Monthly Archives: December 2022

The Sky is Falling!

Robert F. Mullen, PhD
Director/ReChanneling

Subscriber numbers generate contributions that support scholarships for workshops.

“Dr. Mullen is doing impressive work helping the world. He is the
pioneer of proactive neuroplasticity utilizing DRNI—deliberate,
repetitive, neural information.” WeVoice (Madrid)

Cognitive Distortion #10: Catastrophizing  

One morning, as Chicken Little was plucking worms in the henyard, an acorn dropped from a tree onto her head. She had no idea what hit her and assumed the worst. “The sky is falling, the sky is falling!” Catastrophizing drives us to conclude the worst-case scenario when things happen, rather than considering more obvious and plausible explanations. It is the irrational assumption that something is far worse than it is. We validate this by Filtering out the alternatives. We anticipate and prophesize disaster and twist reality to support our projection. If our significant other complains of a headache, we assume our relationship is doomed. If this happens again, our belief is confirmed.

A symptom of SAD is our tendency to expect negative consequences to things that happen during a situation. Because of our life-consistent negative self-appraisal, and inherent negative bias, we tend to assume the worst. Often, we justify our projections based on prior events, believing that catastrophe will ensue because the former event had disastrous consequences. This is similar to Overgeneralization where one bad apple means the entire bushel is rotten. Our four horsemen of social anxiety disorder – helplessness, hopelessness, undesirability, and unworthiness aggravate our negative assumptions. Catastrophizing is often a consequence of our symptomatic fears of criticism, ridicule, and rejection. We take something we believe is inevitable and presuppose its actuality. We will be rejected and therefore, never find love. We will be criticized and, therefore, never be taken seriously. 

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Catastrophizing can be paralyzing. It limits our social engagement because we avoid situations that posit the possibility of disaster. Our fatalistic obsessions prevent us from experiencing and enjoying life. We express it in our SAD-induced automatic negative thoughts (ANTs). “What if no one talks to me?” “What if they criticize my presentation?” “What if they find me unattractive?” Worrying about something that hasn’t happened is an exercise in futility and supports our sense of hopelessness. It can negatively impact our entire outlook in life, causing issues of motivation and self-esteem that lead to self-disappointment and underachievement.

Considering the consequences of what can happen is a regular and rational part of determining our actions and activities. The compulsion to project the worst possible outcome, no matter how improbable, is self-destructive. 

When those of us with social anxiety disorder find ourselves in a situation where we dread being criticized, ridiculed, and or rejected, the smallest incident, like a failed attempt at humor, can trigger the belief that the entire evening is a personal disaster. This projection can easily become a self-fulfilling prophecy because we are convinced of its inevitability. 

Catastrophizing is closely linked to anxiety, depression, and self-pity, and is prevalent among individuals who have generalized anxiety, social anxiety, panic, and obsessive-compulsive disorder.

Again, the obvious remedy is to become mindful of our susceptibility to this distortion, rationally assess the situation, and consider plausible explanations for the incident that triggered our catastrophizing.

Proactive Neuroplasticity YouTube Series

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WHY IS YOUR SUPPORT SO IMPORTANT?  ReChanneling develops and implements programs to (1) moderate symptoms of emotional dysfunction and (2) pursue personal goals and objectives – harnessing our intrinsic aptitude for extraordinary living. Our paradigmatic approach targets the personality through empathy, collaboration, and program integration utilizing scientific and clinically practical methods including proactive neuroplasticity, cognitive-behavioral modification, positive psychology, and techniques designed to regenerate self-esteem. All donations support scholarships for groups, workshops, and practicums.  

Clio’s Psyche

Robert F. Mullen, PhD
Director/ReChanneling

Subscriber numbers generate contributions that support scholarships for workshops.

Utilizing Psychobiography to Moderate Symptoms of SAD

Abstract: Putting practical application to theory, this paper illustrates how the research techniques of psychobiography are incorporated into a comprehensive recovery program for social anxiety disorder.

Keywords: character-motivation, childhood disturbance, emotional disorders, Maslow, recovery, self-esteem, social anxiety

Psychobiography can be a most helpful treatment method in moderating the impact of social anxiety disorder (SAD), which is one of the most common mental disorders, negatively impacting the emotional and mental well-being of millions of U.S. adults and adolescents who find themselves caught up in a densely interconnected network of fear and avoidance of social situations. SAD is culturally identifiable by the persistent fear of social and performance situations in which we claim to be misunderstood, judged, criticized, and ridiculed. The irony is that we have far more to fear from our distorted perceptions than the opinions of others. Our imagination takes us to dark and lonely places.  

SAD makes us feel helpless and hopeless, trapped in a vicious cycle of fear and anxiety, and restricted from living a “normal” life. We feel alienated and disconnected—loners full of uncertainty, hesitation, and trepidation. Our fear of disapproval and rejection is so severe that we avoid the life experiences that interconnect us with others and the world. Fearing the unknown and unexplored, we obsess about upcoming situations and how we will reveal our shortcomings, experiencing anticipatory anxiety for weeks before an event and expecting the worst. We feel like we are living under a microscope, and everyone is judging us negatively, making us worry about what we say, how we look, and how we express ourselves. We are obsessed with how others perceive us; we feel undesirable and worthless.  

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As a SAD survivor, researcher, and workshop facilitator, I have found that the investigative methods utilized in psychobiography offer a unique understanding of how our motivation to succeed is seriously impaired by the symptoms of SAD. Until my psychology graduate study, I was convinced my emotional dysfunctions were the consequence of poor behavior rather than SAD-symptomatic. It was then I realized the immeasurable value of the in-depth case study that forms the crux of psychobiography. Recovery can be encapsulated by the phrase: “We are not defined by our social anxiety; we are defined by our character strengths, virtues, and achievements.”

SAD is a product of our negative core and intermediate beliefs induced by childhood disturbance. Cumulative evidence that a toxic childhood is a primary causal factor in lifetime emotional instability has been well-established. Emotional disorders sense the child’s vulnerability and onset during adolescence. (In the later-life onset of narcissistic personality disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder [PTSD], the susceptibility originates in childhood.) The disruption of emotional development subverts the child’s natural physiological and emotional evolution, denying the satisfaction of self-esteem. This does not signify a deficit, but both latency and dormancy are expressed by our undervaluation or regression of our positive self-qualities.

In a recent article, I stated the case that the psychobiographic emphasis on the eminent extraordinary limits its potential to understand the character motivations of the “ordinary” extraordinary who has achieved a significant personal milestone. To the average individual living with SAD, a noteworthy milestone is recovery-remission from emotional dysfunction. Putting practical application to theory, I have incorporated research methods of psychobiography into our comprehensive recovery programs. 

