Avoidance is the act or measure taken to escape or withdraw from an unwanted or unpleasant person, place, or experience. It can be either passive (e.g., ignoring) or active (e.g., walking away). Behavioral and personality theorists have parsed the concept of avoidance into two distinct theoretical perspectives. According to theories of personality, avoidance is a defense mechanism that involves withdrawing from an experience or social situation deemed emotionally painful or anxiety-provoking. According to most psychoanalytical theorists, such as Sigmund Freud, avoidance is often an automatic response to feelings or situations that evoke unconscious fears or desires. When the psyche is in danger, avoidance presents as a way out of a situation that produces intolerable feelings and thoughts. Behavioral therapists use the term experiential avoidance to ...

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