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Unread September 29th, 2011, 02:04 PM
James Pretzer James Pretzer is offline
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Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 283
Default 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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