filtering and black & white thinking

Today I want to talk about cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). In specific, cognitive distortions. I talk a lot about identifying and challenging our thoughts, and cognitive distortions are a way to categorize our thoughts.

Cognitive distortions are essentially ways that our mind 🧠 convinces us of something that isn’t really true.

I’m going to go through a bunch of these over the next few weeks- let’s start with these two:

-Filtering- Filtering is when we take only negative details into consideration and filter out all positive aspects. For instance, if I said, “Driving is the worst!!! I hate everything about driving, the traffic, bad drivers, my commute...” 🚗 😤 I might be forgetting how much I enjoy sitting in my warm car and listening to podcasts👂🏻. I might also be forgetting how much I didn’t like riding the bus!

-Black and White Thinking- This is where we think in concretes- we’re perfect or we’re a failure. People are good 👍 or they are bad 👎. There’s no middle ground! When you place people or situations in “either/or” categories, with no shades of gray 🌫, you’re not allowing for the complexity of most people and situations. You hear this one so often in couples therapy, “They never wash the dishes!”, “I always do everything around the house!”. My black and white thinking alarm bells 🚨 go off every time I hear the word “always” ...wait, was that black and white thinking?? 😂

We’re all guilty of these from time to time, as you can see. Any one want to share another example?