Unhealthy Helping by Shawn Meghan Burn

Unhealthy Helping

By Shawn Meghan Burn

  • Publication Date: 2015-07-03
  • Genre: Self-Improvement

Book Summary

Helping and giving are good. It’s just that some types of helping and giving are unintentionally unhelpful and unhealthy. "Unhealthy Helping: A Psychological Guide to Overcoming Codependence, Enabling, and Other Dysfunctional Giving" demystifies codependence and dysfunctional helping by examining it through multiple psychological lenses. The book contains sought-after answers for people who help and give in ways that are ultimately harmful to themselves or others. "Unhealthy Helping" empowers people with psychological knowledge, self-assessments, and practical psychology-based strategies for personal and relationship change. 

Psychology professor and Psychology Today blogger Shawn Meghan Burn explores the dynamics of codependent and dysfunctional helping relationships, the difference between healthy and unhealthy helping, why some people are prone to unhealthy helping and giving, what codependence is and where it comes from, and how even the best of helping intentions can go wrong. Loaded with research and real-life stories, including the author’s journey from unhealthy to healthy giver, "Unhealthy Helping" will help you find that giving and helping sweet spot where your help is truly helpful and your giving is healthy for others, your relationships, and for you.

Chapter 1: Understanding the Difference Between Healthy and Unhealthy Helping describes classic unhealthy helping and giving behaviors and the twelve red flags of unhealthy helping and giving.

Chapter 2: Unhealthy Helping and Giving Relationships examines common unhealthy helping and giving relationships including parent-child enabling relationships, dual relationships, and codependent relationships.

Chapter 3: The Negative Consequences of Unhealthy Helping and Giving details the harms of unhealthy helping and giving to the giver, the helped, our relationship with the helped, our other relationships, and to groups.

Chapter 4: The Personality Traits of Unhealthy Helpers and Givers considers the role of personality traits and self-esteem in unhealthy helping. Suggestions for managing our “giving traits” are provided.

Chapter 5: Emotional Influences on Unhealthy Helping and Giving considers how unhealthy needs arising from unresolved childhood and emotional issues can drive unhealthy helping and giving, and what we can do about it.

Chapter 6 Family Influences: Learning Codependence and Bad Helping Habits explains how unhealthy helping and giving habits are learned in our family or origin and how they can be changed using learning theory.

Chapter 7: The Cognitive Roots of Unhealthy Helping and Giving shows how to question, challenge, and change the maladaptive thoughts that lead to unhealthy helping and giving.

Chapter 8: How Culture and Gender Influence Unhealthy Helping and Giving explores cultural influences and aspects of traditional masculinity and femininity that promote unhealthy helping and giving.

Chapter 9 Healthy Helping and Giving Boundary Setting is intended to help with what to say and how to say it so that boundary setting works efficiently and effectively.

Chapter 10: Final Thoughts on Changing Unhealthy Helping and Giving presents shows how to use the transtheoretical model of change to move from unhealthy to healthy helping.

About the Author

Shawn Meghan Burn, PhD is Professor of Psychology at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, California. Her research and writing focuses on the application of psychology to solve individual, group, organizational, and societal problems. She is a passionate teacher of psychology, committed to showing people how they can use psychology to solve problems and maximize human potential. She is the author of four books and many research articles and writes a blog (Presence of Mind) for Psychology Today.

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