Cognitive Distortions

Exaggerated irrational thinking that can lead to anxiety/depression - or continue the state of anxiety/depression. This causes people to have a wrong idea about reality - often a negative one. It reinforces negative thoughts and emotions. Part of the CBT model.

  • Black or white thinking: Everything is good or bad - no in-between.
  • Over generalization: Creating sweeping generalizations from one event. Eg. I failed this exam, so I'm a bad student.
  • Cognitive Filtering: Only looking at the negative aspects of something.
  • Disqualifying the good: Finding rational to ignore and minimize the good things. Eg. "Anyone could have done that."
  • Jumping to conclusions: Coming to conclusions with very little data.
    • Mind Reading: Guessing others thoughts/mental state - usually in a negative light for oneself.
    • Fortune telling: Predicting (usually bad) outcomes
  • Emotional Reasoning: I feel this, so it must be true
  • Rigid Rule Keeping: Have a list of shoulds and musts that can't be broken.
  • Catastrophising / Worst case scenario-ing: Imagining/preparing for the worst case scenario.
  • Labeling/Self Labeling: Close to Generalization. Labeling oneself or others based on a single event.