Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Faulty Thinking And Distress

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Your conscious thoughts are not what cause you distress. It’s the conclusions you come to about yourself, others, and the world based on these thoughts that cause you distress. It’s an endless feedback loop actually where you have beliefs, then some activating event, then a thought, and then a value judgment on that thought, all of which filter back into your beliefs.

One area where cognitive behavioral therapy and mindfulness completely agree is that transformation is achieved not through repressing or changing the thought itself but rather through accepting the thought for what it is without placing a value judgment upon it.

Where CBT really shines is the psychological world is in having isolated and categorized the various types of beliefs that are responsible for dysfunction, beliefs called faulty thinking patterns. Actively challenging the validity of these faulty thinking patterns, these maladaptive beliefs about Self, others, and the world, is the route to curing dysfunction. Rather than looking at the thought, a thought that’s usually taken for granted as objectively true, the emphasis is placed upon the myriad beliefs and conclusions around it.

As these beliefs start to change the endless feedback loop is interrupted so that when activating events cause thoughts these thoughts are either allowed to exist on their own without the resulting judgment or they don’t even pop up in the first place because there are no longer any maladaptive beliefs in place to support them, to fan those thought flames. Here is a list of articles on some of the most common faulty thinking patterns.

All Or Nothing Thinking
Automatic Negative Thinking
Disqualifying The Positives
Fortune Telling
Magical Thinking
Mind Reading

Greetings I'm Michael, the owner of Evolution Counseling and the author of all the articles on this site. I got my master's degree from Seattle University in community mental heath counseling and have committed myself to advancing my knowledge of psychology and to evolving my own philosophical system ever since. In addition to the content on this site I offer online coaching using Skype. If you'd like to learn more about it click on the online coaching tab or if you think you'd like to set up a session send me an email at

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