How is Peter Pan syndrome treated in psychotherapy?
These are the psychotherapy processes used in adults with Peter Pan syndrome.
The process of adaptation to the stages of life is one of the most complex psychological phenomena. Not surprisingly, growing and maturing psychologically is much more than improving certain skills and developing new ones; it is also making our own the roles that the society in which we live reserves for people of certain age groups... and this, at times, is quite a challenge.
In certain cases, the person resists accepting the kind of behavioral patterns expected of someone of his or her age, and decides to make use only of those that allow access to short-term sources of satisfaction, but without assuming those that entail a certain level of effort and extra dedication. When this occurs in people of adult age, what is known as the Peter Pan syndrome arises, and in this article we will see how it is addressed in psychological therapy..
What is the Peter Pan syndrome?
In spite of the name that receives, the syndrome of Peter Pan is not a psychopathology nor is it part of a clinical picture, something that does occur with certain illnesses.It is not a psychopathology nor is it part of a clinical picture, something that does occur with certain diseases such as schizophrenia.
It is basically a set of behavioral patterns that, in the context of life of most adults, is problematic and causes discomfort to the person who internalizes it and/or to the people around them. Specifically, it consists of the tendency to reject any role that implies assuming responsibilities and adopting commitments, being an adult..
Hence, it is often understood that people who have developed this predisposition have remained anchored in a style of behavior typical of children, wanting to live in society and rely on the protection offered by their close social circle, but without having to invest effort in cultivating these relationships and in making possible a good coexistence.
This reference to Peter Pan is a way of linking this phenomenon with the idea of a child who does not want to grow up or enter the role systems of adult life, belonging forever in the land of "Neverland", as happens with the protagonist of James Matthew Barrie's play (or its Disney film adaptation).
Thus, people who meet the typical characteristics of the Peter Pan syndrome tend to live a life centered on the search for emotional and material support from others, and the satisfaction of their short- and medium-term goals.Otherwise adopting a passive attitude to everything that happens around them.
Some of the hallmarks of the Peter Pan syndrome are as follows.
- Fear of commitment (whether formalized or informal commitment).
- Frustration when the people in whom he looks for protection do not give him everything he expects from them.
- Their behavioral references are almost always adolescents or young adults.
- They show a clear tendency to egocentrism, although they are capable of feeling love and empathizing.
- They are very bad at cultivating friendships.
- Their lifestyle is based on improvisation.
It should be noted that certain psychological disorders can express themselves through symptoms that can be confused with the Peter Pan syndrome, and that the diagnosis can only be made by mental health professionals.. In any case, these ideas that we have seen give you a general and summarized vision of the problem.
How is Peter Pan syndrome intervened in psychotherapy?
Although psychological therapy is always applied taking into account the particularities of each patient and adapting the techniques to their needs, in general, the following forms of intervention in Peter Pan syndrome stand out.
1. Exercises of self-knowledge
Various exercises are applied to help the person to get to know him/herself better, to understand the way in which he/she usually experiences emotions, and to discover the true source of his/her discomfort, identifying it in his/her past and in the past.identifying it in his past and in his present.
2. Training in task sequencing and time management skills.
Often, people with Peter Pan syndrome behave this way because they are very intimidated by the prospect of carrying out all the tasks associated with adult life, and do not see themselves as capable of it even though they actually have the capacity to live autonomously.
That is why in therapy they are taught what they are capable of, showing them ways to manage time well and to make the completion of tasks not only smooth, but even a source of motivation and satisfaction. a source of motivation and self-satisfaction. with oneself.
3. Identifying the needs of others
In psychotherapy, these people are also help these people to get out of that mentality marked by egocentrism, making it more likely that ideas related to the mental state of others will come to mind. Once this occurs, in most cases the concern for the welfare of these people arises spontaneously.
4. Improvement of the self-esteem
These people are guided through this process of psychological maturation, allowing them to be conscious of their advances to be able to value them and to incorporate them to their self-esteem. In this way, they become much more confident in their ability to live as adults..
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(Updated at Mar 28 / 2023)