Practice Identifying Cognitive Distortions

Check in quick with your thought patterns. Notice any unhelpful traps that keep you down? Identifying these cognitive distortions and actively moving to reframe the thoughts can help gain perspective for more helpful and healthy choices.

Here a few examples of some cognitive distortions:


Black and White Thinking (aka All or None / Polarized Thinking)

This type of thinking can result in no middle ground. Either it is one thing or it isn’t. This can be unhelpful because there is no negotiation and there is so much rigidity in the thinking, the brain struggles to think of alternative solutions to problems.

Emotional Reasoning

using feelings to make judgements or making choices based off of an emotion. Maybe you are sad so you decide to cancel plans instead of going out. Something may have made you angry, so you decide to shut yourself up and not talk it through with anyone. Emotional reasoning can happen with OCD when fearful thoughts lead to anxiety reducing

Fortune Telling

Ever feel like you know the way a situation is going to end up or feel like you have decided there will be an outcome without alteration? Fortune telling happens when we make an assumption based off of a limited access to the facts or based on our first impressions. If you have ever decided you were going to hate a movie before you actually saw it? Or have you said “Well, I have the weekend off so it is probably going to rain.” These are examples of fortune telling.


There are other types of cognitive distortions. You can find more information on these and how to enhance your thinking by reading The Complete OCD Workbook: A Step-By-Step Guide to Free Yourself from Intrusive Thoughts and Compulsive Behaviors By Scott Granet LCSW.