All or Nothing Thinking | Counseling | Therapy

All or Nothing Thinking: CBT Therapy Philadelphia Ocean City Mechanicsville

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Cognitive Therapy in Philadelphia:

"All or Nothing Thinking" "All or nothing thinking" is commonly referred to as “black and white thinking.” This type of thinking is unrealistic, and limiting. "All or nothing thinking" limits a person’s ability to see the big picture, and forces them to make a choice between two extremes.

"All- or- nothing thinking" relates to the theme of perfectionism. Something is either perfect or it is a failure.

All-or-nothing thinking, also known as dichotomous thinking, is a type of cognitive bias that involves seeing things in absolutes, such as "always" or "never." This type of thinking can lead to rigid thinking and make it difficult to see the nuances and complexities of a situation. It can also lead to negative thoughts and feelings, such as feeling like a failure if one doesn't meet their own high standards. It is important to challenge this type of thinking and try to see things in a more balanced and nuanced way.

Examples of "all or nothing thinking":

  • I was bad and ate two pieces of cake. I really blew it. I am now a failure so I might as well eat the whole cake.
  • I do not have time to go to the gym every day, so I might as well not go at all.
  • I looked at porn for five minutes. My boss would fire me for looking online at work, thus I might as well enjoy it and let myself fully go into the trance.
  • I spent too much money. I must be awful. I better keep on shopping to make myself feel better.
  • Saying "I always fail" when something doesn't go as planned.
  • Saying "I'm a complete failure" when one doesn't meet their own high standards.
  • Saying "I can never do anything right" when one makes a mistake.
  • Saying "You're either with me or against me" when someone disagrees with you.
  • Saying "I'm either happy or sad" and not recognizing the wide range of emotions in between.
  • Saying "I'm either successful or a failure" and not recognizing that success and failure are on a spectrum.
  • Saying "I'm either loved or hated" and not recognizing that people can have mixed feelings.
  • Saying "I'm either in control or out of control" and not recognizing that you can have moments of control and moments of uncertainty.

It's important to note that black-and-white thinking can also manifest in more subtle ways, such as exaggerating the importance of small mistakes or focusing on the negative aspects of a situation while ignoring the positive.

Does the label of "all or nothing thinking" fit you? Most people who suffer from an eating disorder, sex addiction, shopping addiction, relationship addiction, alcohol addiction think this way. If you find yourself falling into this trap, you might benefit from taking the steps to change’ the all or nothing thinking’. Just because you began falling into the old pattern(s) does not mean that you have to continue. Sometimes the recognition that you have the power to choose the next set of behaviors you engage in, is enough. If you can not stop on your own, you may benefit from working with a therapist who can help you identify how, when and where you are engaging in this type of thought process. Therapists who have a strong background in addiction work can help you develop other thought processes that will be more effective in helping you achieve your goal.


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