Cognitive Distortions

Cognitive distortions, a key construct in cognitive therapy, are the product of active thought processes often resulting in negative, biased interpretations of experiences of the world, the future, relationships, and oneself. These consistent informational processing errors, or thinking errors, reinforce existing dysfunctional cognitive schema (a mental structure comprising core beliefs that serves as a template through which people perceive and interpret their experiences) in predictable ways and are associated with emotional disorders.

There may be reason to expect that the more one engages in distorted thinking, the greater the expected level of disturbance and psychopathology one experiences. Also, specific types of distortions may be more prevalent in some disorders than in others. For example, in panic disorder, overestimating the probability of future negative events and catastrophization ...

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