Black-and-White Thinking (also all-or-nothing thinking) is called 'splitting' in psychology. This refers to the failure in a person's thinking to bring together the dichotomy of both positive and negative qualities of the self and others into a cohesive, realistic whole. It is a common defense mechanism and there is no middle ground.

Examples of this type of thinking are:

  • ‘If it’s not perfect, then it’s useless.’
  • ‘If you don’t love me, then you must hate me.’
  • ‘Either I succeed, or I’m a total failure.’
  • ‘If I mess up this part, I may as well give up the whole thing.'
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treatment psychotherapy Person-Centered Planning Client-centered counseling MI motivational interviewing