Somewhat to my surprise, I have become convinced that the source of all the emotional and psychological problems (that can be resolved through psychotherapy) is our natural tendency to avoid painful and uncomfortable feelings, especially the ones that once threatened to overwhelm our being. As part of a conference presentation, I have made a plain language list of all 12 ways we do it. Please click here to look at, share, print or download it (I only ask you not to change it).
Much of the time, we are not aware of avoiding feelings because the patterns that allow us to do so have long been buried, and were never labeled as avoidance, anyway. Look at the list and you will get an idea of what these mechanisms might actually look like in life. Also, note that much of the time, avoidance is layered, with more than one mechanism combined. How We Heal and Grow: The Power of Facing Your Feelings (seem main page) tells a lot more.
The good news is that healing happens automatically when we face our feelings in a context of safety, truthfulness and empathy. That’s what it takes. The hard part is getting to the feelings. That’s both because we may not be aware of avoiding, and also because we naturally run into significant resistance as our mind still thinks the original intense feeling is still dangerous. Here is another link to the PDF document: