What do you mean, "Facts Don't Change Our Minds"?

New discoveries about the human mind show the limitations of reason.

You mean we can't actually reason our way out of things?  I thought that according to the often quoted cognitive triad, that our thoughts are the precursor to our feelings, which give rise to our behaviours???  Shouldn't it be quite logical that it follows that if we can challenge those thoughts that our negative feelings and behaviours are done for?  Then what about the training that clinical psychologists go through that are largely based on the favoured Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)?  But it's evidence-based right??  WHAT?!

If reason is designed to generate sound judgments, then it’s hard to conceive of a more serious design flaw than confirmation bias. Imagine, Mercier and Sperber suggest, a mouse that thinks the way we do. Such a mouse, “bent on confirming its belief that there are no cats around,” would soon be dinner.
— Elizabeth Kolbert
 The vaunted human capacity for reason may have more to do with winning arguments than with thinking straight.  Illustration by Gérard DuBois.

The vaunted human capacity for reason may have more to do with winning arguments than with thinking straight.  Illustration by Gérard DuBois.

The first time I heard of CBT, I was in the first year of Uni doing a Bachelors of Science.  I thought it was amazing how it worked but it's not only until much later that I became interested in the subjective and intersubjective experiences of individuals that things do not seem as clear-cut as the CBT theory suggests.  In fact, there's a lot more to human existence and psychological experience than just mere thought manipulation.  E.g., we emotional reason heaps, and a lot of times, it leads onto particular sets of thoughts, that may impact our behaviour, but later on, we discover that there was unresolved anger lying beneath the emotional reasoning in the first place.  Attending a therapist for CBT then becomes like a sort of missed opportunity to really delve into the depths of what was the issue in the first place.  Many clients I've picked up after attending other therapists' sessions have often quoted that they were quickly given a CBT panacea before actually having been heard much or long enough for the real scars to emerge.  Hey, take it from a clinical psychologist myself, with an entire background of CBT from the get-go, through to my post graduate doctoral training - There's always more in lying in the background I say.  You just have to dig deep enough and "follow the rabbit down the rabbit hole" (My nod to Lewis Carroll's work).

An article written by experienced staff writer Elizabeth Kolbert, on The New Yorker, wrote about this issue in February 2017.  She talked about our own biases, clever writing on mice and toilet bowls, and what knowledge does to us.  Find her thought provoking article on https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2017/02/27/why-facts-dont-change-our-minds

 
As everyone who’s followed the research—or even occasionally picked up a copy of Psychology Today—knows, any graduate student with a clipboard can demonstrate that reasonable-seeming people are often totally irrational.
— Elizabeth Kolbert
 

Give CBT a chance guys...

But hey, this is not a dig at CBT, as it does work for the few clients that talk about how it had benefited them.  However, these are also the same clients who report that the gains do not last as long as they'd like to, at least not until more exploration is suggested.  Then at the very least, CBT would have helped take them to the edge where reason is quite insufficient for more therapeutic gains.  As a wise clinical supervisor of mine once said, "...then it's time for the real work to be done".