Negative Reframing

A somewhat whacked out man was convinced he was a corpse. And he had the following exchange with a stranger...

Man: "I'm a corpse."
Stranger: "You're a what?"
Man: "A corpse. I'm not alive, I'm really dead."
Stranger: "Well, corpses don't bleed, right?"
Man: "Right."
Stranger: "Well, can I prick your finger? And we'll see if you bleed?"
Man: "Sure."
Stranger: <prick> "See! You bleed."
Man: "Wow! ... Corpses really do bleed!"

This is funny, of course, because instead of the man revising the view of himself, he revised reality to fit his strongly held negative image. Most of us don't have such a radical self-image, but the concept remains the same. Even if our negative self image is proven wrong, if that image is firmly held, we will invariably reframe reality to fit that image, instead of the other way around.

Posted: Wed - December 31, 2003 at 08:26 AM