Overcoming Cognitive Hurdles: Overgeneralization and 'Should' Statements

Benjamin Bonetti Therapy Online Coaching

In the bustling theatre of life, our mind plays a myriad of roles, often scripting scenes filled with cognitive distortions that can obscure the clarity of our thought process. Among these distortions, Overgeneralization and “Should” Statements often take the center stage, casting long shadows on our emotional well-being. This comprehensive exploration aims to guide the reader through the veils of these common cognitive distortions, offering a pathway towards a clearer mental narrative under the empathetic guidance of professional counselling.

Overgeneralization: The Magnifying Glass of Negativity

Overgeneralization is akin to a magnifying glass that enlarges singular negative events, projecting them as pervasive truths.

Unveiling Overgeneralization:

Imagine having a disagreement with a friend and then generalizing that all your friendships are doomed. This distortion is often a breeding ground for anxiety and depression, as it colours our worldview with a broad brush of negativity based on singular or rare occurrences.

The Therapy Trail:

Engaging in counselling can be akin to holding a lantern in the dark corridors of overgeneralization. It helps in illuminating the patterns of this distortion, enabling individuals to challenge and alter these sweeping negative beliefs, and fostering a more nuanced understanding of life's complexities.

“Should” Statements: The Rigidity of Expectations

“Should” Statements are the mind's attempt to adhere to self-imposed rules, often leading to a fortress of disappointment when reality does not align with these rigid expectations.

Understanding “Should” Statements:

The burden of “should” often carries a weight of guilt, disappointment, and self-criticism. It's akin to wearing a pair of glasses with a distorted lens that alters the perception of oneself and the world around.

Steering Through “Should”:

Counselling, especially Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy, can be a navigator, aiding individuals in identifying and reframing “should” statements, thus paving a path towards a more flexible and forgiving mindset.

Empowering Strategies: Unshackling the Cognitive Chains

Mindfulness Meditation:

Engaging in mindfulness meditation can nurture a non-judgmental awareness, creating a space between individuals and their cognitive distortions.


Embracing self-compassion is akin to befriending oneself, creating a nurturing environment for confronting and transforming cognitive distortions.

Group Therapy:

Sharing and listening to experiences in group therapy can offer different perspectives, breaking the shackles of overgeneralization and “should” statements.

Embracing the Cognitive Odyssey:

Embarking on the odyssey of overcoming cognitive hurdles is a voyage filled with self-discovery, resilience, and the promise of emotional liberation. Under the gentle guidance of a skilled counsellor, navigating through the waves of Overgeneralization and the rocks of “Should” Statements becomes a journey of empowerment, self-compassion, and profound mental clarity.


The realm of our mind is boundless, and within it lies the power to transcend the cognitive hurdles that obscure the beauty of our inner narrative. With professional guidance and a hearty dose of self-compassion, overcoming the hurdles of Overgeneralization and “Should” Statements is not a distant shore, but a rewarding journey towards the serene islands of mental tranquility and self-acceptance.