In the cognitive therapy model of emotional disorders, „automatic thoughts“ are viewed as highly subjective, „stream-of-consciousness“ cognitions that are directly linked to emotion. They appear to come out of nowhere and are not preceded by a process of deliberation or careful reasoning. As such, they are often twisted, distorted, and involve cognitive errors; yet they appear to the individual as plausible and are often accepted uncritically as reality-based and render the individual vulnerable to bouts of depression and anxiety.
The following is a technique for testing the validity of one’s automatic thoughts.
- What is the evidence to support this thought? Counter evidence?
- Are there any alternative interpretations of this event?
- Possible errors in my thinking? Cognitive distortions?
- What is the worst that could happen if my negative interpretation is true? What is the worst that could happen if my negative interpretation is true? What is the most realistic outcome?
- What is the most realistic outcome?
SUMMARIZED RATIONATIONAL RESPONSE…