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Perception in Therapy

Perception in Therapy

Perception is something that is individual to every person. What one person sees the other may interpret very differently indeed. We never stop to wonder why or how it works; we just take it for granted. At this moment as you read this page things will being taken into the brain and perceived. In fact some of the information I have blogged about before so far has either been absorbed or rejected as being beyond what you have experienced before. But if you think that all you are doing whilst you read this page is making sense of a series of different shaped black lines upon a white background. Something we take for granted, but what if you had never learnt to read? Would this task be so easy, something that we find difficult to perceive?

Perception is the first stage of the memory process where information is encoded and placed into the long term memory store awaiting retrieval. We can not take everything we see in to the conscious mind so after the seven plus or minus two rule occurs. Whatever the conscious does not take in, the subconscious may well take it in. If you like it is stored in a filing cabinet to await conscious or sub conscious retrieval when a stimulus is experienced. With perception sometimes things like lightning or a door slamming can be perceived as gun shots. In stress stimuli may be interpreted differently by the part of the brain where memory stores information and certain stimuli may create the wrong reaction due to it being perceived differently by the part of the brain that initiated the physical and emotional  reactions.

Perception can be interpreted in many ways, and sometimes we do not question it at all. But there are times when the interpretation takes a different term and we see something
differently than what we perceive. Two examples are that if you  are flying at 30000 feet, the clouds are motionless and the view stays the same. It appears that you are flying quite slowly indeed, but in fact you are going at 500mph. Similarly when you are sitting  on a train, you get the perception that the train is going  backwards until you realise that the other train is moving forward.

The subject of perception plays an important role in how people interpret certain things in life that develop into stress. Dependant on their experiences their perceptions may be different. Therefore we can summarise that what one person may see as a stressful event, others may not.


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