One of the Client’s Example:
“All men are dogs,” Cybil sighed. She was seeking post-divorce counseling as she was having a hard time making sense of what was happening in her world, and adjusting to the new changes in her life.
Her therapist just looked at her. As a marital counselor, he had heard this countless times, “ All men are dogs” from some women, and “ All women are heartless manipulators” from some men.
And he asked her, as he had asked all the others who had used this sweeping statement, “Are ALL men dogs? Have you never met a man who wasn’t a dog?”
Cybil was shaken from her thoughts, she looked at her therapist and quickly grinned, “ No, you are not a dog!” She paused for a moment and reflected, “Yes, I have met some men who are not dogs”
The therapist knew that Cybil had made the change she wanted to make.
How often are we stuck in these words,
“All (people of this kind) are (some adjective)”
“Everyone does this to me”
“No one likes/loves/respects me”
“I never get what I want”
“You always do this to me”
“You never listen to me”
“I am always like this”
“I am never this”
And we believe in these words with all our heart. We know that they are true, and they are the truths of our lives.
And yet we are stuck. One distinctive quality of Truth is that The Truth sets you Free!
So, if you are still stuck, if it feels like there is something not right, or if it feels like you have to live with this very choice, there is no other way but the way of resignation, then you are not living the truth.
What you feel is your truth is just partial information and it is not the complete picture.
What if you could get the complete picture? Will it change your situation in some way?
CBT Technique — Overgeneralization
In CBT, this Cognitive Distortion is called Overgeneralization. And how NLP approaches this in the Meta Model, is called using Universal Quantifiers.
Here, both modalities work in the same way.
We challenge or dispute the language of this fallacy. And we create the language of exact opposite of what has been said. And then let the client explore if there is any possibility of the second language being true.
By virtue of how we process the world around us, we tend to generalize whatever is happening around us. Or should I say, “we ALWAYS generalize?”
Just being aware of these sweeping statements, these blanket statements, these generalizations, helps us gather more information from the event. Or perhaps it gives us a different perspective. All of which takes us from the stuck situation and helps us create more solutions.
So, what could you do with this new information?
You can start by checking where you are using universal quantifiers like “All, No one, always, never, everybody, nobody, everyone”
And then ask yourself, “All? No one? Always? Never? Everybody? Nobody? Everyone?’
And see if you recover some new information.