Black and White Thinking and Relationship Conflict

Black and White Thinking and Relationship Conflict

Black and White Thinking and Relationship Conflict

There is a mountain of literature available in books and online outlining the problems created by unhelpful thinking habits and most of us are intellectually capable of recognising why these patterns of thinking could be unhelpful and disruptive to our lives. 'Black and White Thinking' occurs when a person fails to recognise that they themselves and others, have both positive and negative qualities. They cannot understand the dichotomy of a person having different parts to their personality that can be both good and bad. They view a situation or person as being 'all good' or 'all bad' there is no grey area. An individual who suffers from this type of thinking habit is likely to have trouble forming and maintaining friendships and will frequently be affected by interpersonal conflict causing them and their families distress and anxiety.

Most people will be familiar with the concept of 'All or Nothing Thinking' or 'Black and White Thinking' and will probably be able to identify when others are engaging in these types of thought processes. However, many people have a personal 'blind spot' when it comes to their own thoughts. What they are thinking is totally rational, totally different from what the books say is unhelpful, their thought processes are far from unhelpful they actually create comfort and reassurance and certainty in the chaotic world we live in. So why are they suffering with anxiety? Why are they frequently involved in petty interpersonal conflicts which cause stress and sleepless nights? The answer is simple; Your thoughts are no longer your friends, its time to change those thinking habits. All human beings are complicated but the vast majority of them will not be 'all good' or 'all bad' so when we experience interpersonal conflict we must try to appreciate a person's actions logically as well as emotionally. For example, your usually friendly boss comes out of a meeting with their boss and immediately starts rebuking you for poor performance. Does this mean that they hate you and are your lifelong enemy? Or is it more likely that they have just had a telling off and are feeling rather emotional and simply lashing out. For the black and white thinker the answer is simple: their boss hates them.

London Psychologist Clinic

Talking therapies are extremely useful when dealing with patients who suffer from this type of unhelpful thinking habit, as they themselves cannot always recognise when they are engaging in these thought processes. In one to one personal therapy, the psychologist is trained to identify when this type of thought process is occurring and can guide the patient into trying to find possible grey areas within situations resulting in reduced anxiety and distress.

Group Therapy

Group therapy can also be beneficial to those who are prone to 'Black and White' unhelpful thinking habits, as it can help individuals to listen the stories of independent individuals who have experienced similar situations.

Psychological Assessment

Psychological assessments can be beneficial if an individual suspects that they, or a family member, is experiencing unhelpful thinking habits. Our clinical interview and assessments are designed to identify those areas where an individual is showing signs of distress and the tests quickly identify possible areas for concern, which can be investigated further. Psychological assessment findings are particularly useful in identifying problem thinking areas quickly and can result in more effective clinical results in a shorter time period.