Psychological health

The “Three C Method” For Healthy Justifications

What is your justification system and how do you know it is healthy? Here’s a 3D approach to sound justification. Learn how to capture, validate, and change your thoughts.

Your system of justification refers to the structure of your language-based beliefs and how hypothetical knowledge is processed.

The “three C method” for health justifications

A proposition is a language statement that has meaning. That is, it claims what is or ought to be.

Some people refer to your system of justification as your cognitive system, but as this post on John Vervaijk’s theory of cognition makes clear, we shouldn’t make that mistake.

As a clinical psychologist, I am interested in the health and functioning of a person’s justification system. It is one of the five systems of personality conditioning that I routinely evaluate (the other four are the habit system, the experiential system, the relationship system, and the defensive system).

Read Mind Rumination: 4 Steps to Help Deal with Negative Thoughts

Sound justification systems allow for complex dynamic, flexible and adaptive processing of proposals. It also allows for the formation of more developed linguistic beliefs and values ​​about oneself, others, the world, and the future.

This blog post shares the Three C method, which is one of the easiest ways to get a feel for your rationale and start the process of learning how to change it.

But before, let’s discuss automatic thoughts.

automatic thoughts

Consider the following claims, variations of which you’ve heard many times in the treatment room:

“This is disgusting. What is the point of even trying?”

“It doesn’t matter what I do, the end result is always failure.”

“Others have always treated me unfairly.”

“You know how men are… they are all scum.”

“I can’t even do simple things. I’m pathetic.”

Take a moment to think and ask if you think these statements are healthy. To frame this in terms of health, ask: “Does a good parent guide a child in this way? ‘ or ‘Is that something a wise and mature person would say?’

Although we can be aware of our rationalizations, the fact of the matter is that most of the rationalization process occurs automatically. That is, most of our justifications are our thinking habits. This is why my teacher, Aaron T Beck, called “automatic thoughts”. He is the father of cognitive therapy, a group of techniques that focus on the validity of our systems of justification.

When I worked with Beck two decades ago, I ran a project to help people who had recently attempted suicide. Many of these people had very unhealthy justification systems. That is, they will make absolute, static, or universal statements about themselves, the world or the future that will seem very real to them and will also lead them to believe that what they are saying is the ultimate truth.

As such, they will have trouble solving problems, actively relating to their own feelings and other people, and making adaptive decisions about the future.

Read the power of repetitive words and thoughts

knowledge therapy

Cognitive therapy is about helping people develop healthier, more sophisticated, and adaptive systems of justification. Cognitive therapy is grounded in Stoic philosophy, and teaches people to be clear in the presence of a There is a big difference between belief and reality. People have also learned that although we cannot control our reality, we have more control over our beliefs. Both are easy to understand intellectually, but developing adaptive belief systems can be very difficult to learn. However, it can make a huge difference in one’s life.

To see how healthy justification systems frame things, consider how to paraphrase all of the above.

“I’m having a hard time with this and wondering if I should give up or move on.”

“It seems that I am constantly not getting the results I want. I wonder if I should learn a new approach.”

“It’s easy for me to remember times when I was treated unfairly.”

“I have been abused by many men in my life.”

“I don’t feel as efficient as I would like.”

Note the difference in the nature of these claims. They convey similar ideas about the world, but are much more flexible, do not make absolute claims about the essential nature of the self or work forever, and allow for more open adaptive responses.

This leads us to a key lesson from cognitive therapy, which is that we need to be able to reflect on our thinking and question whether it is healthy and developing. Adaptive thoughts are accurate and useful. This means that they capture the current situation and do so in a way that allows for positive and flexible solutions, by accepting what is ripe and guiding toward adaptive pathways of change.

Read Intrusive Thoughts: Where They Come From And Why

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