CBT: Cognitive Restructuring

Topics: Critical thinking, Cognitive bias, Worry Pages: 5 (434 words) Published: March 17, 2014
Cognitive Restructuring
Schemas
Renay Gartner, Psy.D

• First, an example:

Cognitive Restructuring

• Thinking errors or cognitive distortions were
identified early on (Beck 1976, Beck et al 1979,
Beck et al 1985b) from clinical observations
• Biases lead people to selectively focus attention on
the negative and/or not attend/discount contrary
information – in line with their dysfunctional
schema
– Schema = core organizing beliefs or personal meaning
structures; out of awareness yet influential

• Distortions play a major role in the maintenance of
emotional disorders (see Beck, J., 1995, p.119 for
list)

Information Processing Biases

• Leahy (2003) talks about the following:
– Limited search - aka confirmation bias
– Ignoring the base rates: focusing on info that is recent; salient and personally relevant…
– Examining the logic - internal contradictions; reduction ad absurdum; recursive self-criticism
– Linking unrelated events…or coincidences that turn into “fate or karma”

Some other logical errors

• Mindreading – EX: “He things I’m a loser.”
• Fortune Telling – EX: I’ll fail that exam.”
• Catastrophizing – EX: “It would be so
terrible if I failed.”
• Labeling – EX: “I’m undesirable.” “He’s
rotten.”
• Discounting Positives – EX: Those successes
were easy, so they don’t matter.”
• Negative Filter – EX: “Look at all the
people who don’t like me.”
• Overgeneralizing – EX: “This generally
happens to me. I seem to fail at a lot of
things.”

Cognitive Distortions

• Dichotomous Thinking – EX: “I get rejected
by everyone.”
• “Shoulds” – EX: “I should do well. If I
don’t, I’m a failure.”
• Personalizing – EX: “My marriage ended
because I failed.”
• Blaming – EX: “She’s to blame for the way I
feel now.”
• Unfair Comparisons – EX: “She’s more
successful than I am.”
• Regret Orientation – EX: I shouldn’t have
said that.”

Cognitive Distortions cont…

• What if? – EX: “Yeah, but what if I get
anxious?”
• Emotional Reasoning – EX: I feel depressed;
therefore, my marriage is not working out.”
• Inability to Disconfirm – EX: “I’m
unlovable.”
• Judgment Focus – EX: “If I take up tennis, I
won’t do well.” “I didn’t perform well in
college.”

Cognitive Distortions cont…

• Identifying ATs
– Challenge or
– Dig deeper

• Intermediate Beliefs
• Core beliefs
– Educate
– Challenge

Steps

• Ask for specific, concrete, recent, upsetting
events located at specific points in time.
• Look for shifts in affect – watch non-verbals.
• Ask about the point where they felt most
distressed; ID body sensation; & feelings.
• Rate intensity.
• Elicit Ats.
• Rate believability.
• Look for variations, ID distortions etc…

Eliciting AT’s

• Questioning
– Observing
– Socratic
– Downward Arrow

Working with Schemas:

Identification







Questioning
Educating
Spotting
Reviewing
Inventory-ing

Working with Schemas:

Identification






!


Dialecting
Examining
Cost-Benefitting
Alternating
Rehearsing
Worry Control
– EX: Worry Period, Is Problem Fixable, Accept
Uncertainty, Challenge Anxious Thoughts

Working with Schemas:

Modifying

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