Identify and Label Cognitive Distortions


The following is out of a CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy) workbook.

Learning about your pattern of thinking can help you catch, modify, or change any distortions or negative thinking errors. Since our thoughts have a strong impact on our feelings and behaviors, there are positive benefits to correcting distorted thinking habits. Listed below are some common cognitive distortions. After reading each description, review your own thinking habits and then answer a simple yes or no if you have ever noticed yourself using the cognitive distortion. Remember, it’s not about good or bad or right or wrong it’s about becoming more mindful of your thinking patterns.

Cognitive Distortion:

Filtering: focusing only on the negative.

Polarized thinking; all or nothing thinking.

Overgeneralization: One negative event means everything is negative.

Mind-reading: Thinking others are thinking negative things about you.

Catastrophizing: Expecting disaster.

Magnifying: Magnifying the size of your problem.

Should statements: Feeling like you should or must do or not do something.

Blaming: Attributing blame to yourself.

Emotional reasoning: Feeling that something is true, therefore it must be true.

Personalization: Seeing yourself as the cause of a negative event.

Fortune telling: Making negative predictions.

Disqualifying the positive: Positive experiences are minimized.

Labeling: Putting negative labels on self or others.


From The Feeling Good Handbook by Dr. David Burns

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