by Steve B. Reed, LPC, LMSW, LMFT
Cognitive Therapy | CBT expert Steve Reed, LPC, LMSW, LMFT helps people change the way they feel by changing negative thoughts that can produce anxiety, panic, and depression. Irrational, anxious, and depressive thinking patterns can become so habitual that the thoughts seem automatic. These automatic negative thoughts cause emotional distress and have a negative effect on judgment. However, with Steve's help, they are very treatable.
Steve has over 25 years of experience helping people to think and feel better. Below are a few examples of harmful thinking patterns that can be effectively treated through Cognitive Therapy, a CBT method.
- To find out more about Steve as a therapist and his highly effective treatments
- To schedule a counseling appointment with Steve, call 972-997-9955
Automatic Negative Thoughts (ANTs)
Patterns of Irrational Thinking from the book, Healing Anxiety and Depression by Dr. Daniel Amen
In the book Healing Anxiety and Depression, Dr. Amen identifies nine types of irrational thinking that can be treated with cognitive therapy. Because of the automatic nature of these ingrained patterns, he calls them “ANTs” (Automatic Negative Thoughts). Do ANTs infest your brain? Check the nine types of irrational thoughts below and notice how frequently they are spoiling your picnic.
- “Always Thinking”
“Always Thinking” is a form of overgeneralizing. It is thinking in absolutes: “always,” “never,” “no one,” “every time,” “everything,” “they all”. Examples: He’s always late. No one cares about me. Men are________. She never listens to me. They are all alike.
- “Focusing on the Negative”
“Focusing on the Negative” occurs when one only attends to the negative elements of a situation and ignores the positive. Example: You go to a great new restaurant. The food and ambiance were wonderful but your waiter wasn’t as friendly as you like. If you were focusing on the negative, you would narrow your focus to what you didn’t like about the waiter. You might completely minimize or discount the majority of the experience, which was wonderful.
- “Fortune Telling”
According to Dr. Amen “these ANTs occur when you predict that bad or negative things will happen.” This hurts your peace of mind and can ultimately be part of a negative self-fulfilling prophecy. You might think of this type of person as the bad-fortune teller.
- “Mind Reading”
This occurs when you believe that you know what other people are thinking about you. Often people assume the worst. They imagine that others think a litany of terrible things about them without any proof or verification of their negative assumptions. This usually has more to do with them projecting on to another person their own negative thoughts about themselves.
- “Thinking with Your Feelings”
Example: “I feel that he doesn’t like me.” The feeling can be very strong and deeply rooted in past experiences. If someone you just met looks like a person that didn’t like you from your school days, then you may think with your feelings and conclude that this new person does not like you. Such attributions can happen with no evidence what so ever. It is wise to consider such cases.
- “Guilt Beatings”
Guilt induced behaviors are not typically actions we would want to choose. When you use words like “should,” “ought,” “must,” and “have to” you are starting to beat yourself with guilt. Often this type of thinking will create resentment or backfire in us behaving passively aggressive or rebelliously.
Attaching a negative label to yourself or someone else prevents you from accurately and completely seeing reality. As soon as you label someone a jerk or label yourself as stupid, the whole of the person is reduced to the narrow confines of the label. You or the other person becomes identified with the label.
Personalization occurs when small and probably unrelated events are taken personally. For example, your coworker doesn’t speak to you one morning and you assume that they must be mad at you. But in this case, their behavior was the result of a fight with their spouse that distracted them.
By blaming other people or circumstances one fails to take responsibility for their own choices and actions. This causes people to get stuck in the victim role and feel powerless.
By Steve Reed at the Psychotherapy Center
To Schedule an Appointment for Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
Contact Steve B. Reed, LPC, LMSW, LMFT
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