Here are the 3 cognitive distortions (which is another way of saying, “ unhelpful ways of thinking”) that contribute to our anxiety and depression) that I commonly see with individuals in my private practice.

The first cognitive distortion that I commonly see is All-or-nothing thinking…. All-or-nothing thinking is when we make everything either all good, or all bad.  For example, individuals might tell themselves that 100% on the test is the only way to be good, and anything less is horrible. This type of thinking creates unnecessary distress in situations that don’t have to be.

The second cognitive distortion that I commonly see is catastrophizing.  This is when we take a small stress or disappointment and make it into the worst possible outcome.  For example, we might take one mistake at work and turn it into the fear that we will be reprimanded, and then fired, and then not be able to find a new job, and then out on the street begging for food.  When we worry about the worst possible outcome we are making even the smallest mistakes or disappointment very distressing.

 The last cognitive distortion that I commonly see is overgeneralization. This is when we take one event and interpret it to mean something that might be true all of the time.  For example, we might take one awkward social situation and interpret that to mean that we are awkward all of the time.

As you can see with all three of these common cognitive distortions, these unhelpful ways of thinking take relatively mundane events and magnify the stress or disappointment that is associated with the event.

Hopefully, by hearing about these three cognitive distortions you TOO can become more aware of your own unhelpful thinking patterns.

Richard Keezer

Richard Keezer

Adolescent | MA, LPC

I provide a safe environment for pre-teens and teenagers to process life’s twists and turns so that they can remain resilient and thrive.  I work with parents and their children to create a plan to answer the big life questions, to heal broken relationships, and nourish deep connections.

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