Cognitive therapy is about thinking realistically and putting things in perspective. It helps deal with “thinking errors” that are distorted and unrealistic and exaggerates a problem or blows that out of proportion. It is not the situation that makes us feel bad, but rather the way we think about the situation.
Consider this situation: Three people, Nicole, Cate and Russell are waiting for a taxi. The The taxi drives straight pass without stopping. Nicole bursts into tears, Cate jumps for joy and Russell gets angry.
What do you think Nicole, Cate and Russell could have been thinking that led them to have such different feelings about the same situation?
As it turns out:
Nicole thought: “Everyone’s against me – even the taxi driver hates me”
Cate thought: “Great. I can walk home now and get extra exercise.”
Russell thought: “Now I have to wait for another taxi. I’m sick of waiting for things in my life. Waiting is the pits!”
Black and White Thinking/Perfectionism
What is Black and White Thinking/Perfectionism?
Definition: When you think in extremes and forget that there are shades of grey.
Since “all or nothing” thinking or “black and white” thinking is another thinking style strongly linked with over eating, learning not to always think in ‘black and white’ terms but to see shades of gray is immensely helpful in tackling these thoughts. It greatly reduces, or stops the unhelpful thoughts that promote over eating.
What is mind reading?
Definition: When you assume you know what others are thinking about you and generally believe the other person is thinking badly of you. It is when you jump to conclusions about what other people are thinking without any evidence or justification.
Predicting the Future/ Catastrophising
What is predicting the future?
Definition: When you assume the worst thing will always happen without any evidence to support this.
Before you do the quiz, review the 3 types of cognitive errors in the video below, Dr Chong discusses how to challenge and correct cognitive errors.