Cognitive Distortions (Problematic Thinking Patterns)

13 March 2011

Cognitive Distortions (Problematic Thinking Patterns)

I learned about the following cognitive distortions during therapy.

– Discounting the Positive: Bobbie’s husband tells her she’s beautiful, but Bobbie thinks, “He’s exaggerating because he loves me.”

– Jumping to Conclusions:
– Mind Reading: Before her friend gets a chance to explain why she won’t be able to hang out for coffee that day, Bobbie automatically assumes that she’s not going because she just doesn’t want to.
– Fortune Telling: Bobbie calls her brother again thinking to herself, “Why even bother, he’s not going to answer the phone or even call back again.” He does call back.

– Overgeneralizing: One of Bobbie’s co-workers often gets busted for not being truthful; therefore, she says, ” I can’t trust anyone at work.”
– Labeling & Mislabeling:
– Labeling: Bobbie initially labled her supervisor as a bad leader, which didn’t take into consideration all the different aspects of that individual.
– Mislabelin: Bobbie initially labled herself as a failure for making a big mistake, but didn’t take into consideration all the times she’s done something well.

– Emotional Reasoning: Bobbie thinks to herself, “I feel like crap, so I must be unapproachable to everyone.”

– All or Nothing: Bobbie thinks to herself, “I let my Soldier down today. I’m not a good leader.”

– Personalization: Someone is feeling like crap one day and their facial expression clearly shows it. When Bobbie sees him or her, she automatically thinks that they are mad at her.

– Magnifying & Minimizing:
– Magnifying: Bobbie makes it publicly known that she has a lot of friends on FB; when it fact, she only has two.
– Minimizing: When Bobbie’s told that she’s “fast-tracking” in her army career…she lets people know that she was lucky.”

– Catastrophizing: Bobbie made a big, but fixable mistake, and she says, “I’m ruined…my career is over.”

– Mental Filtering: Bobbie had a great day, with the exception of someone cutting her off in the morning while driving to work. So she decides to focus on the one negative event rather than the majority of the positive events.

– Should & Implied Should Statements: Bobbie says, ” I should’ve reacted to the situation in a more positive manner.” Instead of learning from it and moving on, she dwells on it for weeks.


~ by Bobbie on November 10, 2011.

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