CBT and Thinking Errors

Stop Anxiety, Depression and Insomnia using Cognitive Behavioural Therapy

“Thinking errors” are those habits of thinking which are negative and unhelpful. Unhappy and negative feelings are often caused by thinking errors – errors of judgement; mistakes about what’s really going on. The list on this page gives the most common thinking errors. By familiarising yourself with this list and the ideas involved, you will soon begin to realize when your way of thinking is wrong or mistaken and this is the first step – you can then learn to replace the faulty thinking with more accurate, realistic and positive ideas. The result of this is that you are far less likely to feel upset, angry, irritated, frustrated or unhappy. It might seem “clunky” to have to think about your thoughts in the ways suggested, at first, but it soon becomes an easy habit to do this, and it really does make a great difference for most people, allowing you to see things clearly, objectively and in proportion.

The list doesn’t give every single “thinking error” but just an indication of the most common ones. There is a bit of overlap between the paragraphs.

1. All-or-nothing-thinking. For example,thinking of something as either a total success or a total failure, with no shades of grey inbetween. The best way to challenge this type of thinking is to look for evidence for what you’ve just thought – and also to look for evidence that the thought ISN’T true.

2. Over-generalisation. Some very striking examples are racism, sexism, age prejudice, and class prejudice – all are examples of individuals drawing general conclusions from just one or two examples. Again, to combat this, check whether there is in fact any evidence for the judgement being made, and what evidence there is for it NOT being true.

3. Mental Filter (also known as selective abstraction). This is where certain facts are ignored and all attention is focused upon other facts, usually the worst aspects of a situation. A similar mistake is discounting, or ignoring, the positive – acknowledging the existence of positive factors but discounting them – where for example a shy person asks someone out and they accept, but they shy person interprets this as “It didn’t count; I was drunk”. These errors often involve discounting or invalidating your own achievements.

4. Jumping to Conclusions. This kind of thinking error involves making unfounded assumptions and happens a lot to people suffering with anxiety or jealousy – “she’s late home – she MUST be seeing someone else…” Instead, think of all the other possible explanations for the lateness, what evidence there is that it means she is with someone else, and what other, likely explanations are. Catastophization is a form of this thinking error – a small mistake is made at work, for example, and the conclusion very quickly reached is that this will end up with your job being lost. Or you cannot reach someone on the phone and the assumption is that they MUST have had an accident.

5. Mind reading. This occurs when you guess or assume what others are thinking, without any evidence. It frequenly involves imagining that other people have hostile thoughts or intentions to us.

6. Fortune telling. This is when we think something is “bound to happen”, again without adequate, or indeed any, evidence that this is true

7. Magnification or minimalisation. Unfortunately the things which are magnified are usually problems or mistakes which have been made, and the things which are minimised are achievements or good qualities.

8. Emotional reasoning – sometimes known as “gut instinct” or “heart ruling the head”. Many people allow gut instinct and intuition to influence their decision making. Unfortunately when someone is in an unhealthy frame of mind their feelings are often distorted or misguided sources of information. No matter how “true” something feels, it can still be wrong! You still have the freedom and ability to trust in logic and reason, even when your feelings seem to be telling you something else.

9. Labelling or “global rating”. Individuals often say things such as “I’m stupid” or “I’m a bad person” rather than considering that they simply did an stupid thing or a bad thing. Although it may seem clumsy at first, practice thinking along the lines of “I am a competent person who sometimes makes mistakes” in preference to “I am incompetent”. This pattern of thought will soon establish itself as a habit, and is a much healthier and positive way to view yourself.

10. Blaming yourself. This is where you take the responsibility for things which were quite clearly (to anyone else) outside your control. “If we lose that client, it’s all my fault” “I could have stopped it from happening” “If only I hadn’t said that, it wouldn’t have gone wrong”. This kind of thinking will frequently make you feel anxious – being overly responsible at work, for example, often leads to overworking andstress at work. When you think in this way, you are often (without realizing it) assuming that you have absolute power over events and total knowledge of everything. This is hardy ever the case. You canONLY be responsible for what you know about and can control, no more and no less.

11. The flip side of the coin to number (10) is that some people take no responsibility for themselves at all. Instead they blame others for absolutely everything which goes wrong. It is just as unlikely, however, that someone else is 100% responsible, and that none of it is your fault or responsibility whatsoever, than that you yourself are completely to blame. Most changes and events entail collective responsibility.

12. Personalising. This can entail taking too much responsibility for things which are only very partially in your control; or falsely assuming that things said or done by others refer to you personally. So if someone snaps at you at work you assume you have done something wrong – but in fact they have just had bad news, or perhaps they are generally rude – to everyone, and not just to you! It’s important to look for the evidence that what you are thinking is true, and what evidence there is for other explanations being true instead

Hypnotherapists in Stockport

The therapists at Stockport Hypnotherapy have over fifteen years of experience in treating insomnia, anxiety and teaching relaxation techniques and self hypnosis. If you are looking for anxiety treatment, or want to find a hypnotherapist in Stockport to help stress and anxiety, emotional problemstinnitus or low self esteem, then go to any of the independent websites which list and give reviews of hypnotherapists (for example www.freeindex.co.uk – Google also displays reviews) and you will see the excellent results which Pam and her team have achieved. If you would like further information about hypnosis in Stockport, for sleeping problems and insomnia, self esteem and confidence, phobias such as fear of flyingdepression, for help with weight loss, to break bad habits, or for any other problem, please call 07779 575816 for a free, no obligation, confidential discussion.

Hypnosis and hypnotherapy in Didsbury, Manchester – just two miles from Stockport, and within easy reach of city centre Manchester, Chorlton, Gatley, Cheadle, Altrincham and Hale and all areas of south and central Manchester.