Who's up for a challenge?
After reading TD's brilliant post on JW thinking and Alice doing her cut and paste special I thought it would be a good idea to share the test that I did in therapy recently and which I got my wife to do as well. Needless to say the responses of my wife just blew me away as they were really not what I was expecting!
For the test you will need to watch the film called "falling down". As you watch the film you must identify all the incidents of limited thinking used by the caracters of D-Fens (played by Micheal Douglas) and Predergast (played by robert Duvall)
The limited thinking patterns you are looking for are:
This pattern is characterized by broad, general conclusions based on a single incident or piece of evidence. Overgeneralization often takes the form of absolute statements and uses words such as all, every, none, never, always, everybody and nobody. For example, if you read too many personal development articles you may believe all television is a waste of time.
2. Polarized Thinking
This is black-and-white thinking, with no room for shades of gray. People and things become either good or bad, smart or stupid, brave or cowardly. President Bush’s declaration in the aftermath of 9/11, “You’re either with us, or against us” is a famous example of such thinking. And we all know know what has happened since….
Filtering can be thought of as a type of tunnel vision – focusing on one element of a situation to the exclusion of everything else. For example, you may write an article that hits the front page of Digg. But rather than focusing on this success, your thoughts are distracted by a handful of negative comments.
4. Mind Reading
This pattern occurs when you make snap judgements about others. You may, for example, assume a girl who is not paying attention to you is thinking, “He is not up to my standards”. This may be based on intuition, past experiences or a process called projection, whereby you imagine people feel the same way you do and react to things the same way you do. And while your assumptions may be true, often they will turn out to be completely wrong. Perhaps she is very interested in you but is simply shy?
Catastrophizing occurs when your imagination focuses on the potential for tragedy and disaster. Just as Chicken Little worried the sky was falling after an apple fell on her head, you may fear swimming in the ocean after reading a news report of a shark attack on the other side of the world. Catastrophic thoughts often start with the words “What if?” What if I injure myself playing sport? What if this plane crashes? What if I lose my job? Such catastrophizing creates anxiety and can result in you missing out on some of life’s greatest pleasures.
This involves emphasizing things out of proportion to their actual importance. Minor suggestions become scathing criticism. Small mistakes become tragic events. Slight obstacles become overwhelming barriers.
Personalization can take two forms. First, you can directly compare yourself to other people, eg “He writes far more eloquently than I do”. Such comparisons may actually be favorable to you, eg “I am better looking”. Either way, there is an underlying assumption here that your worth is questionable. Consequently, you seek out ways to test your value and measure yourself against others. Personalization can also take the form of relating everything back to yourself. If you’re partner tells you she is bored or depressed, you may automatically think you are the cause of this feeling.
In this final pattern, you live according to a set of inflexible rules about how you and other people should act. You have a fixed view of what is right, and those who deviate from your particular values or standards are bad. And you are just as hard on yourself. Some common and unreasonable “shoulds” include:
- “I should never be tired or get sick”
- “I should always be totally self-reliant”
- “I should never make mistakes”
- “I should always be happy”
Descriptions taken from http://www.pickthebrain.com/blog/limited-thinking/
Once you have seen the film and done the exercise, now look at yourself and see how many apply?
I am curious to see how everyone responds in light of the response from my wife.