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cognitive distortions

We all experience thoughts that are uncomfortable, scary, anxiety-provoking, overwhelming, and often times these thoughts create emotions that add to the level of discomfort. Cognitive-behaviour therapy challenges thoughts, identifies the distortions in the thoughts, reviews evidence for and against and supports in building a new thought.

Negative thoughts can often create sudden shifts in your emotion making it difficult to get unstuck from the negative thoughts and feelings which can impact your ability to act in alignment with your goals and values.

When we work through challenging our thoughts it can be helpful to identify how the thought is distorted. CBT identified 10 cognitive distortions. To practice, write down some of the common thoughts you have when feeling anxious, angry or sad and identify whether there is a distortion within the thought. After wards, write down a non-distorted thought.

Mental Filter

Only paying attention to some of the evidence, often focusing on failures instead of successes.


Only seeing the worst case scenario or the worst possible outcome. Worries can become escalated and thoughts become exaggerated.

Jumping to Conclusions

Assuming that you know what other's are thinking or predicting the future.


Coming to a conclusion that just because something happened to you once, means it will happen again and again and again.

Emotional Reasoning

Believing that because you feel a certain it means it the thoughts must be true.

Black and White

Seeing things are only good or bad, right or wrong, all or nothing, and often fails to see the whole picture.


Putting labels on yourself or others such as, "I'm so unloveable" "I'm so stupid" "They are an idiot"

Should Statements

Believing that things should be a certain way. Using words like "should" "must" or "ought" statements directed at yourself. This thinking often triggers feelings of shame, guilt and self-loathing.


Placing blame on other people instead of owning your mistakes or sharing responsibility, this can look like victim mentality.


Taking things personally and thinking that what other people do is a result of your own actions. Blaming yourself for things that are completely out of your control.

Good luck!


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