Stress Diary Journal Guides Guide 6: Secondary Gains Guide 6: Secondary Gains Reasons for SecondaryStress Diary Journal gainYour Guide Rewards Attention Fear of responsibilityWhat is S econdary G ains? Loss of loveSecondary gain is a psychiatric Secondary gain does not mean Chronic pain is pain thatterm meaning that a person has the person is “faking”. continues on past the time of an Loss of incomea hidden reason for holding injury being healed, often havingonto an undesirable condition. Reasons for secondary gain: no apparent cause in the Reinforcement of aFrequently this reason is Examples present. Finding and releasing behaviourunconscious. It is obviously the perception of secondaryunconscious because the loss * For instance, often smokers gain, such as the attention one Getting care andof holding onto the condition is arent ready to quit because receives, monetary compensa- encouragementoften far greater than the having a cigarette is the only tion for disability, or just theperceived gain. The secondary "break" they allow themselves, need to deny the original cause Maintaining status quogain trap is not something and theyre not willing to live of the pain, can greatlyshameful. It’s a behavioural life with no breaks - no contribute to healing. Ensuring conformitymechanism that people get relaxation periods or time awaytrapped in, not a negative from work or family or their * Fear of responsibility is Resistance to changereflection on your personality own stressful thoughts. Once another secondary gain. One(i.e. does not mean your they see that, and find a way to may feel that added success, Reducing anxietypersonality = manipulative). take a different kind of break, love or prosperity is going toSecondary gain does not mean say, a 15-minute walk, or a quick ultimately demand more than Denying conflict/having the problem is positive lie-down, or whatever, the need can be provided. One may be confrontationfor the person overall, just that is satisfied and theyre suddenly exposed as a fraud - beingthere are some benefits to it. *willing* unconsciously to let "found out" as not really Enforces a createdWhen distress/impairment is go of the cigarettes capable or competent to cope personakept going by secondary gain with this higher level of good.mechanisms, it’s not any less * This term is often used inreal than any other kind!! chronic pain management.R easons for S econdary G ain* Loss of love may be a deciding welfare, unemployment benefits does not really like spendingfactor. One may feel that they or family support. time with their partner’s ‘Having awill move out of the sphere of friends. When person is hidden reasontheir current peer group, * Stop drinking. Your conscious experiencing a lot of pain, theirfamily, or romantic relationship mind says, well you should stop partner does not pressure for holding onif they change too much. drinking. The unconscious mind them to go to social events as to an is thinking, drinking equals much. Their pain is reinforced. undesirable* Loss of income. Ironically comfort, relaxation, ease,enough, some will prevent de-stressing, etc. That is * Client gets more condition!themselves from manifesting a secondary gain. And, why would encouragement and caringgreater income because they anyone give that up? comments from their therapistwill lose the current, reliable the longer they stay distressedincome. This can apply to * A person with chronic pain during sessions. Person staying
Page 2 Stress Diary Journal distressed is reinforced. reinforced overwhelming. If they get “unsick” they will need to * Person uses depression as * Person is scared of letting return to work and fulfil their explanation for why they can’t people close to them. They act own or others’ high do something their partner outlandishly and people expectations. Staying sick (this wants, when they would find it withdraw from them. Acting could be chronic fatigue, an hard even if they were not outlandishly is reinforced. eating disorder etc) is depressed. Their partner backs reinforced. off when they cite their * Person with social anxiety depression as the reason for feels understood when they * Person is scared of their behaviour. Attributing start learning about social succeeding almost as much as problems to depression is anxiety. They create an identity they are scared of failing. reinforced. around having anxiety. Having Person knows making changes social anxiety is reinforced by to their work process would * A person’s partner does not feeling understood. give them a chance of leave then while they are succeeding on a much bigger depressed or suicidal. Staying * Person finds the pressure of scale than their current level of depressed /suicidal is their work and/or achieving success. They don’t make the changes they know are likely to * How do you think secondary with an answer. Also be aware “ How do help because when they get gain is trying to serve you? that as soon as you become started on the changes they get * Whats its higher purpose for conscious of the unconscious you think a spike in anxiety about your benefit? gain, it is no longer the succeeding. A good idea is to examine what unconscious gain. Once you Secondary NOT achieving your conscious have identified the underlying