Every type of negative thought pattern

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Coming to a general conclusion based on a single event or one piece of evidence. If something bad happens once, you expect it to happen again and again. Such thoughts often include the words always and never I forgot to finish that project on time. I never do things right.

This always happens to me. I seem to fail at everything He didn’t want to go out with me. I’ll always be lonely.

Selective Filtering

Concentrating on the negatives while ignoring the positives. Ignoring important information that contradicts your (negative) view of the situation. I know she said most of my essay was great but she also said there were a number of mistakes that had to be corrected…she must think I’m really hopeless

Look at all of the people who don’t like me

All or Nothing Thinking

Thinking in black and white terms (things are completely right or totally wrong). A tendency to view things at the extremes with no middle ground. I get rejected by everyone

It was a complete waste of time

I won’t be able to get all of this done


Taking responsibility for something that’s not your fault. Thinking that what people say or do is some kind of reaction to you, or is in some way related to you. he relationship ended because I failed

Jack's in a terrible mood. It must have been something I did It’s obvious she doesn’t like me, otherwise she would’ve said hello


Overestimating the chances of disaster. Expecting something unbearable or intolerable to happen. Believing that what has happened or will happen will be so awful and unbearable that you won’t be able to stand it.

It would be terrible if I failed I’m going to make a fool of myself and people will laugh at me What if I haven’t turned the iron off and the house burns down If I don’t perform well, I’ll get thrown out of college

Emotional Reasoning

Mistaking feelings for facts. Negative things you feel about yourself are held to be true because they feel true. I feel like a failure, therefore I am a failure

I feel depressed, that must mean my relationship is not working out I feel ugly, therefore I must be ugly I feel hopeless, therefore my situation must be hopeless

Mind Reading

Making assumptions about other people’s thoughts, feelings and behaviours without checking the evidence. I could tell he thought I was stupid in the interview

He thinks I'm a loser

Unfair Comparisons

Interpreting events in terms of standards that are unrealistic – for example, you focus primarily on others who do better than you and find yourself inferior in the comparisons. She’s more successful than I am

Others did better than I did on the test


Focusing on the other person as the cause of your negative feelings, and refusing to take responsibility for changing yourself.

She’s to blame for the way I feel now

My parents caused all my problems

Regret orientation

Focusing on the idea that you could have done better in the past, rather than on what you can do better now.

I could have got a better grade if I had worked harder

I shouldn’t have said that

What If?

You keep asking a series of questions about what if something happens, and you fail to be satisfied with any of the answers.

Yeah, but what if I get anxious?

What if I don't know anyone at the party?

Fortune Telling Error

Anticipating an outcome and assuming your prediction is an established fact. These negative expectations can be self-fulfilling: predicting what we would do on the basis of past behaviour may prevent the possibility of change. I’ve always been like this

I'm going to fail that interview It’s not going to work out so there’s not much point even trying This relationship is sure to fail

Should Statements

Using should, ought, or must statements can set up unrealistic expectations of yourself and others. It involves operating by rigid rules and not allowing for flexibility. I shouldn’t get angry I should be getting A grades. If I don’t then I’m a failure

Inability to Disconfirm

Rejecting any evidence or arguments that might contradict your negative thoughts. For example, when you have the thought “I’m unlovable,” you reject as irrelevant any evidence that people like you. Consequently, your thought cannot be refuted.

That’s not the real issue

There are deeper problems

There's more to it than that

Judgement Focus

Viewing yourself, others, and events in terms of evaluations as good/bad and superior/inferior, rather than simply describing, accepting, or understanding. Continually measuring yourself and others according to arbitrary standards, and finding that you and others fall short.

I didn’t perform well in college

If I take up tennis, I won’t do well

Look how successful she is. I’m not successful


A tendency to exaggerate the importance of negative information or experiences, while trivialising or reducing the significance of positive information or experiences. He noticed I spilled something on my shirt. I know he said he will go out with me again, but I bet he doesn’t call Supporting my friend when her mother died still doesn’t make up for that time I got angry at her last year


Assigning global negative traits to yourself and others

I’m ugly

He’s stupid

Discounting the Positives

Claiming that the positive things you or others do are trivial

That’s what wives are supposed to do – so doesn’t count when she’s nice to me

Those successes were easy, so they really don’t matter

She was only being nice to me because she felt sorry for me