The term, "cognitive distortion", describes a particular type of biased and negative thinking that can range from "subtle inaccuracies" to "grotesque misinterpretations and delusions"

(Aaron Beck).

These thinking errors arise as if by reflex, and always seem plausible to the person thinking them, but seem implausible to others, and, unfortunately, the thoughts are not particularly amenable to change either by reason or by contradictory evidence.

The psychologist, Robert Leahy, has identified seventeen such thinking errors, which are presented in the panels below.

"Mind Reading"

Assuming that you know what people think without sufficient evidence of their thoughts

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"Fortune Telling"

Predicting the future in negative terms involving failure or danger

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Believing that what has happened, or will happen, will be so awful and unbearable that you won't be able to stand it

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Assigning global negative traits to yourself and others

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"Discounting Positives"

Claiming that the positive things you or others do are trivial

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"Negative Filtering"

Focusing almost exclusively on the negatives and seldom noticing the positives

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Perceiving a global pattern of negatives on the basis of a single incident

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"Dichotomous Thinking"

Viewing events or people in all-or-nothing terms

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Interpreting events in terms of how things should be, rather than simply focusing on what is

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Attributing a disproportionate amount of the blame for negative events to yourself, and failing to see that certain events are also caused by others

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

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"Emotional Reasoning"

Letting your feelings guide your interpretation of reality.

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