I was reading the news on the relationship workshop conducted by the “Focus on the Family”, and it drawn me on the cognitive distortion* that was propagated.
Looking at the booklet, on the page “She says”, I have changed the column “She says…” to “What was said.”, and “She really means” to “What you think was said.”
|What was said.||What you think was said.||*Cognitive distortion.||What you can do.|
|I need.||I want.||Magnification (Catastrophizing) or minimization. You discredit a justified concern (a need, a necessity) to a negative frivolous demand (a want, an optional non-necessity).||Listen to what is the need.|
|I need another five minutes to get ready.||Give me another half an hour.||Jumping to conclusion. The Fortune Teller Error. You anticipated that time will not be kept, and is convinced that your prediction is an already-established fact.||Check if the speaker is ready in five minutes. At the same time, it would be good to understand whether the speaker needs more help, such as a clock in the room, in order for the speaker to be able to know how much time has passed. Some of us do not have an internal clock that can actually judge how much time has passed. Yes, amazingly some people are relatively accurate in judging how much time has passed without a clock/watch.|
|Come on, it is about time keeping. It is a mixture of personality, habits and culture.For MBTI personality, a perceiver (P) person tends to have difficulty in keeping time, while a judger (J) person finds it easy to keep time. In a modern society, we are expected to form the habit of time keeping, as social interactions require people to meet at the correct time. In culture where each is expected to show respect by keeping time, and where one cannot get away from not keeping time, people are forced to practice time keeping.|
|You are so manly.||You need to shave and you sweat a lot!||Disqualifying the positive. You reject positive experiences by insisting they “don’t count” for some reason or other. In this way you can maintain a negative belief that is contradicted by your everyday experiences.You disqualify the positive complement.Jumping to conclusion. Mind reading. You arbitrarily conclude that someone is reaction negatively to you, and you don’t bother to check this out. In delusion, you chose the closest unspoken insecurity to assume.||Thank the speaker and enjoy the complement.|
|We need to talk.||I need to complain.||Magnification (Catastrophizing) or minimization. You discredit a justified concern (a need to talk, to communicate) to a negative frivolous activity (a complain, a one-way dialog).||Communicate. Speak what is mean. Listen without distortion. Clarify. Rephrase what is understood. Stick to the issue discussed.|
|I’m not upset.[Speaker is really not upset]||Of course I’m upset!||Jumping to conclusion. The Fortune Teller Error. In delusion, you choose to see negativity when there isn’t.||Accept it.|
|Communication is not about just verbal. It includes non-verbal, such as body language. In this case, it is the verbalizing of an emotion. The ability to read the emotion displayed correctly is important. [A social skill which not everyone get it right.]If emotion had been correctly read, and is in conflict with the verbalized, then we need to enlighten the speaker of the discrepancy, and probe further.For the speaker, remember, communication is about saying what you mean. For the listener, remember, communication is about listening without distorting what is said. Do not jump to conclusion. Clarify.|
* The cognitive distortions are extracted from table 3-1 of the book, Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy by David D. Burns, M.D.