Depression, Depression Distortions

Inexact Labeling

Common with the “magnifying” distortion, inexact labeling is when we place a descriptive summary on an experience that does not line up with what actually happened.

So instead of the action of blowing things out of proportion, this is the labelling of, the happening, which, then illicit the response.

A woman is asked to do something at work by their boss. In their mind, they feel like they are being smothered and label the ordinary tasks as a such. When, in reality, nothing abnormal about the request is present and the only invalid element is the idea of being smothered. Because of this word, and the woman defining the situation as this; she outputs thinking and behavior similar to someone who was actually being smothered.

Aaron Beck gives a similar example of a patient he had. Upon further investigation, he, the patient, seen that the word he used did not line up with what actually happened, and therefore by labelling things more accurately, he was able to relieve themselves of the effects of this distortion.

It may not seem like much to be concerned with, but coupled with other distortions this can be as dreadful as any.

In addition, in depression, it is typically an array of these distortions interacting simultaneously and treating them all equal and addressing them accordingly is important.