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Cognitive errors in cognitive behavioural therapy: Im not OK

Abstract: Depressed people think in special ways which makes it difficult for them to solve their problems in life.

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Cognitive errors in cognitive behavioural therapy: Im not OK

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Question(s): 
Written by: Martin Winkler
First version: 22 Jul 2008.
Latest revision: 23 Aug 2008.

What are cognitive errors? Why do I think that Im not OK?

Answer:

According to the cognitive-behavioural treatment approach client's with certain psychological disorders (e.g. depression or personality disorders) tend to have faulty assumptions and misconceptions. They may be caused by past experiences and are not adapted to the actual situation of the person.

Typical examples of cognitive errors (according to Aaron Beck) are:

  • Dichotomous / Polarized thinking
  • Overgeneralization
  • Selective abstraction
  • Magnification
  • Personalization

    Taking it very personal and generalize it as a personal trait instead of an individual, single mistake.

  • Arbitrary interference

    To draw a negative conclusion in the absence of supporting information. Focussing only on negative "proofs" of a position, neglecting all kind of alternative positive aspects of a better outcome.

    Example "My husband has not spent time with me tonight. So he must have a girlfriend and he will leave me right now."

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