The role of psychobiography is to generate a more in-depth understanding of the qualities and characteristics that motivate us to achieve and overcome adversity. A primary function of recovery is to galvanize the SAD person to reclaim mindfulness of their character strengths, virtues, and achievements. Recognizing and accepting our inherent and developed personal values encourages us to embrace the extraordinariness of our lives, confirming we are consequential and valuable.  

The lifetime-consistent influx of negative self-beliefs and images generated by SAD negatively impacts the natural development of self-esteem, defined as the realization of one’s significance to self and community. Self-esteem is the complex interrelationship between how we think about ourselves, how we think others perceive us, and how we process and express that information. 

The roots of this lacuna are illustrated by Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of developmental needs. Childhood physical, emotional, or sexual disturbance disrupts our emotional and physiological development. Our sense of safety and security as well as feelings of belongingness and being loved are subverted, denying the satisfaction of self-esteem. While access to Maslow’s hierarchal levels is nonlinear, when coupled with our negative core and intermediate beliefs, the impact on our self-esteem becomes a certainty.

Maslow and Psychobiography: Realizing Our Potential

The collaboration of psychobiography and positive psychology traces its origins to themes addressed by Maslow that stress the importance of focusing on our positive qualities to realize our potential—to become the most that we can be. A function of psychobiography is to generate an understanding of the individual to learn what motivates our thoughts and behaviors. SAD functions by compelling irrational and self-destructive thoughts and behaviors due to its life-consistent negative self-beliefs and images.  Psychobiography lays the groundwork for rational response. 

The foundation of positive psychology is a human’s ability, development, and potential. The SAD symptomatic, life-consistent neural input of toxic information subverts our recognition and appreciation of our inherent and developed character strengths, virtues, and achievements—a trajectory initiated by our negative core and intermediate beliefs. It is the role of psychobiography to study the character attributes that generate the motivation to achieve and apply these understandings toward optimal functioning and improved life satisfaction.

The Influence of Core Beliefs in SAD

Core beliefs are determined by our childhood physiology, heredity, environment, information input, experience, learning, and relationships. Negative core beliefs are generated by any childhood disturbance that interferes with our optimal physical, cognitive, emotional, and social development. Perhaps we were subject to dysfunctional parenting, a lack of emotional validation, gender bullying, or a broken home. The disturbance can be intentional or accidental, real, or perceptual.  A toddler whose parental quality time is interrupted by a phone call can sense abandonment, which can generate core beliefs of unworthiness or insignificance.  

Core beliefs remain our belief system throughout life and govern our perceptions. They are more rigid in SAD persons because we tend to store information consistent with negative self-beliefs, ignoring evidence that contradicts. A recent Japanese study on emotional neuroticism found that core beliefs about the negative self generate cognitive vulnerabilities in achievement, dependency, and self-control. SAD generates cognitive distortions and maladaptive behaviors counterproductive to logical reasoning, negatively impacting the rationality and accuracy of our perspectives and decisions.  

Aaron Beck is the undisputed pioneer of cognitive-behavioral therapy for social anxiety and depression. He assigned negative core beliefs to two categories: self-oriented (“I am undesirable”) and other-oriented (“You are undesirable”). Individuals with self-oriented negative core beliefs view themselves in four ways: we feel helpless, hopeless, undesirable, and/or worthless. These beliefs can lead to fears of intimacy and commitment, an inability to trust, debilitating anxiety, codependence, aggression, feelings of insecurity, isolation, a lack of control over life, and resistance to new experiences. People with other-oriented negative core beliefs view people as demeaning, dismissive, malicious, or manipulative. By blaming others, we avoid personal accountability for our behaviors.  

Intermediate Beliefs: Establishing Attitudes, Rules, and Assumptions

The accumulated negative core beliefs due to childhood disturbance and other early-life experiences heavily influence our intermediate beliefs that develop our adolescence. As with core beliefs, they support our natural negative bias, neurobiologically inputting toxic information that reinforces our negative self-valuations. Intermediate beliefs establish our attitudes, rules, and assumptions. Attitude refers to our emotions, convictions, and behaviors. Rules are the principles or regulations that influence our behaviors. Our assumptions are what we believe to be true or real. A SAD person’s attitude is one of self-denigration, assumptions illogical and cognitively distorted, and rules interacted by destructive behaviors, 

A comprehensive recovery workshop must consider the needs of the individual within the group. One-size-fits-all approaches are anathema to recovery. Just as there is no one right way to do or experience recovery and transformation, so also what benefits one individual may not be helpful to another. The insularity of cognitive-behavioral therapy, positive psychologies, and other approaches cannot comprehensively address the complexity of the personality. Our environment, heritage, background, and associations reflect our wants, choices, and aspirations. If they are not given appropriate consideration, then we are not valued.

Devising a targeted recovery approach requires multiple perspectives from different psychological and scientific schools of thought developed through client trust, cultural assimilation, and therapeutic innovation. A collaboration of science and East-West psychologies is essential to capture the diversity of human thought and experience. Science gives us proactive neuroplasticity: cognitive-behavioral modification, positive psychology, and psychobiography are western-oriented; and eastern practices provide the therapeutic benefits of Buddhist psychology, as well as a sense of self that embraces the positive qualities of the individual. The qualitative and quantitative research elements of psychobiography, including the case study, hermeneutics, interpretations and explanations, personal data and evidence, and the narrative are useful tools for understanding the impact of SAD on our self-beliefs and images.

Quantitative and Qualitative Research

Quantitative research involves the empirical investigation of observable and measurable variables. It is used for testing theory, predicting and illustrating outcomes, and considering clinically-supported techniques. Quantitative research generates hypotheses and helps determine research and recovery strategies. It can include data-driven research, scales, personal inventories, and comparative or correlational studies. Although conceived as focusing on data articulated numerically, quantitative analysis is also used to study feared situations and the severity of anxiety.  

Qualitative research provides a close-up look at the human side of SAD relative to behaviors, beliefs, emotions, and relationships, supported by such intangible factors as social norms, ethnicity, socio-economic status, philosophy, and religion. A comprehensive study of the status and motivations of a SAD person is partially compiled through interviews, open-ended questions, and opinion research to gain insight into perceptions and belief systems.  