Gain is * Person is putting off their life goal, or the particular way in strong payoff you can think (e.g. putting off dating) until which you go about things, is about and try out other ways of trying to they lose weight. If dating is getting for you, or allowing you getting the same payoff that serve anxiety provoking, then not to do. would still allow you to have the losing weight is reinforced. * Whats the payoff? original conscious goal. you?” Then examine the benefits and How to work with this? Ask payoff of THAT. The idea is not to give up the yourself secondary gain but to find And so on until you come up other ways of achieving it that are more compatible with your work with the secondary gain to do? overall goals and lifestyle be able to increase your Gives me a good excuse not to preference. If getting drunk is resourceful options. fly... the only way you know how to relax you will definitely drink. If An example process to What does having a good it is one of 15 really effective determine cause excuse not to fly get for you or ways you have of unwinding at * Fear of flying. You desire to allow you to do? the end of the day you have a overcome your fear of flying, Keeps me safe lot of choice, and can CHOOSE and have had difficulty doing the method that is right for you. so... you decide to examine What does being safe get for If you have a desire to be a non what fear of flying is doing for you or allow you to do.? -drinker you are more likely to you or allowing you to do. Go on living choose one of the many ways available to you that do not Ask: What does being afraid of What does going on living get involve drinking. You need to flying get for me or allow me to for you or allow you to do?
Page 3 Guide 6: Secondary Gainseverything! Live, learn laugh Apply it to yourself: * What do you not gain bygrow... having this problem? Identify a persistent important * What dont you gain by havingWhat does being able to do problem where you’re not doing this problem?everything, live learn laugh and the things that a reasonable * What do you gain by havinggrow get for you or allow you to person would consider are this problem?do? likely to help solve/improve the * What dont you not gain byachieve my dreams problem. having this problem? Ask yourself –What does being able to achieveyour dreams get for you or * Are there any “benefits” Do remember it is essential toallow you to do? you’re getting from staying recognise the positive intentionmakes life worth living stuck? [e.g. reduced behind dysfunctional orand so on... expectations, not having to do destructive behaviours. things other people want you to Sometimes the gain relates to do that you don’t really want to out of date or childhood inten- do]. tions and the behaviour becomes stuck in the absenceof up to date alternatives thatpurpose of "acting out", or being To tease out the secondary gain “ Identify a persistentbetter fit in with the more adult resistant to change, is that for is therefore a question,context of how someones life all the negative judgement and sometimes of adding resources important problemhas developed. Often these consequence the behaviour(s) to the situations where these where you’re not doingpatterns are laid down as a might evoke, at a level of choice, learnings were first made, the things that aresult of childhood trauma or it is easier for the person to prior to the problem behaviourat times abuse, and will often stress, use drugs, get into fights, becoming habitualised or reasonable personbe embedded in the way that self harm, etc, than it is to face normalised as a lifestyle would consider arereflects the developmental the emotions attached to the choice. likely to help solve/personality stage at the time. original attention seeking behaviours, such as abandon- How do we determine whether improve the problem”People may choose to ‘act out’ ment, aloneness, fear of we have secondary gainbehaviours their conscious punishment etc...whatever that issues? Many of us do not wantdeem appropriate and safe for might be. to admit that weve beenthem and in some cases the standing in our own way.Writing it down will help hold it You may have more than one join a support group, write orin consciousness for you. reason. Perhaps youre afraid keep a stress diary or journal of the responsibility plus the on it, meditate about it, do allHeres how it works. Start whole idea of reality creation, the things you would do with acoming up with ideas of what deep down, is a little scary. It conscious issue to heal it.your secondary gain *might* be. happens. But your subconscious You may have more than oneOf course if youve got mind wont be willing to give it secondary gain and it will needglimmerings of what it actually up unless you treat it with to be dealt with as well. Thisis, note it down. But, be respect, that is, accept that doesnt make you a bad person.speculative. An excellent way of deep within you lies a real issueviewing this is to ask yourself the that must be resolved. On the contrary, it shows youabove questions. as a courageous and awareGet the reason(s) on paper, Once you have your issue, go to individual, willing to face thespoken to your friend or on tape. work on it. Get therapy for it, truth that lies within.