Author: Katie Leoni, Psy.D.
What Are Cognitive Distortions?
The idea behind CBT is that all of us sometimes think in ways that are inaccurate or irrational. We call these cognitive distortions, and they occur when our mind convinces us of something that is not actually true and we unknowingly reinforce this belief over time. It is normal to have cognitive distortions, no one is immune from them. The difference is in the quantity and the impact these distortions have on a person’s life. When a person is anxious or depressed, they tend to have more irrational thoughts and cognitive distortions. When you’re less anxious or depressed, you tend to have more rational thoughts. This makes sense from a CBT perspective as thoughts, feelings, and behaviors affect one another. The goal of treatment is to teach clients how to recognize certain thoughts that might be getting in the way of living the life they want to live as well as teaching clients how to modify those thoughts to be be more rational.
Common Cognitive Distortions
Identifying cognitive distortions that you engage in is an important first step to balanced thinking. Once you know what they are, you are better able to challenge them and question their truth. Below are common cognitive distortions. Remember, this list exists because we all experience cognitive distortions on a daily basis!
If you are interested in learning more about cognitive distortions and the way they are impacting you, please contact us to set up a phone consultation.
Diana Gordon, Psy.D., Kari Kagan Psy.D., and Katie Leoni, Psy.D.
Drs. Gordon, Kagan, and Leoni practice psychotherapy in downtown San Francisco and Oakland. Their areas of expertise include anxiety, sleep, stress, depression, and addiction. They blog about these topics to provide research-based information about common problems and strategies to help manage them.