Overgeneralising Thinking Problems
Beating Overgeneralising Errors
Overgeneralising is what we do when we come to a ‘global’ conclusion about something from one or a small number of events and can often be characterised by the language that goes with this problem. If you find yourself using words such as ‘always‘, ‘never‘ or ‘typical‘ then you are probably overgeneralising!
How many clients come into the clinic and tell me ‘I’m afraid of everything’ when I ask them to describe their problem. Surely a person can’t really be afraid of everything and on further questioning it turns out that what they really mean is that they are afraid of ‘failure’ or some such other very specific thing.
Overgeneralising overstates reality and leads to a loss of perspective, the ability to make an objective evaluation of events or situations.
Examples of Overgeneralising
See if you recognise any of these thinking errors:
You’ve got up a bit late this morning and are slightly anxious about getting into work on time. You put your key in the ignition and your car won’t start. You immediately think to yourself ‘things like this are ALWAYS happening to me, it’s so typical!’
You have a tendency to self-blame and shout at your child for asking you a question whilst you’re trying to watch your favourite TV programme. You quickly decide that you are a terrible parent for losing your temper.
In reality, very few situations are so clear-cut or extreme that we can extract general truths out of them abut the world or ourselves so when you do find yourself overgeneralising try the following things out:
Get Some Perspective
How true is it that things never go your way? How many times has your car ACTUALLY broken down in the past year? You’ll probably find that in truth, life goes pretty well for you and your car is pretty damn reliable. It’s easy to lose perspective and when you do, it can easily lead to unwarranted negative emotions.
Does losing your temper with your child make everything about your parenting ‘terrible’ or are you actually a pretty good parent? Surely this one-off incident does not cancel out all of the great things you do for you child. Whilst your child may get upset about your loss of temper, it’s hardly likely to damage that child irrepairably.
Shouting at your child no more makes you a terrible parent than having your car let you down once mean you are always experiencing mechanical failings that ruin your life. So try to be more specific, regain perspective and try to avoid creating ‘global’ conclusions about one-off events.
Change Your Limiting Beliefs and Stop Overgeneralising
If you’re committed to stop overgeneralising then you really can’t do much better than by following a course of CLB with Paul.
Changing Limiting Beliefs is a psychological training programme that teaches you everything you need to know to make the necessary changes to your unhelpful thinking styles and any maladaptive safety behaviours you may have developed.
FREE Initial Consultations for Overgeneralising Issues
We offer all prospective clients a FREE initial assessment to chat about overgeneralising and related problems. During this 50 minute consultation we will discuss the various options that are available to you and make a considered recommendation based on your individual personal circumstances.
At TranceForm we believe that therapy & coaching should be a collaboration between therapist and client so it’s very important to be able to meet PRIOR to agreeing any kind of help. Our policy is to help people make a fully balanced & considered decision about undertaking therapy with us, including both the financial and personal implications.
Don't hesitate to get in touch with us to find out how TranceForm could help you to achieve your goals and aspirations or overcome problems. We offer ALL prospective clients a FREE initial consultation to discuss all the options available to you.