Cognitive Distortions and Genograms
Cognitive Distortions and Genograms social work 3502
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This 0 page Class Notes was uploaded by MadsSwart on Thursday March 17, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to social work 3502 at Ohio State University taught by Andrea Severson in Spring 2016. Since its upload, it has received 17 views. For similar materials see Foundations of Generalist Practice in Social Work at Ohio State University.
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Date Created: 03/17/16
What s a cognitive distortion and why do so many people have them Cognitive distortions are simply ways that our mind convinces us of something that isn t really true These inaccurate thoughts are usually used to reinforce negative thinking or emotions telling ourselves things that sound rational and accurate but really only serve to keep us feeling bad about ourselves For instance a person might tell themselves I always fail when I try to do something new I therefore fail at everything I tryquot This is an example of quotblack or whitequot or polarized thinking The person is only seeing things in absolutes that if they fail at one thing they must fail at all things If they added I must be a complete loser and failurequot to their thinking that would also be an example of overgeneraization taking a failure at one speci c task and generalizing it their very self and identity Cognitive distortions are at the core of what many cognitivebehavioral and other kinds of therapists try and help a person learn to change in psychotherapy By learning to correctly identify this kind of stinkin thinkin quot a person can then answer the negative thinking back and refute it By refuting the negative thinking over and over again it will slowly diminish overtime and be automatically replaced by more rational balanced thinking Cognitive Distortions Aaron Beck rst proposed the theory behind cognitive distortions and David Burns was responsible for popularizing it with common names and examples for the distortions 1 Filtering We take the negative details and magnify them while ltering out all positive aspects of a situation For instance a person may pick out a single unpleasant detail and dwell on it exclusively so that their vision of reality becomes darkened or distorted 2 Polarized Thinking or Black and Whitequot Thinking In polarized thinking things are either quotblackor whitequot We have to be perfect or we re a failure there is no middle ground You place people or situations in quoteitheror categories with no shades of gray or allowing for the complexity of most people and situations If your performance falls short of perfect you see yourself as a total failure 3 Overgeneralization In this cognitive distortion we come to a general conclusion based on a single incident or a single piece of evidence If something bad happens only once we expect it to happen over and over again A person may see a single unpleasant event as part of a neverending pattern of defeat 4 Jumping to Conclusions Without individuals saying so we know what they are feeling and why they act the way they do In particular we are able to determine how people are feeling toward us For example a person may conclude that someone is reacting negatively toward them but doesn t actually bother to nd out if they are correct Another example is a person may anticipate that things will turn out badly and will feel convinced that their prediction is already an established fact 5 Catastrophizing We expect disaster to strike no matter what This is also referred to as quotmagnifying or minimizingquot We hear about a problem and use What ifquestions eg What if tragedy strikesquot What if it happens to mequot For example a person might exaggerate the importance of insigni cant events such as their mistake or someone else s achievement Or they may inappropriately shrink the magnitude of signi cant events until they appear tiny for example a person s own desirable qualities or someone else s imperfections 6 Personalization Personalization is a distortion where a person believes that everything others do or say is some kind of direct personal reaction to the person We also compare ourselves to others trying to determine who is smarter better looking etc A person engaging in personalization may also see themselves as the cause of some unhealthy external event that they were not responsible for For example quotWe were late to the dinner party and caused the hostess to overcook the meal lfl had only pushed my husband to leave on time this wouldn t have happenedquot 7 Control Fallacies If we feel externaly controled we see ourselves as helpless a victim of fate For example I can t help it if the quality of the work is poor my boss demanded work overtime on it The fallacy of internal control has us assuming responsibility for the pain and happiness of everyone around us For example Why aren t you happy Is it because of something I did 8 Fallacy of Fairness We feel resentful because we think we know what is fair but other people won t agree with us As our parents tell us when we re growing up and something doesn t go our way Life isn t always fair People who go through life applying a measuring ruler against every situation judging its fairness will often feel badly and negative because of it Because life isn t fair things will not always work out in your favor even when you think they should 9 Blaming We hold other people responsible for our pain or take the other track and blame ourselves for every problem For example Stop making me feel bad about myself Nobody can make us feel any particular way only we have control over our own emotions and emotional reactions 10 Shoulds We have a list of ironclad rules about how others and we should behave People who break the rules make us angry and we feel guilty when we violate these rules A person may often believe they are trying to motivate themselves with shoulds and shouldn ts as if they have to be punished before they can do anything For example I really should exercise I shouldn t be so lazy Musts and oughts are also offenders The emotional consequence is guilt When a person directs should statements toward others they often feel anger frustration and resentment 11 Emotional Reasoning We believe that what we feel must be true automatically If we feel stupid and boring then we must be stupid and boring You assume that your unhealthy emotions re ect he way things really are feel it therefore it must be true 12 Fallacy of Change We expect that other people will change to suit us if we just pressure or cajole them enough We need to change people because our hopes for happiness seem to depend entirely on them 13 Global Labeling We generalize one or two qualities into a negative global judgment These are extreme forms of generalizing and are also referred to as labeling and mislabeling Instead of describing an error in context of a speci c situation a person will attach an unhealthy label to themselves For example they may say I m a loserquot in a situation where they failed at a speci c task When someone ese s behavior rubs a person the wrong way they may attach an unhealthy label to him such as He s a real jerkquot Mislabeling involves describing an event with language that is highly colored and emotionally loaded For example instead of saying someone drops her children off at daycare every day a person who is mislabeling might say that she abandons her children to strangersquot 14 Always Being Right We are continually on trial to prove that our opinions and actions are correct Being wrong is unthinkable and we will go to any length to demonstrate our rightness For example I don t care how badly arguing with me makes you feel I m going to win this argument no matter what because I m rightquot Being right often is more important than the feelings of others around a person who engages in this cognitive distortion even loved ones 15 Heaven s Reward Fallacy We expect our sacri ce and selfdenial to pay off as if someone is keeping score We feel bitter when the reward doesn t come Cognitive distortions that can potentially lead to suicide include Dichotomous thinking portraying oneself and the world in black and white eg thinking quotmy life is completely horriblequot rather than quotI like everyone else have good and not so good aspects of my lifesituationselfquot Overgeneralization assuming that one bad event means that the whole day week year etc will be bad Minimization the quot ip sidequot of overgeneralization assuming that a good trait or event is unimportant or quota ukequot eg I did well on that presentation but it39s only because no one was paying attention to me Selective Attention focusing only on negative information or information that con rms other negative or unhelpful thoughts eg thinking quotI can39t do anything rightquot and then reviewing your week for only those things that you messed up on rather than also considering the things you did well As discussed previously one particular way of thinking raises a serious red ag with regards to suicidal behavior People may become or are currently suicidal if they feel hopeless or that things will never get better Genogram Examples L m 3 E u quotm mu E E E j 2 EH E j w 3 m M s z m mm El mm 3 m IE Eg x qn m m m m 3 mm 1m 3331mm E m r E C in j w m m 3 51 a an I run mm Emh mug Dm 3 E r Ewmnmwgm m Sunni En mwmwu mmnmmmmh w n mmnmmmmm EHFE Mm mm H1 quotswim H quot3 2 mE mmnm mm n Fugmdmmmn WEE mam EHmmm quotmuggy WEE quot335 Hi H 33 35 u raid sari n Ewan u Umnmmmmm n mcr mn m HUEM Eu m EEEH n mcr mn m HUEM EuEm EEE
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