The Mind & PSYCH-K

Identifying Secondary Gains in Psychology

psych-k secondary gains

Identifying PSYCH-K secondary gains can help you achieve greater results with your health and life.

Are you not getting results despite trying various healing methods? Do you feel stuck? Is it challenging to make progress? We’re here to help you get to the root of your issues by looking at secondary gains and how they can interfere with success in ALL areas of your life.

Secondary Gain Psychology

In psychology, a secondary gain is when you benefit from a problem. It’s when you receive advantages from unwanted conditions, circumstances, or limitations. In other words, you benefit from NOT overcoming problems. It doesn’t mean the problem is positive, but the benefits of having the problem support you in keeping it rather than solving it.

Secondary gains in psychology may seem like a paradox, but they’re pretty common. Of course, you would prefer to overcome difficulties rather than remain stuck, so why don’t you take action? From a psychological perspective, secondary gains provide answers. 

When you have problems but benefit from them, keeping the status quo can seem easier than overcoming issues. But, especially long-term, it’s much more beneficial to get to the root, so you don’t develop unhealthy behaviors or limit yourself. Secondary gains are guides to help you get unstuck. They’re an invitation to understand the advantages you receive from retaining problems instead of solving them.

What Are Secondary Gains?

what are secondary gains injury

Secondary gains can be health issues, injuries, addictions, and unhealthy behaviors.

For example, you crave attention and accidentally injure yourself. As a result, people care for you. You get what you want (attention), but at the expense of what you don’t want (injury). Although it’s nice to achieve your desired outcome, it’s not nice to perpetuate your problems and many secondary gains continue until they’re addressed subconsciously.

Secondary Gain Examples

Below are secondary gain examples. We begin with the problem or something negative you don’t want, then list the positive benefits gained.

You accidentally injure yourself. 

Secondary gain example: You get to take time off work, your family takes care of you, and everyone gives you attention. Ouch, but yay!

You break up with every person you date for no good reason.

Example: You don’t have to let people close to you. No one will know the real you, so your flaws and weaknesses are kept safe.

You suffer from anxiety, depression, and suicidal thoughts.

Example: People are friendlier and more caring. Nobody expects anything of you, and people make more of an effort to spend time with you. Your partner stays with you.

You’re addicted to smoking/alcohol.

Example: Your addiction helps you relax and fit in socially. Addictions have many hidden gains that can create the experience you want… but at a cost.

Secondary Health Gains

You put on weight and can’t lose it no matter what you do.

Secondary gain example: Your friends find you more relatable. You might not feel like you deserve attention, or perhaps past situations made you feel like it’s not safe to be good-looking, causing you to surround yourself with a layer of fat to fit in and play it safe.

You have health issues, such as chronic fatigue or pain.

Example: Perhaps it prevents you from being social, working, or doing something else you don’t want. You can stay home and do less. Your fear of failure provokes anxiety and stress, but now you don’t have to worry about failure because you don’t have to do anything.

You get diagnosed with chronic illness.

Example: You quit a job you hate, and now you can do things you enjoy, like reading, yoga, and cooking healthy meals. Your family loves you and helps you more.

You experience infertility.

Example: You no longer worry about your fears of being a bad parent. Your stress reduces as you don’t have to figure out how to support another person. Or perhaps you love your job and are relieved you don’t have to take time off work.

Overcoming PSYCH-K Secondary Gains

secondary gains psychology woman mountain pose

Why are secondary gains a problem?

When it comes to achieving your PSYCH-K goals and Belief Statements, secondary gains can help AND hurt you. They often help you achieve your desired outcome, but not how you want. They can also harm you, block solutions, and prevent growth. As a result, they perpetuate issues and create more unhealthy patterns. 

How does this make it difficult to change?

The benefits of secondary gains can prevent you from changing because these gains have greater value than your desired goal. Even if you’re unaware of them, they keep you stuck. You might make temporary progress as you return to old habits. You must address these issues for the unwanted pattern to resolve.

Identify Your Problems & Gains

Secondary gains can originate from adulthood, childhood, and past lives. First, look at your problems. What benefits do you receive from them? Is there anything keeping you stuck? What fears are present? PSYCH-K can help you transform fear around losing those benefits. It can also change old beliefs and perceptions to create new outcomes. Together, we find healthier ways to get what you want while meeting your needs.

For example, a smoker finds relaxation in smoking. That person might find it helpful to replace smoking with relaxing activities like HeartMath, yoga, meditation, or exercise. The key is finding something more motivating and fulfilling than the old behavior.

Another example is a person who wants attention and gets an injury. How else can you receive attention without having an injury? Do you need attention from others or yourself? That person might find it helpful to give themselves more attention via self-love and self-care.

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