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10 terms

CBT: Cognitive Distortions

The 10 most common forms of distorted thinking that lead to immobility and depression.
STUDY
PLAY
All-or-Nothing Thinking
Based on one or two setbacks, you conclude total failure.

Example:
"I got that question wrong; therefore, I'm totally terrible at math."

Solution:
That's only one instance, and each one you learn from adds to your success.
Overgeneralization
You conclude that one thing that happened to you happens most or all of the time.

Example:
"I got a C on my test. I always get bad grades on everything I do!"

Solution:
Um, what about that B+ you got in Chemistry?
Mental Filter
You pick out a negative detail in a situation and dwell on it exclusively, losing sight of the things that went well.

Example:
"I got two questions wrong; I can't believe I got two wrong!"

Solution:
Um, you did get a lot of them right!
Disqualifying the Positive
Something good happens and you dismiss it with a negative interpretation.

Example:
"I know I got an A, but it was an A-minus, and there are better grades than that. Besides, it was an easy test."

Solution:
You got a terrific grade and there are many people who disagree about how easy the test was.
Jumping to Conclusions
The facts don't justify your negative conclusion, but you leap a great distance to it anyway.

Example 1: MIND READING
"My teacher put a lot of red marks on my paper; that means she thinks I'm stupid."

Solution:
Did she actually tell you she thinks you're stupid? You are reading her mind. Abundant red marks might mean she cares for you and gives you lots of attention.

Example 2: FORTUNE TELLER ERROR
"If I don't get into the best college, my life will be ruined."

Solution:
So everyone who goes to college somewhere else has a ruined life?
Magnification and Minimization
You seriously magnify your imperfections and minimize your good points. Also known as "the binoculars trick".

Example:
"I space out sometimes. I'm the worst person ever. When I do pay attention well, it doesn't count anyway, because anyone can."

Solution:
Everyone spaces out and there are many times and places where you pay attention as well if not better than other people.
Emotional Reasoning
You take your emotions as evidence for the truth, especially the negative ones.

Example"
"I feel terrible; therefore, I am terrible. It must be true because I feel that way."

Solution:
Your feelings follow your thoughts. Watch how your feelings change if you experiment with a positive counter-thought like, "I'm not terrible at all; in fact, I'm great."
Should Statements
You are using the word "should" or "must" about yourself and/or others.

Example:
"I should be able to solve this problem. Other people should consider me more."

Solution:
Replace "should" or "must" with "want" and see how the new idea feels. I want to be able to solve this problem. I want other people to consider me more.
Labeling and Mislabeling
You create a total identity for yourself based on something negative.

Example:
"I got that answer wrong; I'm a dope." Dope is a label.

Solution:
No one is a dope. We are all in the endless process of learning exactly what we need to learn next. That's how life works. For everyone.
Personalization
You assume responsibility for something even when there is no basis for doing so.

Example:
"My friend didn't call me back; it's my fault for not leaving a clearer message."

Solution:
It might not be anyone's fault, and it's definitely not yours, not in these cases. Find out more information. Calmly ask simple questions.