Helplessness refers to an inability to assist or take care of oneself.

Helplessness is a psychological state characterized by feelings of powerlessness and inability to take effective action. Helplessness can be a response to a perceived lack of control or a lack of resources to cope with a difficult situation. Here are a few examples of how helplessness might be used in the field of psychology:

  1. Learned helplessness: Learned helplessness is a phenomenon in which individuals develop a sense of helplessness as a result of experiencing repeated failures or a lack of control over outcomes. For example, a student who consistently receives poor grades despite studying hard may eventually feel helpless to improve their performance.

  2. Depression: Helplessness is often a symptom of depression, as individuals with depression may feel overwhelmed by the challenges they are facing and may believe that they are unable to take effective action to improve their situation.

  3. Coping strategies: Researchers may study how individuals cope with feelings of helplessness in order to understand how they can be more resilient in the face of adversity. For example, individuals who are able to find ways to take control or to find meaning in difficult situations may be less likely to feel helpless.

  4. Treatment: Helplessness is often a target of treatment for mental health conditions such as depression. Therapies such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) may be used to help individuals identify and change negative thinking patterns that contribute to feelings of helplessness.

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