Proactive Neuroplasticity YouTube Series

In-Depth Case-Study           

The psychobiographic in-depth case study is a reconstructive clinical and systematic analysis of the life and productivity of an individual. The key is the availability of evidence. Accessing therapeutic notes and conclusions is legally impermissible; the workshop facilitator must lean heavily on experience and innovative methods of discovery. A case study of a recovering SAD person relies heavily on personal interviews—testimony that is conditional and truthful to the extent that the individual believes it or needs the facilitator to believe it. Clinically-supported scales and inventories are useful, and statistical research and studies are abundant. Comparative and correlational evidence supports conclusions.  

Psychobiography: Interpretations and Explanations

Psychobiography is an interpretation of the life of individuals, extraordinary or otherwise. Interpretations and explanations compensate for the physiological and psychological resistance to personal revelation. Recollections are highly subject to inaccuracies. We must ask ourselves, to what extent are memories of subjective experiences and events accurate portrayals of what happened, wistful recollections, or biased reconstructions? Whether correctly recalled or not, memories and recollections must be valued as authentic perceptions of the reality of the individual. In the case of Michael Z., his recollections of childhood physical and emotional abuse helped him understand and moderate his avoidance of trust and intimacy.

Interpretation permeates all investigations from data to statistics, the case study, and hermeneutics. Psychobiography is an intuitive, interpretive method of comprehension based upon the synthesis of evidence culled from all available, relevant sources. Therapists must partially base their diagnosis on the interpretation of observable behaviors. 

 A facilitator must consider the multiplicities of truth, which means different things to different people and is contingent upon the validity of the information provided by the subject. We must be willing to risk and value our interpretations, instincts, and even speculations while remaining cognizant that we are susceptible to incorporating personal sensibilities and subject to imperfect conclusions, due to the vagaries and ambiguities of the subject.  

Hermeneutics: An Essential Step in Recovery

Hermeneutics is essential to recovery due to the core beliefs of the child impacted by a dysfunction-provoking disturbance. The disruption in emotional development coupled with unjustifiable shame and guilt generates negative and often hostile perspectives in early learning which leans heavily on morality and religion. The unjustifiable shame and guilt expressed by Matty S. was a reliable indicator of his sense of undesirability and worthlessness. Recognizing his non-accountability for onset allowed him to realize the irrationality of his adverse moral emotions. The negative belief system of the susceptible child cognitively distorts their understanding of self and their relationship with others and the world. A major function of recovery is moderating these irrational beliefs. This entails identifying and examining our disruptive thoughts and behaviors and generating rational responses, while proactively repatterning our neural network. 

Narrative: The Ordinary Extraordinary

The narrative aspect of psychobiography favors the “ordinary” extraordinary because of their ability to access experiences. While the narrative of the average individual may lack spectacularism it does not impede creativity. Every SAD individual’s life is distinctive, consisting of unique experiences, beliefs, and sensibilities. How we express that information is subject to our self-beliefs and images. Through the interview and narrative process, Liz D. was able to rationally comprehend and moderate her intense situational fear of constructive confrontation. Its complex origins stemmed from her adolescent intermediate self-beliefs.  The role of the personal narrative in moderating negative-self perceptions is significant.  

Concluding Thoughts

This article illustrates the value of psychobiography in constructing an individually targeted approach to recovery from social anxiety disorder. A psychobiography generates hypotheses and helps determine recovery strategies while offering a close-up look at the human side of SAD relative to behaviors, beliefs, emotions, and relationships. It provides support in evaluating and treating the individual within the workshop gestalt. The investigative methods utilized in psychobiography, including the case study, hermeneutics, interview, narrative, and the relevant social sciences, are valuable to understanding the trajectory of and methods to moderate life-consistent negative self-beliefs and images. Less reliable is the availability of an informed case study and personal data and evidence. This lacuna is compensated by the experienced facilitator’s interpretation of common threads in SAD recovery, supported by statistical research and comparative and correlational evidence.  

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Clio’s Psyche is a peer-reviewed, scholarly journal, founded in 1994, and published by the Psychohistory Forum, holding regular scholarly meetings in Manhattan and at international conventions. Clio’s Psyche is unique in that it prefers experiential testimony over extensive citation.

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WHY IS YOUR SUPPORT SO IMPORTANT?  ReChanneling develops and implements programs to (1) moderate symptoms of emotional dysfunction and (2) pursue personal goals and objectives – harnessing our intrinsic aptitude for extraordinary living. Our paradigmatic approach targets the personality through empathy, collaboration, and program integration utilizing scientific and clinically practical methods including proactive neuroplasticity, cognitive-behavioral modification, positive psychology, and techniques designed to regenerate self-esteem. All donations support scholarships for groups, workshops, and practicums.  

ReChanneling: Updates and Happenings, Winter 2022-23.

Matty Saven
Media Consultant

Subscriber numbers generate contributions that support scholarships for workshops.   

Video #7: Constructing Our Neural Information

ReChanneling uploaded the seventh video installment on Proactive Neuroplasticity. Neural information is constructed by establishing our goal, identifying the objectives or steps we take to implement that goal, and determining the Information – the self-affirming or motivating statement we deliberately and repetitively input into our neural network. We want our information to be authentic and of sound construction to engage the full capacity of positive neural response. The integrity of our goal, objectives, and information correlates to the durability and efficacy of neural restructuring.

Proactive Neuroplasticity YouTube Series

These and other instructional videos are currently hosted by YouTube, BitChute, ReChanneling, Regimed Pharmacy, and other supporting organizations.

Workshops

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Upcoming Book (2023)

Multiple draft chapters from ReChanneling’s book on moderating social anxiety disorder and its comorbidities are posted on our website. We present them as an opportunity for readers to share their ideas and constructive criticism – suggestions gratefully considered and evaluated as we work to ensure the most beneficial product to those with emotional dysfunction (which is all of us to some degree). LINK.

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Clio’s Psyche and Other Publications

Dr. Mullen’s article “Utilizing Psychobiography to Moderate Symptoms of Social Anxiety Disorder” is recently published in the Winter 2022 issue of Clio’s Psyche (Volume 18, Issue 2). The peer-reviewed, scholarly journal, founded in 1994, is published by the Psychohistory Forum, holding regular scholarly meetings in Manhattan and at international conventions.

Mullen’s “Broadening the Parameters of the Psychobiography” in Psychobiographical Illustrations on Meaning and Identity in Sociocultural Contexts has been uploaded to ResearchGate and Academia.edu. Edited by C.-E. Mayer, P. Fouche, R. van Niekerk, the book is published by Palgrave-Macmillan. Contact us to request a copy.

