Sunday, 1 March 2015

How to use that dress to socialise clients into CBT


You've probably seen the debate about "The Dress" on social media and the intenet.
What colour do you see the dress above as now?
Is it black and blue? Is it white and gold? Perhaps, like me, one time you see it one colour, and then when you return to it it looks different.

So - What has the dress got to do with CBT ...


Along with other optical illusions, like "Is it duck or rabbit?"





these help create doubt about us being so certain that how we see things is necessarily how they really are. Thoughts are not facts. That's a useful idea to convey to the client in CBT.   For example:-

"At the moment you think the future is hopeless"
"You feel that you need to check those switches"
"You believe that when your boss asked for a meeting it means you are in trouble2

Each of these ideas are interpretations, and in CBT the client learns that they are not facts. They  may not be either the most accurate way of looking things or the most helpful.Optical illusions are a nice way of making the point; how we see things isn't necessarily how they really are.

The interesting thing about the dress, more so than the duck rabbit, is that when we see it as black and gold, its actually hard to see it as white and gold - and vice-versa.  This is often true when people are very  depressed, ramped up through OCD. The message here is

At the moment you see things one way and it may wekk be  hard to see it another way. As with that dress that you may have seen on the internet, could it be that there is another way of looking at your negative thoughts. 

If the client answers "yes" you can then add - so what does that mean about how you should treat some of your negative or unhelpful thoughts?  If they answer "It means that I should treat them with some caution, as if they are just thoughts rather than the facts they claim to be"  then you have  socialised your client into an important CBT principle