Cognitive Distortions

 

The following are some typical ways in which our automatic thoughts may be inaccurate:



  1. 1.Mind reading: You assume that you know what people think without having sufficient evidence of their thoughts. “He thinks I’m a loser.”


  1. 2.Fortunetelling: You predict the future negatively: Things will get worse, or there is danger ahead. “I’ll fail that exam,” or “I won’t get the job.”


  1. 3.Catastrophizing: You believe that what has happened or will happen will be so awful and unbearable that you won’t be able to stand it. “It would be terrible if I failed.”


  1. 4.Labeling: You assign global negative traits to yourself and others. “I’m undesirable,” or “He’s a rotten person.”


  1. 5.Discounting positives: You claim that the positive things you or others do are trivial. “That’s what wives are supposed to do—so it doesn’t count when she’s nice to me,” or “Those successes were easy, so they don’t matter.”


  1. 6.Negative filtering: You focus almost exclusively on the negatives and seldom notice the positives. “Look at all of the people who don’t like me.”


  1. 7.Overgeneralizing: You perceive a global pattern of negatives on the basis of a single incident. “This generally happens to me. I seem to fail at a lot of things.”


  1. 8.Dichotomous thinking: You view events or people in all-or-nothing terms. “I get rejected by everyone,” or “It was a complete waste of time.”


  1. 9.Shoulds: You interpret events in terms of how things should be, rather than simply focusing on what is. “I should do well. If I don’t, then I’m a failure.”


  1. 10.Personalizing: You attribute a disproportionate amount of the blame to yourself for negative events, and you fail to see that certain events are also caused by others. “The marriage ended because I failed.”


  1. 11.Blaming: You focus on the other person as the source of your negative feelings, and you refuse to take responsibility for changing yourself. “She’s to blame for the way I feel now,” or “My parents caused all my problems.”



Click here to download a copy of this list:  Categories of disorted thoughts.pdf