LINK to Other Publications

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“Dr. Mullen is doing impressive work helping the world. He is the pioneer of proactive neuroplasticity utilizing DRNI—deliberate, repetitive, neural information.”— WeVoice (Spain)

“ReChanneling’s Social Anxiety Workshop produced results within a few sessions … I’m now much more at ease in situations that were major sources of anxiety and avoidance just a few months ago. The shared experience of working through social anxiety with other people who “get it” is powerful, and I’ve felt Dr. Mullen is truly committed to our growth and recovery.”   — Liz D.

“I like Robert’s SAD recovery program, especially how it’s taking many of my negative thoughts away and replacing them with positive ones. I also appreciate the others that are in our recovery group, as we all mingle quite well. And, of course, Robert is always there as nurturing and positive friend.” — Michael Z.

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Academia.edu

Academia.edu continues to offer two ReChanneling courses: Neuroscience and Happiness: A Guide to Neuroplasticity and Positive Behavioral Change and Social Anxiety in the LGBTQ+ Community.

Latest Posts

… and, of course, everything on the ReChanneling website is constantly updated as the program continues to evolve and flourish.

Discussion Groups

ReChanneling currently facilitates over 1000 individuals with social anxiety disorder in our two discussion groups. Social Anxiety and Proactive Neuroplasticity and LGBTQ+ Social Anxiety Group.

A third discussion group, ReChanneling: Recovery and Empowerment focuses on proactive neuroplasticity in the pursuit of goals and objectives.

Workshops and Speaking Engagements

  • January 3rd — Pride Toastmasters
  • January 26th March 30th — Social Anxiety Disorder Workshop
  • January 28th  — Empowerment with Proactive Neuroplasticity (Online)
  • February 24th Proactive Neuroplasticity: Lake Shore Unitarian Society, Winnetka, IL 
  • February 26th – April 10th — Proactive Neuroplasticity Empowerment Workshop

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WHY IS YOUR SUPPORT SO IMPORTANT?  ReChanneling develops and implements programs to (1) moderate symptoms of emotional dysfunction and (2) pursue personal goals and objectives – harnessing our intrinsic aptitude for extraordinary living. Our paradigmatic approach targets the personality through empathy, collaboration, and program integration utilizing scientific and clinically practical methods including proactive neuroplasticity, cognitive-behavioral modification, positive psychology, and techniques designed to regenerate self-esteem. All donations support scholarships for groups, workshops, and practicums.  

Feeling Our Way Thru Life

Robert F. Mullen, PhD
Director/ReChanneling

Subscriber numbers generate contributions that support scholarships for workshops.

Cognitive Distortion #1: Emotional Reasoning

Cognitive distortions are exaggerated or irrational thought patterns that perpetuate our anxiety and depression. In essence, we twist reality to reinforce or justify our toxic behaviors and validate our irrational attitudes, rules, and assumptions. Our attitudes refer to our emotions, convictions, and behaviors. Rules are the principles or regulations that influence our behaviors, and our assumptions are what we believe to be accurate or real. SAD and other emotional dysfunctions paint an inaccurate picture of the self, others, and the world. 

Consider this example. The entire office staff congratulates us on our promotion, except for one individual who ignores us. Rather than embracing the support, we obsess over the shunner. That is Filtering – selectively choosing our facts to support our poor self-image by dwelling on the negative while overlooking the positive. While the number of cognitive distortions varies widely, there are thirteen that are primary and especially relevant to social anxiety. Jumping to Conclusions supposes we know what others are thinking. We are mind-readers. Emotional Reasoning is arriving at conclusions based solely on our feelings. When we engage in Personalization, we assume that doings and events are directly related to us and random remarks are personally relevant.

Understanding how we use cognitive distortions as subconscious strategies to avoid facing certain truths is crucial to recovery. SAD drives our illogical thought patterns. Countering them requires mindfulness of our motives and rational response. Our compulsion to twist the truth to validate our negative self-beliefs and image is powerful; we need to understand how these distortions sustain our social anxiety disorder. Cognitive distortions are rarely cut and dried but tend to overlap and share traits and characteristics. That’s what makes them difficult to clearly define. Because of their complexity and similarities, each cognitive distortion has its chapter.

We begin our study with Emotional Reasoning because it is the catalyst for the other cognitive distortions. The irrational thought patterns that underscore them stem from the SAD-provoked convictions we are helpless, hopeless, undesirable, and worthless (the SAD four horsemen). For example, when we engage in Filtering, we selectively ignore the positive aspects of a situation because of our life-consistent negative self-beliefs. This unbalanced perspective leads to Polarized Thinking, where we perceive things only in black or white. Because of our negative self-appraisal, we assume everything bad that happens is our fault, and anything said derogatorily is a reference to us. That’s called Personalization, which is very much like internal blaming. How our cognitive distortions relate to our social anxiety will become evident as we explore them, individually, throughout this book. We can comfortably state that Emotional Reasoning is the progenitor of all our cognitive distortions as they are ruled by our emotions.

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Emotional Reasoning is making judgments and decisions based on instinct or feelings over objective evidence – best expressed by the colloquialism, my gut tells me…  This emotional dependency dictates how we relate to things. At the root of this cognitive distortion is the belief that what we feel must be true. If we feel like a loser, then we must be a loser. If we feel incompetent, then we must be incapable. If we make a mistake, we must be stupid. All the negative things we feel about ourselves, others, and the world must be valid because they feel true. Resolving this opposition is a crucial element of recovery. 

Emotions are the reactions that we experience in response to situations. The type of emotion we experience is determined by multiple factors including our core and intermediate beliefs, experiences, and the situational fear that triggers the emotion. Emotions by themselves have little relevance to the truth of a situation. They are products of what we think or assume is happening.

We are hard-wired to hearken to our emotions. We consider them first because they are unconscious and automatic. It is more natural to base our conclusions on feelings than on facts. If we have distorted thoughts and beliefs, then our emotions will reflect them. Emotional Reasoning is not only dichotomous but also irrational. When we make judgments and decisions based on our feelings without supporting evidence, we are likely misinterpreting reality. 

We are all susceptible to Emotional Reasoning, and not all decisions made are wrong or destructive. It is healthy to stay in touch with our feelings assuming they correspond with reality. A balanced perspective embraces instinct, feelings, and experience as well as evidence. The challenge to us is that our SAD sustains itself on our irrationality, and our negative core and intermediate beliefs lead us to ignore evidence that contradicts them, compelling us to make poor decisions. 

Recovery requires a rational response-based strategy for psychological balance. One that considers the simultaneous mutual interaction of our mind, body, spirit, and emotions working in concert. When one component becomes psychologically untenable, we divert to another to moderate the severity.

