The largest problem I seem to run into when using CBT with a client is resistance to the idea of personal responsibility for our emotional reactions. How I view the idea of personal responsibility is pretty basic. Every single bit of emotional pain we experience is caused by ourselves. No one else is responsible for our pain, we inflict it on ourselves. This, I admit, is a fairly simplistic approach but it is one I believe is fair. It does not matter what happens or who attempts to cause me pain. It is only my choice to experience an adverse emotional reaction that allows it to occur. If instead I choose otherwise I can react however I like to any situation.
Most people I find would rather blame their pain on anyone else but themselves. It is like if they admit that they were the ones doing it they would lose something precious, instead of something hurtful. I do not understand this seeming need for people to cherish their pain. Some people, I know, hold their pain close so they can trot it out on display and so garner sympathy from others. That makes a twisted kind of sense. It’s not a great thing but I can understand it. What I do not understand are people who do not share their pain with others and in fact hide it. Why do they feel the need to hurt themselves over and over? What do they acquire from it? Is it simply that they do not want to admit that their cognitive processing of a situation was faulty? Would people really inflict pain on themselves just to avoid saying “I was wrong”?
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