Archive for July 29th, 2015

July 29, 2015

Enabling

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Codependent No More

Enabling is a term with a double meaning in psychotherapy and mental health. As a positive term, it is similar to empowerment, and describes patterns of interaction which allow individuals or groups to develop and grow. In a negative sense, it can describe dysfunctional behavior approaches that are intended to help resolve a specific problem but in fact may perpetuate or exacerbate the problem.

A common theme of enabling in this latter sense is that third parties take responsibility or blame, or make accommodations for a person’s harmful conduct (often with the best of intentions, or from fear or insecurity which inhibits action). The practical effect is that the person himself or herself does not have to do so, and is shielded from awareness of the harm it may do, and the need or pressure to change. Enabling in this sense is a major environmental cause of addiction.

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