Through recovery, we replace or overwhelm our toxic self-beliefs with healthy self-appreciation. We discover rational alternatives to our self-annihilating thoughts and behaviors. We become mindful of the value of introspection, examination, and analysis of our attitudes, rules, and assumptions. We learn to rechannel the emotional angst of our situational fears and anxieties into intellectual self-awareness and consider alternative possibilities and multiple perspectives.

Proactive Neuroplasticity YouTube Series

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WHY IS YOUR SUPPORT SO IMPORTANT?  ReChanneling develops and implements programs to (1) moderate symptoms of emotional dysfunction and (2) pursue personal goals and objectives – harnessing our intrinsic aptitude for extraordinary living. Our paradigmatic approach targets the personality through empathy, collaboration, and program integration utilizing scientific and clinically practical methods including proactive neuroplasticity, cognitive-behavioral modification, positive psychology, and techniques designed to regenerate self-esteem. All donations support scholarships for groups, workshops, and practicums.  

Whoever Said Life is Fair?

Robert F. Mullen, PhD
Director/ReChanneling

Subscriber numbers generate contributions that support scholarships for workshops.

Cognitive Distortion #9: Fallacy of Fairness  

is the unrealistic assumption that life should be fair. It is human nature to equate fairness with how well our personal preferences are met. We know how we want to be treated and anything that conflicts with that seems unreasonable and emotionally unacceptable. Fairness is subjective, however. Two people seldom agree on what is fair. The fact that those living with SAD are predisposed to emotional reasoning or personalization does validate the irrationality that life is fair.

The concept of fairness varies, based on our experiences, culture, and environment. It is a personally biased assessment of how well our expectations, needs, and wants are met by others, institutions, and nature. When real life goes against our perceptions of fairness, as it often does, it generates negative emotions.

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The belief that all things in life should be based on fairness and equality is a noble but unrealistic philosophy. We can strive for such things, but life’s vicissitudes have a will of their own. The obvious reality is that much of life is inequitable. People are self-oriented, institutions alternatively focused, and nature indeterminate. Wanting things to work in our favor is normal; expecting them to do so is irrational.

We all have our ideas of how we like to be treated In personal interactions, but reciprocation is governed by the other, and it rarely comports with our expectations. As a result, we blame others for any adverse response rather than consider their expectations and our self-centered assumptions of fairness.

The problem is exacerbated in those of us living with social anxiety because SAD subsists on our irrational thoughts and behaviors, which means that our expectations are often irrational as well. Ironically, we are not surprised when they are not met because we symptomatically anticipate and project negative outcomes. This does not stop us, however, from blaming ourselves or others when our negative prophecies are fulfilled.

The fallacy of fairness is often expressed in conditional assumptions. “If my teacher knew how hard I studied, she’d give me a passing grade.” Conditional conclusions allow us to avoid delegating true accountability. Studying does not always lead to comprehension, and teachers, ostensibly, base grades on test results. ”If my parents had treated me better, I wouldn’t have social anxiety disorder.” The direct cause of emotional dysfunction is indeterminate, and blaming our parents or ourselves is irrational given the evidence.

It is advisable to stand outside the bullseye – to emotionally extract ourselves from an undesirable situation and evaluate it from multiple perspectives. Fairness is subjective, based on personal beliefs and experiences. Mindfulness of the needs and experiences of others is a product of recovery. Moderating our fears of social interaction allows us to entertain other points of view, and reveals the narrow-mindedness of fairness, which is only a state of mind.

Proactive Neuroplasticity YouTube Series

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WHY IS YOUR SUPPORT SO IMPORTANT?  ReChanneling develops and implements programs to (1) moderate symptoms of emotional dysfunction and (2) pursue personal goals and objectives – harnessing our intrinsic aptitude for extraordinary living. Our paradigmatic approach targets the personality through empathy, collaboration, and program integration utilizing scientific and clinically practical methods including proactive neuroplasticity, cognitive-behavioral modification, positive psychology, and techniques designed to regenerate self-esteem. All donations support scholarships for groups, workshops, and practicums.  

Chapter 12: Positive Personal Affirmations

Robert F. Mullen, PhD
Director/ReChannelng

Subscriber numbers generate contributions that support scholarships for workshops.

This is a draft of Chapter Twelve – ‘Positive Personal Affirmations” in ReChanneling’s upcoming book on moderating social anxiety disorder and its comorbidities. I present this as an opportunity for readers to share their ideas and constructive criticism – suggestions that I gratefully consider and evaluate as I work to ensure the most beneficial product to those with emotional dysfunction (which is all of us to some degree). Please forward your comments in the form provided below.

<Twelve>
Positive Personal Affirmations

The positive thinker sees the invisible,
feels the intangible, and achieves the impossible.”
Winston Churchill

One of the most effective ways to input neural information is through positive personal affirmations (PPAs) – our self-empowering, motivating statements of purpose. Practicing positive personal affirmations is an extremely productive form of DRNI or the deliberate, repetitive, neural input of information. 

On the surface, creating positive personal affirmations (PPAs) sounds easy, but it is deceptively complex for SAD persons. The theory is by deliberating repeating PPAs, the power of suggestion instigates positive changes in our thoughts and behaviors. We persuade ourselves to believe what we tell ourselves. Those of us living with social anxiety disorder, however, are not so easily fooled. Years of negative self-beliefs cannot simply be overwhelmed by a few choice words. It is difficult enough to say something self-supportive, much less believe it. 

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I know many of you are skeptical. SAD drives us to distrust unfamiliar ideas and concepts. How can anything this simple contribute so significantly to the restructuring of our neural network? Our resistance to positive reinforcement is robust. Since childhood, we have been badgered by parents and teachers to think positively, but they never understood the science. Cajoling someone to do something without explanation is like teaching a puppy to walk on its hind legs. It eventually learns, but only under duress, and probably resents us. It also does not perform without an audience. 

Many of us disparage the new-age implications of PPAs. Even when we become mindful of the obvious benefits of positive reinforcement in neural realignment, we dismiss it as silly and boring. Nonetheless, if we do the work – if we construct three viable PPAs and repeat them at least five times a day for one week, we will experience a perceptible change in our attitude and outlook on life. Trust me on this; I have experienced and witnessed the change.

That’s why mindfulness of the science behind proactive neuroplasticity is so important. If our PPAs meet the criteria for good information, our neural network will recognize them and restructure accordingly, whether we believe our information or not. Remember, our brain doesn’t think; it is an organic reciprocator. It doesn’t distinguish healthy from toxic information. Positive information in, positive energy reciprocated in abundance. Conversely, negative information in, negative energy reciprocated in abundance. So, telling ourselves PPAs are a waste of time because we don’t believe in them is not only self-annihilating but also incorrect. 

