I believe my previous experience as a non-professional counsellor and life coach was a training period for the present when I could capitalise on what I had learned over the years. What a wonderful feeling it was to discover that what I had been suggesting to people was also being used in CBT Techniques, albeit more systematically and professionally.
Cognitive distortions are irrational, inaccurate, or unhelpful thought patterns that can contribute to a variety of mental health issues such as anxiety, depression, and low self-esteem. Identifying cognitive distortions can be extremely beneficial to a counsellor in treating his or her clients.
Identifying and challenging cognitive distortions is an important part of cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT), a type of psychotherapy that helps people change negative thinking and behaviour patterns.
Cognitive distortions can manifest themselves in a variety of ways, but some common examples include:
All-or-nothing thinking: Seeing everything in black and white, with no grey area. For instance, believing that a mistake equals total failure or that someone is either all good or all bad.
Overgeneralization: It is the process of reaching broad conclusions based on a single event or experience. For example, believing that one bad day indicates that everything is going wrong, or that one rejection indicates that you will never succeed.
Mind reading: Assuming, without evidence, that you know what others are thinking or feeling. For instance, assuming someone dislikes you based on their body language or tone of voice.
Catastrophizing: It is the assumption that the worst-case scenario will occur and that you will be unable to handle it. For example, assuming that a minor mistake will result in termination or that a disagreement with a friend will result at the end of the friendship.
Personalization: Taking responsibility for things over which you have no control or assuming that things are about you when they are not. Assuming, for example, that someone’s bad mood is the result of something you did, or that a traffic jam is a personal attack.
This is not just a proven theory that I learnt or heard about but I have experienced it in my life as well. When a person is aware of their cognitive distortions, they can start challenging them and replacing them with more adaptive thought patterns. This can result in symptom reduction, improved emotional regulation, and an overall improvement in mental health and well-being.
Furthermore, assisting clients in identifying and challenging cognitive distortions can boost their sense of agency and control over their own thoughts and emotions. Patients are empowered to take an active role in their own mental health and well-being when they are taught how to recognize and manage cognitive distortions.
Do you possess any cognitive biases? To have a mind free from all the clutter and clouds of such negativities, identify them and uproot them immediately.
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2 thoughts on “UNDERSTANDING COGNITIVE DISTORTIONS”
This is great! I found these so interesting to learn about when I trained to be a therapist and then pinpoint when they’d happen in my own life. It’s amazing how much less anxiety you have when you can teach yourself to think more rationally.
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You are absolutely right, Sara. A counsellor or therapist can never help unless a client understands what to change within him or her. It is only through self-awareness and identifying with the cognitive distortions within someone will solve half of the problem.
Thanks for stopping by and leaving your feedback. ❤
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