Cognitive Distortions: Labeling
Have you ever come across a person who is somewhat cranky? Perhaps you do not really know them, or maybe they are an acquaintance or a friend who you have not seen in years. Have you ever left the presence of that person thinking they are rude, a jerk, or even worse? Maybe the person you have negative thoughts about is yourself. Some people think to themselves, “I’m such an idiot, I can’t believe I got hurt again.” Because someone broke trust or hurt them, the individual calls themselves the idiot; this is the cognitive distortion called Labeling.
Labeling is a common cognitive distortion used by people for different reasons. When we label another person, it may be a way of blowing off steam, it may be a product of the resentment we hold toward them, or it may justify the behavior we displayed in response to their actions; “I wouldn’t have acted like that if he wasn’t such a jerk.” That’s the “They started it,” defense. When we label ourselves; however, there are reasons as well. One person may label themselves because it is what they already believe to be true. People may label themselves because they believe it is a way to hold them self accountable; if they get self-critical, they will do better next time. Yet, another person may label them self as a defense mechanism. If they talk or think badly about themselves, it will lessen the pain if someone else does it as well. Regardless of the reason for labeling, it is unhealthy.
At Rocky Mountain Neurotherapy & Counseling, Labeling is one of the cognitive distortions we address in counseling sessions. Whether it is an individual or a couple who is engaged in counseling, we face the use of this hurtful, unbeneficial distortion. Many times, with the client or clients, we search for the reason they choose to label themselves or others. Identifying the individual’s motivation to label frequently helps end this habitual way of thinking. When couples begin labeling one another, they are sure to struggle with trust, communication, intimacy, and so on. Here at Rocky Mountain Neurotherapy & Counseling, we seek to help couples understand the destruction labeling can cause and help them gain tools to work with one another by understanding that the label is not factual but based on habitual negative thought patterns.
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Rocky Mountain Neurotherapy & Counseling is located in Loveland, Colorado. We specialize in counseling, LENS treatments & helping you feel like yourself again. We hope you enjoyed our blog post above and welcome you to reach out with any questions or to see how we can help you.