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(See Appendix at the end of this Manual for reproducible
Client Worksheet #4)
of Appraisal to Components of Your Fear
Vicious Cycle, Incorporating Unpleasant Emotional Feedback (Anxiety),
Appraisal: 1. Danger 2. Inadequate performing skills <--> Anxiety -->
Primal Responses to Threat
What happens as you perceive danger? Depending upon the nature and the context of the threat, you may show a variety of responses. These patterns appear to be "programmed" and are largely automatic. Therefore, they can be called "primal." They are more innate than the learned or acquired responses that involve more skill and are under voluntary control. Some of your common behavior patterns may be:
1. Fight: If you feel trapped, fight takes the form of protective actions: warding off a blow, attempting to deter further attack by using threatening display or defensive fighting.
2. Flight: Generally the method chosen when you are about to be attacked; this is initiated largely by anxiety.
3. Freeze: Occurs prior to an actual attack. This provides time to appraise the situation before deciding on the type of strategy. The freeze response also prepares you to absorb the impact of an attack. This response tends to occur automatically in the presence of danger and is manifested by general inhibition or stopping of voluntary actions. This voluntary action may include movement or speech as well as your thoughts. It also occurs to prevent hazardous actions, such as walking off a steep embankment.
4. Faint: This may be a response when you feel helpless, overwhelmed, or exposed to mutilation or blood, and associated with a "collapse reaction."
5. Retraction: Drawing back from a dangerous situation.
6. Duck, Dodge, Jump: Evading missiles or falling objects.
7. Clutching, Clinging: Grasping to maintain balance, prevent falling, drowning, and so on.
8. Reflexes: Eyeblink, gagging, coughing.
9. Calling for Help: A spontaneous distress call.
Homework: Your Therapist can help you keep a record of your productive uses of the above
Personal Reflection Exercise #4
preceding section contained Diagrams and Primal Response information for your
anxiety- disordered clients. Write three case study examples regarding how you
might use the content of this section of the Manual in your practice.
Online Continuing Education QUESTION 12: Primal responses are not voluntary and appear to be what? To select and enter your answer go to CEU Answer Booklet.
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