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Brian Pope
Psychotherapist

Cognitive distortion

I work with people who are often misinterpreting information as a result of mental health issues and/or due to autonmomic nervous system imbalence. I'm interested in exploring best practice in this area and would welcome any comments

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Alan Humbert

Posted on 2/11/15 1:03:31 AM Permalink

My experience is that it is important to keep it really concrete. Design projects that are demonstrative and have simple props.

Thania McElroy

Posted on 1/17/15 2:01:52 PM Permalink

I find this theme interesting since there is someone related to me, that is not necessary having any mental health issues, (I think), but distorts all information from reality. It is very frustrating because can not translate or comprehend what gets said verbally or in written (by text) and causes friction and drama with all members by the way she tells reality, like missing pieces of a situation. (?)

What I have noticed, she lacks on problem solving skills, from simple tasks to complex decision making skills, (example: questioning where did I found an ultrasound machine -my answer, "I looked on Google".... her answer "She never thought about it!"); she sends a text asking you if you are at work, you say: "I am on my way there", an hour later, she sends another text asking you "if she can swing by your house". The list goes on.. and it is hard not to feel frustrated with her and talk about what she just asked, because you do not want to insult her intelligence...

This person has a high mathematical capacity but her IQ levels seems sometimes below the media. She is on her mid-fifties and what I notice through years is a detachment in her emotional connections, (highly service oriented, but can not establish bonds with significant people) I wonder if there is another reason (mental-wise) why she behaves that way.

Well, besides of venting out here (LOL), today I found this can actually be a real mental issue... maybe we need to explore tools to handle her behavior, what do you think, do you think this might be something serious or undetected?

Brian Pope

Posted on 1/19/15 4:17:55 PM Permalink

Thanks for your comment Thania, I think you're raising some massive issues here and it can be helpful to vent our feelings as our interactions with others are often frustrating. To touch on a couple

Labelling. I've been brought up with a pretty strong medical model of mental health which has revolved around biological causes of mental illness leading to diagnosis and medical treatment. The evidence that this is correct is now becoming pretty sketchy and individuals going through this process end up with lots of things to deal with. This is probably most easily seen with ADHD at the moment with the consequences for the individuals.

I think a more convincing explanation is that as we grow up our genetics and environments interact as we learn. This leads us to hardwire patterns of interacting in our brain. We then identify with this as being us and its largely fixed. The exciting thing about modern therapeutic approaches is that it has become clearer that we are able to change our habitual patterns of responding and effectively rewire some aspects of our brain. This does require however motivation by the individual to want to change and this becomes the key factor in therapy. Many people do not want to change.

Emotional connections. in the work I do one of the primary areas is avoidance of emotional feeling. In one sense it is easy to see why, as humans, we do this. If something is painful it is natural that I want to avoid it but this can have consequences when it is our internal experience rather than an a painful external stimulus. Emotion is a major component of our experience as a human, by definition it is not especially logical, yet it can be a major factor in our experience so if something is unpleasant it is harder to see that it is part of being human. Avoiding emotional experience can sometimes make us seem cold and unfeeling and inconsiderate to other people.

Its difficult to comment on the particular lady you discuss but a key factor is does she see the things you are describing as a problem and does she want to change them. if she does assessment of her cognitive skills along with her personality type using standard psychological measures may help point out areas where she may benefit. From a modern neuroscience perspective Richie Davidsons work outlined in his book The Emotional Life of the Brain could be helpful