Search This Blog

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Defeating Negative Thoughts

Negative thoughts typically have a place and a purpose in our lives. Some therapeutic professionals refer to negative thought patterns as "thinking errors." I don't really think that it's an error in thinking, rather a problem with logic.

Plus, tell someone they are using a "thinking error" and you're likely to get an earfull. At least that was my response when someone told me I was engaging in a thinking error. I went "closed channel" pretty fast!

Some of the most common negative thought patterns (or thinking errors, if you like) have fun little names. I don't know where the names originated but I've seen them in multiple places and many therapists know them and teach them to their clients. The point of that is to help them identify an illogical thought and then change it.

I'm not a therapist by any stretch of the imagination. I'm not licensed. I'm not giving professional, paid advice. Just my opinion. However, I think you have to figure out the FUNCTION of the illogical thought pattern before you can change it.

If you are or are working with an insightful client (or even a client with a normal to high IQ) exploring the function of the pattern shouldn't be difficult. I'll give some basic examples:

Closed-Channel: This thinking error means I stop listening and engaging in the conversation. Pretty obvious how it might be helpful, if I use this than I get to ignore you and I don't have to change my behaviors. That would be my personal reason, but if you're the one using it, you should consider WHY?

Black and White: This thinking error means that I see things as one absolute truth or another. There is no middle ground. I like this one because it means for me that I can say that I will always be fat and then it relieves the guilt I have for not exercising. Also, my personal reason.

Blaming: This is a fun one! It means I don't have to take accountability for my actions. I can blame my genetics, my income, or my children/parents/spouse for my eating choices that lead to being overweight. Awesome! I no longer have to feel guilt or anxiety about this problem.

These are the three that I see frequently in myself and others. Once I know that their function is to relieve my anxiety, I can then find other healthier, more effective ways to deal with the anxiety the problem causes or to directly approach the problem I am masking.

Identify thinking error + Identify function of thinking error = new strategies to resolve problem

No comments:

Post a Comment