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sandrabrownma April 30th, 2009 08:20 AM

Treatment for Cognitive Dissonance
Any tried and true techniques that you like and use for Cognitive Dissonance? I am trying to weave some in to our Model of Care Approach for women coming out of relationships with Anti Socials, socio and psychopaths who have an awful lot of C.D. THANKS!

James Pretzer May 6th, 2009 09:42 AM

Re: Treatment for Cognitive Dissonance
I haven't seen much about the treatment of cognitive dissonance. However, my recollection is that cognitive dissonance is strongest when people believe that they acted out of their own free will and cognitive dissonance is weaker when they believe that they acted due to incentives or coercion. This makes it sound as though one could weaken cognitive dissonance by helping the individual understand the forces that impelled them to act.

sandrabrownma May 7th, 2009 08:01 AM

Re: Treatment for Cognitive Dissonance
Thanks--will weave that in!

James Pretzer September 29th, 2011 02:04 PM

Re: Treatment for Cognitive Dissonance
In thinking back about Sandra's question, it would have been useful to clarify what she meant be "cognitive dissonance." When clients are coming out of abusive or coercive relationships, they sometimes look back at things that they said or did with a great deal of regret or self-blame. When that's the case, it often is useful to help them understand why they acted the way they did and to have some compassion and forgiveness for themselves. It usually turns out that they were doing the best they could in a difficult situation.

Other clients put a great deal of time and energy into criticizing themselves because they want to be sure never to get into another relationship like that again. They're acting as though they need to punish/criticize/blame themselves in order to keep from making the same mistake again. When this is the case, it can be useful to help them think through what they need to learn from their experience and what they need to do differently in order not to end up in the same sort of relationship again. (i.e. "If a guy is jealous, possessive, and restrictive, this doesn't show how much he loves me, it shows that he's bad news and I need to end the relationship before it goes further.")

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