Today we will be discussing cognitive distortions and their role in coaching and in addressing grief and loss. What is a cognitive distortion? According to:
Cognitive distortions are exactly what the name implies: distortions in our cognition. Put another way, cognitive distortions are biased perspectives we take on ourselves and the world around us. They are irrational thoughts and beliefs that we unknowingly reinforce over time.
All cognitive distortions are:
- Tendencies or patterns of thinking or believing…
- That are false or inaccurate…
- And have the potential to cause psychological damage.
Most conflicts come from two parties seeing things from different perspectives. This can happen even within ourselves, causing angst and overall loss of inner peace. As I shared in my last blog, I had conflicting feelings about my Dad. I needed to work through them with the help of a therapist, and by doing so I found peace.
How do you work through a cognitive distortion? You must be willing to question yourself, put your thoughts on trial by asking: is this fact or opinion? Is this true? Is this always true?
By using the example of the separation of families at the border I know I may have upset a few of you, dear readers, but it serves as a powerful example of the dangers of cognitive distortions. Thinking in terms of ‘all or nothing’, labeling, overgeneralizing (all migrants have criminal intent), catastrophizing, etc. - see list of cognitive distortions at:
can lead to many unintentional yet harmful consequences.
How willing are you to move through your uncomfortable emotions, and then look at a situation from a different perspective to get closer to the truth?
It takes patience, courage, maturity and humility - acknowledging that you don’t have all the answers - to move past cognitive distortions in order to get to the truth of the situation. Arriving at truth, now you have the freedom to choose how to proceed. The pay-off: increased inner peace as well as peace and understanding amongst your fellow travelers. Priceless!
Please keep me posted on your experiences with cognitive distortions and what it’s like for you to move towards greater clarity. Peace and Hugs!