Secondary Gain

While energy therapies use the term “psychological reversal” to indicate energy blocks to healing, there’s an equivalent term drawn from psychology. That term is “secondary gain.” It refers to the benefits of being sick. “Why would anyone want to be sick?” you might wonder. There are actually many reasons for keeping a mental or physical problem firmly in place.

Consider the case of a veteran with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). He’s suffering from flashbacks of scenes from Afghanistan where he witnessed death and suffering. He has nightmares and never sleeps through the night. He’s so disturbed that he cannot hold down a job or keep a relationship intact for long. Why would such a person not want to get better, considering the damage PTSD is doing to his life?

The reason might be that he’s getting a disability check each month as a result of his condition. His income is dependent on having PTSD, and if he recovers, his main source of livelihood might disappear with it.

Another reason might be that he was deeply wounded by a divorce many years ago. He lost his house and children in the process. He’s fearful of getting into another romantic relationship that is likely to end badly. PTSD gives him a reason not to try.

These are obvious examples of secondary gain. When EFT Universe trainers work with participants in EFT workshops, they uncover a wide variety of subtle reasons that stand in the way of healing. One woman had been trying to lose weight for five years and had failed at every diet she tried. Her secondary gain turned out to be freedom from unwanted attention by men.

Another woman, this time with fibromyalgia, discovered that her secret benefit from the disease was that she didn’t have to visit relatives she didn’t like. She had a ready excuse for avoiding social obligations. She also got sympathetic attention from her husband and children for her suffering. If she gave up her painful disease, she might lose a degree of affection from her family and have to resume seeing the relatives she detested.

Like Psychological Reversal, secondary gain prevents us from making progress on our healing journey. EFT’s Basic Recipe contains elements that correct for these hidden obstacles to success.

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