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Problems with identifying cognitive distortions

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Problems with identifying cognitive distortions

Postby Thund » Fri Jul 18, 2014 6:04 pm

Hello, I am new to cognitive behavioral therapy, and I have read David Burns Feeling Good book, and I started to aply his methods. There is one problem I encounter and that is identifying cognitive distortions with my thoughts. For example all-or-nothing thinking, overgeneralisation and mental filtering seems very simmilar to me. There are some advices that all-or-nothing thinking occurs when you use words like always or never, but the same goes for overgeneralisation. What is the difference there?

For example, "I always fail when I try something new". Is that all or nothing thinking, overgeneralisation or both at the same time? How can I recognise the difference?

Another example would be with overgeneralisation and mental filtering. Overgeneralisation is focusing on negative and discard the positive, and mental filtering is focusing on negative event or detail. It sounds so very simmilar to me. Can you help me figuring it out?
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Re: Problems with identifying cognitive distortions

Postby knowthyself » Tue Aug 05, 2014 2:00 pm

I agree, it is very hard to tell the difference

"I always fail when I try something new"

1) If you had just tried something new (once or maybe a couple times) as part of an attempt to change your life and felt that it hadn't gone well, it would be overgeneralising to say that you always fail (in my humble opinion). I think overgeneralising is to do with taking a very small number of occurrences and saying that it is conclusive proof that it will be the rule for every future occurrence.

2) There is a second point that defines whether it went well or not. I think this is where the "new experience" was a date and on that date the night was going well, except that at one point you told a joke and you felt like her response was different that you expected. If you went home saying "it was a complete failure of a date" then I think that would classify more as all or nothing thinking.

So I think overgeneralising is to do with looking for patterns and predicting what negative thing is going to happen the next time you try it. Whereas the all or nothing thinking is more to do with how you evaluate a past event as to if it was a total success or complete failure based on a single or very small number of things that went wrong.

I struggle to define my warpy thinking (of which there is lots!) too, so this is just my take on it.
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