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Child Psychiatrist /Adult Psychiatrist

Cognitive Distortions - CBT

Updated: Jan 16

Cognitive distortions are irrational thoughts that can influence your emotions. Everyone experiences cognitive distortions to some degree, but in their more extreme forms they can be harmful. It is amplified through various mental issues such as depression, anxiety, OCD, PTSD, etc. Regardless of brain chemistry, human beings all experience cognitive distortions at some point in their life especially when they feel vulnerable. These distortions are also known as automatic negative thoughts, which are important to challenge as they are not reality but alter negative perspective of how we view life. Ongoing worsening cognitive distortion can worsen the trajectory of such underlying illness. It is important to recognize the maladaptive though process that offer. In my other articles, I will discuss techniques to challenge these thoughts, feelings, beliefs.

CBT Changing Perceptions

Cognitive Distortions - CBT

Magnification and Minimization:

Exaggerating or minimizing the importance of events. One might believe their own achievements are unimportant, or that their mistakes are excessively important.


Seeing only the worst possible outcomes of a situation.


Making broad interpretations from a single or few events. "I felt a awkward during my job interview. am always so awkward."

Magical Thinking

The belief that acts will influence unrelated situations. "I am a good person-bad things shouldn't happen to me."


​ The belief that one is responsible for events outside of their own control. "My mom is always upset. She would be fine if did more to help her."

Jumping to Conclusions:

Interpreting the meaning of a situation with little or no evidence.

Mind Reading:

Interpreting the thoughts and beliefs of others without adequate evidence. "She would not go on a date with me. She probably thinks I'm ugly.'

Fortune Telling:

​ The expectation that a situation will turn out badly without adequate evidence.

Emotional Reasoning:

The assumption that emotions reflect the way things really are. "I feel like a bad friend, therefore I must be a bad friend."

Disqualifying the Positive:

Recognizing only the negative aspects of a situation while ignoring the positive. One might receive many compliments on an evaluation, but focus on the single piece of negative feedback.

"Should" Statements:

The belief that things should be a certain way. "I should always be friendly."

All-or-Nothing Thinking:

​Thinking in absolutes such as "always", "never", or "every". "I never do a good enough job on anything."


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