In defining his counteroffensive in war, Sun Tzu wrote, “Supreme excellence consists of breaking the enemy’s resistance without fighting.” That is what we are doing with the deliberate, repetitive neural input (DRNI) of our PPAs. We are breaking down our brain’s resistance to healthy thoughts and behaviors due to our life-consistent negative self-beliefs by barraging it with positive information. Executing PPAs properly initiates the rapid, concentrated, neurological stimulation that causes positive neural chain reactions. PPAs are the most effective form of DRNI. That they also help us focus on goals, challenge negative, self-defeating beliefs, and reprogram our subconscious minds should confirm their value. 

Neurons don’t act by themselves but through neural circuits that strengthen or weaken their connections based on electrical activity. The deliberate, repetitive, input of information compels neurons to fire repeatedly, causing them to wire together. The more repetitions, the more robust the new connections. 

Neuroscientist, Donald Hebb was a pioneer in establishing the correlation between psychology and neuroscience as it relates to behavior. Hebbian Learning is a complex algorithm that is best summarized as “neurons that fire together wire together.” That means the simultaneous activation of nearby neurons leads to an increase in the strength of synaptic connections between them. While our input of information is not simultaneous no matter how quickly we repeat it, the corresponding reactivity of participating neurons produces the same response. DRNI accelerates and consolidates learning by causing neural circuits to strengthen and power information.

In addition, as we now know, multiple repetitions of positive information activate millions of neurons that reciprocate that energy in abundance. PPAs decrease the flow of the fear and anxiety-provoking hormones, cortisol and adrenaline while simultaneously producing hormones for memory, learning, and concentration. PPAs amplify the activity of our axon pathways, creating higher levels of BDNF (brain-derived neural factor) proteinsWe accelerate learning and unlearning through repetition.

Like any neural input of information, PPAs spark receptor neurons that forward positive energy to millions of participating neurons, causing a cellular chain reaction in multiple interconnected areas of our brain. A colleague visualizes her PPAs as holiday fireworks. The receptor neuron is the match, the sensory and postsynaptic neurons are the fuse, and the cacophony of colors and sounds simulate the neural chain reaction. 

Three PPAs repeated five times, three times daily generates forty-five cellular chain reactions, dramatically accelerating and consolidating the restructuring of our neural network. The process takes approximately five minutes out of our day.

We outlined eight rules for productive neural information in Chapter 10. Mindful of the value of repetition for learning and unlearning, let’s repeat these criteria one more time.

Rational. The only logical recourse to irrational thoughts and behaviors.

Reasonable. Unreasonable aspirations get us nowhere.

Possible. If we are incapable of achieving our goal, there it is unreasonable to pursue it.

Positive. Negative information is counterproductive to positive neural restructuring. 

Goal-focused. If we do not know our destination, we will not know it when we arrive. 

Unconditional. Our commitment must be certain.

First-person present or future. The past is irrevocable.

Brief. Succinct and easily memorized.

The most effective PPAs are calculated and specific to our intention. Are we challenging the negative thoughts and behaviors of our social anxiety? Are we reaffirming the character strengths and virtues that support recovery and transformation? Are we focused on a specific challenge? What is our end goal – the personal milestone we want to achieve? 

PPAs are only one example of the positive coping mechanisms we use in recovery. A structured plan to challenge our feared-situations incorporates Rational Responses to our automatic negative thoughts (ANTs); Character Focus and Persona support our clearly defined Purpose and overall Strategy, while our Projected Positive Outcome predetermines the realization of our efforts. Affirmative Visualizations are positive outcome scenarios that we mentally recreate to counteract our natural negative bias and our predisposition to set negative outcome scenarios due to life-consistent negative self-beliefs and images. These and other mechanisms are explained in detail when we begin to construct our Plan for Exposure Situations, and they are all supported by the positive construction of our information.

We are engaged in a war that is not easily won. It is a life-consuming series of battles. The process of proactive neuroplasticity is theoretically simple but challenging, due to the commitment and endurance required for the long-term, repetitive process. We do not don tennis shorts and advance to Wimbledon without decades of practice with rackets and balls; philharmonics cater to pianists who have spent years at the keyboard. Neural restructuring requires a calculated regimen of deliberate, repetitive, neural information that is not only tedious but also fails to deliver immediate tangible results, causing us to readily concede defeat and abandon hope in this era of instant gratification. Fortunately, the universal law of compensation anticipates this. The positive impact of proactive neuroplasticity is exponential due to the abundant reciprocation of positive energy and the neurotransmissions of hormones that generate the motivation to persevere. Proactive neuroplasticity utilizing positive personal affirmations dramatically accelerates and consolidates learning and unlearning.

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WHY IS YOUR SUPPORT SO IMPORTANT?  ReChanneling develops and implements programs to (1) moderate symptoms of emotional dysfunction and (2) pursue personal goals and objectives – harnessing our intrinsic aptitude for extraordinary living. Our paradigmatic approach targets the personality through empathy, collaboration, and program integration utilizing scientific and clinically practical methods including proactive neuroplasticity, cognitive-behavioral modification, positive psychology, and techniques designed to regenerate self-esteem. All donations support scholarships for groups, workshops, and practicums.  

Chapter 11: Regenerating Our Self-Esteem

Robert F. Mullen, PhD
Director/ReChanneling

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This is a draft of Chapter Eleven – “Regenerating Our Self-Esteem” in ReChanneling’s upcoming book on moderating social anxiety disorder and its comorbidities. We present this as an opportunity for readers to share their ideas and constructive criticism – suggestions gratefully considered and evaluated as we work to ensure the most beneficial product to those with emotional dysfunction (which is all of us to some degree). Please forward your comments in the form provided below.

<Eleven>
Regenerating Our Self-Esteem

“It is only when you have mastered the art of loving yourself
that you can truly love others.
It is only when you have opened your own heart
that you can touch the heart of others.”
– Robin Sharma

In Chapter Nine, we learned how to construct the necessary neural information to (1) produce rapid, concentrated, neurological stimulation to change the polarity of our neural network and (2) help us replace or overwhelm our life-consistent negative thoughts and beliefs with healthy and productive ones.

Self-esteem is mindfulness of our value to ourselves, society, and the world. It is self-recognition and appreciation of our value and significance. It is embracing and utilizing our character strengths, virtues, and achievements. Self-esteem is honest and nonjudgmental awareness and acceptance of our flaws as well as our assets. It is directly related to how we think about ourselves, how we think others perceive us, and how we process or present that information. 

