Cape Cod Institute
Behavior OnLine Forums  
The gathering place for Mental Health and
Applied Behavior Science Professionals.
Become a charter member of Behavior OnLine.

Go Back   Behavior OnLine Forums > BOL Forums > Cognitive Therapy


Thread Tools Display Modes
Unread August 3rd, 2005, 07:46 AM
James D James D is offline
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Australia
Posts: 8
Question Avoiding compliments

Hi all,
I have a couple of clients with avoidant personality disorder. Interestingly I touched on the topic of accepting compliments with both clients in the past week to gather evidence against typical negative cognitions of being stupid and boring. They both gave the same response - discounted the positive data. When each person was asked what it would be like to accept a compliment I was met with a blank expression on each occasion followed by "I don't know".
These responses certainly didn't surprise me, but I found myself wondering "how should I approach this now?".

I'm interested in other's experience in working with these clients and any suggestions on how to approach clients who 'avoid compliments'! In the meantime i'll revisit the relevant chapter in CT of PD's!

Many thanks,
James D
Reply With Quote
Unread August 3rd, 2005, 03:17 PM
JustBen JustBen is offline
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 58
Default Re: Avoiding compliments

Sounds like a good candidate for working with "hot cognitions". Offer the client a genuine compliment in-session. Make it something simple and hard to deny. (Example: That's a really nice shirt you're wearing today). If they reject the compliment - and they probably will - you can try to elicit the automatic thoughts that came up and use some socratic questioning or direct disputation to challenge them. (If, for example, the client says, "You're just saying that to be nice" you could respond with, "Why would I do that?", "Why don't you believe that my compliment is genuine?", "I really think it is nice. Are you saying I have bad taste?")
Reply With Quote
Unread August 3rd, 2005, 09:00 PM
James Pretzer James Pretzer is offline
Forum Leader
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 283
Default Re: Avoiding compliments

Another good option is to examine the pros and cons of of accepting compliments.
  • First, list the advantages the client sees to discounting compliments, the disadvantages they see to discounting compliments, then the advantages and disadvantages of accepting compliments.
  • Once you understand how the client sees it, you can use socratic questioning to help them look critically at the perceived advantages of discounting compliments and the perceived disadvantages of accepting compliments
  • Finally you can use socratic questioning to help them identify additional drawbacks to discounting compliments and additional advantages of accepting compliments.

It isn't unusual for clients to respond at first that they just can't accept compliments. I usually say that the first step is to figure out if accepting compliments would be a good idea. If it turns out that it is a good idea, then we'll try to figure out how they can do it.
Reply With Quote
Unread August 4th, 2005, 08:09 AM
James D James D is offline
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Australia
Posts: 8
Default Re: Avoiding compliments

Thankyou both for the great suggestions! I'll be sure to integrate them the next time this issue arises..... which is sure to be soon (probably tomorrow)! Stimulated some ideas of my own too.
Thanks again.
Reply With Quote

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Forum Jump

All times are GMT -4. The time now is 11:13 PM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.7.3
Copyright ©2000 - 2022, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Copyright © 1995-2004 Behavior OnLine, Inc. All rights reserved.