Thoughts Are Not Facts
According to the cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) approach, at some time or other, we all make the following errors of thinking:
- All or Nothing Thinking: looking at things/situations in black and white (e.g., thinking you can’t trust anybody ever if one person betrayed your trust).
- Overgeneralization: one thing goes badly and you think that everything in your life is bad and will remain bad.
- Magnification or Minimization: blowing things out of proportion or denying their importance
- Jumping to Conclusions:
- (a) mind-reading/being clairvoyant: thinking you know what other people are thinking (e.g., assuming people don’t like you when you have no proof of this).
- (b) fortune-telling: predicting that things will not go well when you have no objective way of knowing that.
- Mental Filter: focusing on the negatives while ignoring the positives.
- Discounting the Positives: not recognizing your accomplishments or good things in your life (e.g., earning a good grade and saying it was an easy test).
- Personalization: blaming yourself for something you are not responsible for (e.g., sometimes children blame themselves for their parents’ divorce).
- Labeling: giving yourself a negative label such as, “I am a failure” instead of recognizing that you just made a mistake (i.e., not distinguishing yourself from your action).
- Emotional Reasoning: basing decisions or self-perception on emotions e.g., “I feel like a loser, so I must be one” or “I don’t feel like doing this (urgent) thing, so I’ll put it off.”
- Using “Should Statements”: When you use “Should,” “Shouldn’t,” “must,” “have to,” and “Ought to,” you are criticizing yourself or making others feel defensive.