Pleasure Maximisation and Distress Avoidance

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Pleasure Maximisation and Distress Avoidance

Over the past three blogs in this series on Neuropsychotherapy Basics, we have looked at the basic psychological needs of attachment, control, and self-esteem enhancement. Now we turn our attention to the forth basic need in the consistency model, that of pleasure maximisation and distress avoidance.

This need, to avoid pain and maximise pleasure, is intuitive and obvious, for the most part, when observing human behaviour. We do try to avoid painful situations, be they physical or emotional, and we are generally orientated to seek comfort and pleasure when it is in line with our other needs. There are complexities, however, when we will suffer pain or discomfort to achieve a goal that satisfies a bigger need than just the need to be comfortable. As we discussed in the previous blog, the net satisfaction of all the needs may require compromise on some level to achieve an overall outcome. For example the athlete who suffers pain in training and competing to satisfy a more demanding need for self-esteem enhancement by winning a gold medal, is an example of compromising the need to avoid pain for a better overall outcome of need satisfaction.

The Neuropsychotherapist
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