Overcoming Cognitive Bias
Did you know that failing to realise that your thinking is automatically coloured by Cognitive Biases is a Cognitive Bias? Therein lies a web of potential self-deceit that we have come to call our reality. If they work against you, as many of my clients have found, then overcoming cognitive bias is a key aspect of therapy.
Mind you, Cognitive Biases are universal. We use them almost all the time. They form an essential shorthand that we use to navigate our way through a complex world. This saves us precious time and energy by cutting out the need to think things through. We are hard-wired to jump to conclusions. More often than not, these uneducated guesses are sufficiently good to get us safely through our day.
Sometimes though, they can work against us. This can make our individual realities far more difficult and troubling than they need to be.
Here are three of my favourites:
We tend to believe information that matches what we already believe. Information that contradicts what we believe is quickly dismissed as rubbish. This is fine, right up until we believe negative things about ourselves or our lives. Confirmation bias becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.
We’re really good at this one. Our minds love to find patterns in our environments. These patterns can keep us safe and tell us where opportunities might be. The problem comes when we see a pattern in events that is actually pure chance. This can be the root cause of anxieties in adulthood that began as a child and can sometimes be the beginnings of obsessive behaviours.
Getting to know new people takes time and emotional effort. Sometimes we need to guess whether someone is a threat or trustworthy. Instead of having to really get to know each individual that we come across, we assume new people have similar traits to people that they remind us of. This can lead to us feeling threatened by people who are safe or being taken in by fraudsters.
Overcoming Cognitive Bias
Fortunately, once you know that such things as Cognitive Biases exist you can begin to identify where they work against you. You can start to actively seek out new information that teaches your mind to believe new and more beneficial realities about your world.
This can be a difficult task and many clients benefit from the way that Cognitive Hypnotherapy is able to re-educate their Unconscious Mind’s deeply held beliefs.
Amongst other automated shortcuts that your Unconscious Mind uses, uncovering Cognitive Biases can be key a re-awakening that helps to end the anxieties that plague many of my clients.