Creative Hopelessness: Short Term vs Long Term Workability

ACT interoceptive exposure

Key Points

  1. Creative hopelessness involves highlighting the long-term unworkability of current strategies.
  2. People engage in ineffective behavior because they’re receiving external reinforcement or are able to avoid  immediate discomfort or pain, but these are short-term outcomes.
  3. The aim of creative hopelessness is a client’s willingness to take more risks, be more present, and change behavior patterns, in order to experience less harmful long-term outcomes.
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Weighing Reward and Change

To introduce creative hopelessness, the unworkability of current strategies, you might simply ask, ”How is that working for you?” A client might say, “Obviously it’s not, or I wouldn’t be here.” That’s the time to explore the difference between things working in the short term but not the longer term, as in the example of procrastination.

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