask yourself why you are doing things. Deliberately will yourself to the necessary, but uncomfortable action. You will likely feel better afterwards.

In helping others, watch for them avoiding one thing by doing another. Bring this gently to their attention and discuss ways forward or why they are doing this.

See also

Avoidance, Displacement

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