The other night in group therapy I showed the women a bunch of optical illusions and asked them a bunch of questions about the illusions. I was banking that when one women couldn't see the picture that another, that could see the picture, would point it out to the struggling woman. This happened many times and when we were finished with the pictures and questions I talked to the women about how our brains work.
I was trying, in a sort of easy way, to explain how cognitive therapy works: the idea that the way you think affects the way you act, and that in turn affects the way you live your life. CT at it's basic roots is teaching people how to restructure their negative thoughts that are leading to negative choices and actions/behaviors.
I pointed out to the women that sometimes no matter how hard you try you can't see the picture that everyone else seems to see and you need someone, outside of yourself, to help point out to you what is there. Then, it seems, you can't look at the picture without seeing the object.
So many of the women I work with at the shelter and so many people I come in contact with in life have negative, or false, cognition's they believe are true. They, like the women in my demonstration, have a hard time seeing and understanding the truth because they have lived with or been taught the negative cognition's for so long.
I LOVE what I do because I get to help others change their negative/false cognition's to positive/true cognition's. I get to help others work on their cognitive dissonance. In other words I get to validate!