Distortion To Clarity


unknownAlthough always reading something, I have been concentrating on books that will help me succeed in my new work environment. Having some sound coaching from Al Killeen, I continue to be introduced to solid ideas and great books.

Only recently I learned about   cognitive distortions. Also known as “faulty thinking,” a concept  pioneered by David D. Burns, MD,  in his best seller, Feeling Good.

Often, I have succumbed to seeing situations through one or more of these distortions, (see below).  My guess is that I am not alone, but I have decided that those days are behind me and I am starting to see clearly now, (You are never too old to learn and change).

How about you?  nature-and-its-beauty

1. ALL OR NOTHING THINKING: You see things in black and white categories. If your performance falls short of perfect, you see yourself as a total failure.

2. OVERGENERALIZATION: You see a single negative event as a never-ending pattern of defeat.
3. MENTAL FILTER: You pick out a single negative detail and dwell on it exclusively so that your vision of all reality becomes darkened, like the drop of ink that discolors the entire beaker of water.
4. DISQUALIFYING THE POSITIVE: You reject positive experiences by insisting they “don’t count” for some reason or other. In this way you can maintain a negative belief that is contradicted by your everyday experiences.
5. JUMPING TO CONCLUSIONS: You make negative interpretations even though there are definite facts that convincingly support your conclusions.
a. Mind reading: You arbitrarily conclude that someone is reacting negatively to you, and you don’t bother to check this out.
b. The Fortune Teller Error: You anticipate that things will turn out badly, and you feel convinced that your prediction is an established fact.
6. MAGNIFICATION (Catastrophizing) OR MINIMIZATION: You exaggerate the importance of things (such as your goof-up or someone else’s achievement), or you inappropriately shrink things until they appear tiny (your own desirable qualities or the other fellow’s imperfections).
7. EMOTIONAL REASONING: You assume that your negative emotions necessarily reflect the way things really are: “I feel it, therefore it must be true”.
8. SHOULD STATEMENTS: You try to motivate yourself with should and shouldn’ts, as if you had to be whipped and punished before you could expect to do anything. “Musts” and “oughts” are also offenders. The emotional consequence is guilt. When you direct should statements towards others, you feel anger, frustration, and resentment.
9. LABELING AND MISLABELING: This is an extreme form of overgeneralization. Instead of describing your error, you attach a negative label to yourself: “I’m a loser”.
10. PERSONALIZATION: You see yourself as the cause of some negative external event which in fact you were not primarily responsible for.

Clarity is better than distortion anyday.

Based on information from “Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy by David D. Burns, M.D.; Signet Paperback.

Distortion program courtesy of @snorpey.  Distortion list courtesy of  Habits for well being.com @shareaholic




About Ray V.

Living between Aiken & Charleston,, South Carolina, USA, I like to share what I am looking at, thinking about or listening to. I refer to this as the view out my window. Thanks for stopping by.
This entry was posted in Cognitive Distortions and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Distortion To Clarity

  1. Val Boyko says:

    David Burns’s tome is one full of wisdom and insight into our mind state and feelings. It is the foundation of most therapy, but is also valuable to all of us humans who think, believe and feel! Congratulations on moving in this direction Ray 💛

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Ann Koplow says:

    David Burns’s book is a great one. I often work with my clients using this kind of approach. Thanks for posting this!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. lisanne3015 says:

    3, 6, and 10…knowledge is power.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Definitely all or nothing. Achilles heal.

    Liked by 1 person

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