Research tells us that persons living with SAD have significantly lower implicit and explicit self-esteem relative to healthy controls. Our negative core and intermediate beliefs stemming from childhood disturbance and dysfunctional onset are directly implicated. Our symptomatic fears and anxieties aggravate this deficit.

Fortunately, our self-esteem is never lost, but latent and dormant due to the disruption in our natural human development. Underutilized self-properties that atrophy like the unexercised muscle in our arm or leg can be regenerated. 

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Self-properties are the elements that constitute the strength of our self-esteem. Positive self-properties include self -reliance, -compassion, -confidence, -worth, and other qualities. Negative self-properties include self -destructive, -loathing, and -denigrating. Our healthy self-properties tell us we are of value, consequential, desirable, and worthy of love. Conversely, toxic qualities confirm our perceptions of helplessness, hopelessness, undesirability, and worthlessness.

Regeneration, in physiological terms, is the ability of our living organism to replace lost or injured tissue. In proactive neuroplasticity, the same process is designed to replace our self-destructive thoughts and behaviors with healthy and productive ones. In the case of self-esteem, regeneration reawakens our dormant and latent self-properties.

Maslow’s Hierarchy

As we now recognize, our susceptibility to SAD originated with childhood disturbance and onset occurred around the age of thirteen. These factors negatively impacted our physiological and psychological development. This is best illustrated by Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs as illustrated below. The pyramid on the left portrays healthy development. The one on the right reveals how the childhood perception of detachment, exploitation, or neglect impacts our biological needs. Subsequently, safety and security needs are not met, as well as our sense of belonging and being loved, which subverts our development of self-esteem.

Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is a series of human requirements (needs) deemed important for healthy physiological and psychological development. A pioneer of positive psychology,  Maslow originally divided human needs into five categories: physiological needs, safety and security, love and belonging, self-esteem, and self-actualization. The additional three levels came later and are irrelevant to this chapter. The hierarchy establishes how important the stages are to basic human functioning and motivation, and how they influence the other stages.

While the hierarchy is fairly rigid, satisfaction is not a purely linear process but fluid and individuated, subject to experience and personality. Therefore, individuals may move back and forth between the different types of needs. A child will have difficulty learning if they are hungry. Absent reliable parenting, a child is unlikely to feel safe. It is also worth noting, that the theory is based on western culture and does not translate effortlessly into other customs and traditions. 

Physiological Needs are the basic things that we need to survive and develop naturally. Physical, sexual, or emotional disturbance, real or perceptual, can negatively impact our early sleep patterns or sexual health A sense of detachment or abandonment could imperil our assurance of shelter. If these needs are not satisfied the human body cannot develop optimally. Already, we can see the potential impact on our emotional dysfunction if these needs are not satisfied. 

Safety and Security. Needless to say, childhood disturbances of any kind can impact our feelings of safety and security. Our formative years need to experience order, protection, and stability, and these stem. primarily, from the family unit. Our childhood disturbance, however, can cause us to distrust authority and relationships, two common symptoms of SAD. If we do not feel secure in our environment, we will seek safety before attempting to meet any higher level of survival. 

Love and Belongingness. Love is interpretational and broadly defined. The classic Greeks were more discriminating, separating love into seven types, e.g., platonic, practical, sexual, and so on. For those of us living with SAD, love is challenging because of our fear and avoidance of relationships and social interaction. SAD disrupts our ability to establish interconnectedness in almost any capacity. Childhood disturbance impacts filial connectedness; we struggle with platonic friendships, and pragmatic relationships are symptomatically contradictory. 

Belongingness is our physiological and emotional need for interpersonal relationships and social connectedness. Examples include friendship, intimacy, acceptance, receiving and giving affection, and social contribution. We are social beings; we are driven by a fundamental human need for social interaction and interpersonal exchange. The necessity for tribe is hardwired into our brains. Human interconnectedness is one of the most important influences on our mental and physical health. Research has shown that social contact boosts our immune system and protects the brain from neurodegenerative diseases. Healthy interpersonal contact triggers the neurotransmission of chemical hormones that improve learning and cognition while moderating the influx of cortisol and adrenaline. 

Esteem. The next stage of our psychological development centers on how we value ourselves and are valued by others. Esteem includes self-worth, achievements, and respect. Self-esteem is both esteem for oneself (character strengths, virtues, and achievements), and the need for respect and appreciation from others (status and reputation).

Notwithstanding the initial disruption of our childhood disturbance and onset, any number of factors continue to impact our self-esteem including our environment, sexual orientation, race and ethnicity, and education. Family, colleagues, teachers, and influential others contribute heavily. Our symptoms exacerbate these potential issues. It is important to recognize, however, that the love and approval of others do not equate to self-esteem; otherwise, they would call it other­-esteem

The Greeks categorized love by its objective. For philia, the objective is comradeship, eros is sexuality, storge is familial affection, and so on. The concept of self-esteem evolved from the Greek Philautia. Translated as love-of-self, Philautia is the dichotomy of the love of oneself (narcissism), and the love that is within oneself (self-esteem, self-love). 

Healthy self-esteem is mindfulness of our flaws as well as our inherent character strengths, virtues, and attributes. It allows us to assess our strengths and limitations honestly and nonjudgmentally, and to value ourselves over the opinions of others. It is independent of status or competition with others. It is self-recognition and appreciation for our character strengths, virtues, and achievements. 

Self-esteem or the love that is within oneself is a prerequisite to loving others. If we cannot embrace ourselves, we cannot effectively love another. It is difficult to give away something we do not possess. 

Narcissism is a psychological condition in which people function with an inflated and irrational sense of their importance, often expressed by haughtiness or arrogance. It is the need for excessive attention and admiration, masking an unconscious sense of inferiority and inadequacy. 

Healthy philautia is beneficial to every aspect of life; individuals who love themselves appropriately have a higher capacity to give and receive love. By accepting ourselves, warts and all, with understanding and compassion, we open ourselves to sharing our authenticity with others.

Healthy philautia is the recognition of our value and potential, the realization that we are necessary to this life and of incomprehensible worth. To feel joy and fulfillment at self-being is the experience of healthy philautia. Mindfulness of our self-worth compels us to share it with others and the world.

The deprivation of our fundamental needs caused by our emotional dysfunction impacts our acquisition of self-esteem. It is not lost but undeveloped and subverted by our negative self-perspectives. The rediscovery and regeneration of our self-esteem are essential components of recovery. We learn to emphasize the character strengths and virtues that generate the motivation, persistence, and perseverance to function optimally through the substantial alleviation of the symptoms of our dysfunction. 

