Cognitive Distortions

Cognitive Distortions is the one way we filter information as we take in our senses

Cognitive Distortion Coping Thoughts (McKay) You Partner
Catastrophising Will it really be that bad?
I’ll get through this?
Overgeneralising How often does this really happen?    
Exaggerating  Giving negative events more importance that they deserve.

Example: “It was the worst party ever!”

Discounting the Positive Example:” He gave me flowers, but they weren’t any good”    
Black and White thinking What other views could there be?    
Taking things personally


Example: “You’re criticizing me”, “they didn’t ask me because they don’t like me”
What other reasons could they have?
Taking the blame  Ttaking responsibility when it is not yours.

Example: “It’s all my fault”, “If only I’d done more for …”

Emotional Reasoning


Example “I’m so worried, I know something is going to go wrong”
Example response: Getting angry won’t help me figure this out. I need more facts
Name calling / labelling Example: “I’m such an idiot”, “You’re completely heartless”
What’s really bothering me/ What are the facts
I don’t need to demonise them
Scare Mongering


Example: “Maybe she’s really ill”, “What if the car breaks down?”
Maybe not!
Wishful thinking


“If only I were, thinner, younger, smarter than I am”
I didn’t get what I want but it’s not the end of the world
Blaming others They’re doing the best they can

Blaming makes me feel hopeless – so what can I do?

Demanding / Commanding Must & Should They’ve got their values too. Are we agreed on what is important?

I prefer ….


Source David Burns, Feel Good Handbook