Deficit Thinker vs. Deficit Thinking

Vlog Summary: The past week has seen a heated debate over the issue of
deficit thinking, with many vlogs and blogs contributing to a healthy and
thought-provoking discussion. A small, but intriguing, aspect of the
discussion raises the question of what the difference is between “deficit
thinker” and “deficit thinking”? As Candace A. McCullough explains,
“deficit thinker” labels the whole person, while “deficit thinking”
describes the behavior. From a counseling perspective, using the term
“deficit thinking” is more accurate and less condemning of the whole person,
than is the term “deficit thinker”.

To cite:

McCullough, C. (2007, December 18). Deficit Thinker vs. Deficit Thinking. ASC on the Couch. Retrieved (date retrieved), from http://www.ascdeaf.com/blog/?p=331

  1. deb ann December 18, 2007

    Deficit thinking is a better word 😉

  2. Diane December 18, 2007

    More of the Cognitive Thinking — I prefer Deficit Thinking over Deficit Thinker. I’ve read or watched so many v/blogs related to this issue. This has gotten overwhelmed me! 🙂

  3. Davy December 18, 2007

    Hi Candace,

    I love it your very simple clear meaning and full understand.
    Thank you 🙂

    Davy 🙂

  4. DE December 19, 2007

    Right on.

  5. John P. December 19, 2007


    Good vlog and you make a very important point. We need to be careful with our assessment of circumstances.

    I wonder what constitutes a deficit thinker? What behaviors are determined to be an official deficit thinker?

    Thank you for sharing your perspective.

  6. Toby Welch December 19, 2007

    I never thought about two different words! Thanks for inputing my thought more clarifying what it actual means. Enjoyed your vlogs!

  7. michael cardosi December 19, 2007

    I agree with you like others -thinking is more positive attitude than thinker but most people easily point out to someone else thinker rather than thinking. Great way to put a seed to our minds and now we can see the differrence between those two!

  8. Kim Cook December 19, 2007

    Very good explain this issues.. Very impressed.. Excellent V/blog.. I learned this and help me to undertand this issues.. Wonderful ~ Wow ..

  9. White Ghost December 19, 2007

    Good work, Candy.

    Very Clear, Concise and Clarify, the three C’s.

    White Ghost

  10. B.A.D. December 19, 2007

    I always thought they were same word. Thinking and a thinker. Thinking comes first before becoming a thinker?

    For example – when one is abusing another, they are the abuser.
    So wouldn’t this “Defict thinking” a person who is the “Defict thinker”?

    From what you described today..Defict thinking is a better word!

  11. Staz December 19, 2007

    Your very simple clear meaning and full understand. it helps me to understand this issues better. Defict thinking is a better word!!! Thanks.

  12. hedor December 19, 2007

    you have a good point. I like that. That helps us to think of things before writing.

  13. Barb DiGi December 19, 2007

    Your point is so crystal clear that helps us to see that we are to address the issues about what made thinking considered deficit not to focus on labeling the individuals as deficit thinkers. B.A.D. has a point that anyone who practices it becomes the -er and that is where we are stuck with it.

  14. patti durr December 19, 2007


    thank u thank u thank u



  15. drmzz December 19, 2007

    I like your grin at the end.

  16. Jean Boutcher December 19, 2007

    Thank you for distinguishing between “deficit thinker” and “deficit thinking”. It is explicit, concise, and succinct.

  17. ASCDEAF December 19, 2007

    Thanks for the comments, everyone. Just to clarify a few points…

    Using “deficit thinker” labels the whole person and implies that the person
    is 100% deficit in thinking, about ALL topics, ALL the time. Calling
    someone a deficit thinker is a quick way to put them on the defensive. That
    is why it is better to focus on the behavior – “that’s an example of deficit
    thinking”, not “you’re a deficit thinker”.

    Yes, a person who abuses her children might be called an abuser – but that
    person might not act abusive toward her husband, friends, and pets. That’s
    why focusing on the behavior – “she was abusive to her children” – is more
    accurate than labeling the person “she’s an abuser”. The “-er” part –
    deficit thinker, abuser – is very limiting and condemns the whole person.


  18. salticid68 December 19, 2007

    Interesting! I learn something new from you. From now on, I’ll scold someone for what they did, not for who they were. It will help us.

  19. B.A.D. December 19, 2007

    Gotcha 🙂 Thanks! Much clearer!!!

    (Analogy always helps me comprehend things) 🙂

  20. megandeaf December 19, 2007

    Thank U! Your vblog helps me to full understand this issue.
    Defict thinking is better!
    I think my friend Jenny(who i met on my favorite deaf dating site DEAFROMANCE.COM) also missunderstand something about this. Then I can explain this for her clearly!
    Thnks!!! ^-^

  21. LaRonda December 20, 2007


    You have found a really important component of these discussions: Language interpretation.

    Misunderstandings often happen due to unclear language.

    Very good to clarify the differences in those 2 terms. I bet it will help open some eyes.

    ~ LaRonda


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