Proactive Neuroplasticity YouTube Series

How Do We Compel Regeneration

Recovering our self-esteem is an essential element of recovery and cannot be second-tiered. Due to our disruption in natural human development, we are subject to significantly lower implicit and explicit self-esteem relative to healthy controls. We rediscover and regenerate our self-esteem through the integration of historically and clinically practical approaches designed to help us become mindful of our inherent strengths, virtues, and achievements, and their propensity to replace negative self-perspectives and behavior.

Social anxiety disorder so overwhelms us with our negative self-beliefs, we repress our inherent and developed assets. Fortunately, our brain never deletes files; it fractures neural connections that can be regenerated. Proactive neuroplasticity and DRNI (the deliberate, repetitive, input neural input of information) compel our brain to repattern and realign its neural circuitry.

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Comments. Suggestions. Constructive Criticism

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WHY IS YOUR SUPPORT SO IMPORTANT?  ReChanneling develops and implements programs to (1) moderate symptoms of emotional dysfunction and (2) pursue personal goals and objectives – harnessing our intrinsic aptitude for extraordinary living. Our paradigmatic approach targets the personality through empathy, collaboration, and program integration utilizing scientific and clinically practical methods including proactive neuroplasticity, cognitive-behavioral modification, positive psychology, and techniques designed to regenerate self-esteem. All donations support scholarships for groups, workshops, and practicums.

Repeat Offender

Robert F. Mullen, PhD
Director/ReChannelng

Subscriber numbers generate contributions that support scholarships for workshops.

Cognitive Distortion #7: Overgeneralization

When we engage In this cognitive distortion, we draw broad conclusions or make statements about something or someone unsupported by the available evidence. We make blanket claims that can’t be proven or disproven. Everyone knows Suzie is a liar. To imply that everyone thinks Suzie is a liar is an exaggeration without consensus. A few colleagues may share our opinion, but not the whole world. We overgeneralize when we base our conclusions on one or two pieces of evidence while ignoring anything to the contrary. 

Overgeneralization supports our negative self-beliefs and image. If someone rejects us, we assume everyone will find us undesirable. Because we persuade ourselves it is unlikely anyone is interested in getting to know us, we avoid situations where that might occur. That aggravates our SAD-induced fears of intimacy and avoidance of social situations.

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Our automatic negative thoughts (ANTs) are usually overgeneralizations. “No one will like me.” “I’m a failure.” “She called me stupid.” “Everyone thinks I’m an idiot.” These self-defeating thoughts are based on our fears and anxieties rather than the available evidence. An example of overgeneralization would be the false assumption that, because you failed a test, you will never be able to pass the course.

We justify our prejudices by overgeneralizing. One bad apple in a group means everyone in the group is rotten. We make broad and inaccurate assumptions about that group based on this one person’s behavior. Overgeneralized thinking can cause us to wrongly judge entire groups of people, which is harmful to self and society.

This distortion inevitably leads to avoidance, limiting our willingness to experience things because we have self-prophesied what will happen based on it happening before. Similar to Filtering, where we ignore the positive and dwell on the negative, and Polarized Thinking, where we see things in black or white, overgeneralization is based on assuming the worst. Keywords that support overgeneralization include allevery, none, never, always, everybody, and nobody. See the section on The Destructive Nature of Negative Words in Chapter Nine. Overgeneralization often tends to be self-fulfilling prophecy and is associated with generalized anxiety, social anxiety, depression, panic attacks, PTSD, and OCD.

The rational response to overgeneralization is to (1) consider the accuracy of the statement and consider the available evidence, and (2) identify the situation, fears, and ANTs that compel the need to cognitively distort in the first place.

Proactive Neuroplasticity YouTube Series

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WHY IS YOUR SUPPORT SO IMPORTANT?  ReChanneling develops and implements programs to (1) moderate symptoms of emotional dysfunction and (2) pursue personal goals and objectives – harnessing our intrinsic aptitude for extraordinary living. Our paradigmatic approach targets the personality through empathy, collaboration, and program integration utilizing scientific and clinically practical methods including proactive neuroplasticity, cognitive-behavioral modification, positive psychology, and techniques designed to regenerate self-esteem. All donations support scholarships for groups, workshops, and practicums.

Don’t Take It Personally

Robert F. Mullen
Director/ReChanneling

Subscriber numbers generate contributions that support scholarships for workshops.

Cognitive Distortion #6: Personalization

If someone says to us, “don’t take it personally,“ we are likely engaging in Personalization. When we engage in this type of thinking, we assume we are the cause of things unrelated to us. We believe that what others do or say is a reaction to us – that random comments are personally relevant. For those of us living with social anxiety disorder, Personalization is symptomatic of our belief we are the center of attention and the subject of criticism or ridicule. 

Personalization is the stepping-stone to internal blaming and internal control fallacies where we wrongly believe we are responsible for things we have little or nothing to do with. As I cautioned earlier, cognitive distortions are not cut-and-dried but ambiguous and overlapping 

Did you ever walk into a room, and everyone suddenly stops talking? If you assume they were talking about you, you are exhibiting an acute case of Personalization

Those of us living with SAD lack the ability to understand things accurately from the perspectives of others. Our self-centeredness drives us to assume irrelevant things involve us. We imagine the world revolves around us which only aggravates our fears of saying or doing the wrong thing and embarrassing ourselves.

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Another aspect of Personalization is when we compare ourselves to the achievements of others. If a coworker receives a commendation, we feel inadequate because we were not honored. Our need to personalize is underscored by our concerns about how others think about us. If we do not receive the acclaim to which we think we are entitled, we believe we are being judged unfairly. The rational response to someone receiving a commendation is to recognize their achievements, but our low self-esteem makes us envious. 

As children, we believe the world revolves around us, and we lack the ability to consider the perspectives of others. We are cognitively incapable of considering the other probabilities. We assume our parents fight because we did something wrong. Most reasonable people grow out of this self-obsession, but SAD subsists on irrationality which makes us feel underappreciated and misunderstood.

Much of recovery focuses on the regeneration of our self-esteem through the renewed mindfulness of our character strengths, virtues, and achievements. 

Proactive Neuroplasticity YouTube Series

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WHY IS YOUR SUPPORT SO IMPORTANT?  ReChanneling develops and implements programs to (1) moderate symptoms of emotional dysfunction and (2) pursue personal goals and objectives – harnessing our intrinsic aptitude for extraordinary living. Our paradigmatic approach targets the personality through empathy, collaboration, and program integration utilizing scientific and clinically practical methods including proactive neuroplasticity, cognitive-behavioral modification, positive psychology, and techniques designed to regenerate self-esteem. All donations support scholarships for groups, workshops, and practicums.