Selective Perception and Memory

Don't ForgetCriminal Thinkers are notorious for having selective perception.  They pay attention to the details that benefit and support their way of viewing the world.  They remember events and situations that justify their irresponsible and criminal behavior and discard and forget the central role that their decisions and lifestyle played in their current reality.

Memory is a curious thing.  Many of us think that we have poor memories, especially when we quickly forgot someone’s name that we just met.  We sometimes forget what were just about to do or where we put our dang keys!  However, our memories are filled with millions of facts, figures, emotions, and ideas that we can recall in an instant.  The key to thinking change is using the great capacity that resides in our memory.  A person seeking lasting change in their lives must begin to redefine the meaning attached to their memories.  They must continually reevaluate negative situations in their life and discover the role they played in causing the situation in the first place.  The criminal thinker continually uses the thinking error of “victimstance” to blame others for situations they caused themselves.  When the thought about blaming others enters their mind, they must immediately focus on what they could have done, and what they can still do, to prevent further injury and victimization to others as well as themselves.

Re-scripting (aka: rewriting) one’s memory will only happen through intentional, continuous practice.  A common practice among self-help groups is to take a moral inventory of one’s life daily.  For the changing criminal/addict or abuser, that means thinking back through ones day and remembering all the thoughts and situations where they blamed others for their negative feelings and situations.  Writing these situations down in a journal or notebook is an excellent way to literally re-script our thoughts and therefore our lives.  Our thoughts define our actions.  Our actions define our character.  Our character defines our life.

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"An approach to the treatment of offenders which emphasizes the role of altering thinking patterns in bringing about change in an offender's life."