Cognitions - the way we think

1) Schemas / Core beliefs

•Beck distinguished 3 levels of cognition that cause and maintain psychopathology

•Schemas: Internal models of the self and the world developed over the course of experiences beginning in early life

•Schemas may lie dormant until they are activated by conditions similar to those under which they originally developed .


2) Maladaptive Assumptions

•Must / Shouldsand If-then statements

•“If I don’t pass the exam, it means that I’m a failure”

•“If I’m depressed now, then I will always be depressed”

•“People will think less of me, if I am depressed”


3) Automatic Thoughts (ATs)

•Negative view of the self (e.g., I’m unlovable, ineffective)

•Negative view of the future (e.g., nothing will work out)

•Negative view of the world (e.g., world is hostile)

•ATsare not given the same consideration as other thoughts but rather they are assumed to be true



Situation: A colleague brushes past me in the cafeteria without saying “hello”.


Schema:                                "I am unlovable."

Assumption:              "I need her approval to feel worthwhile."

Automatic Thought:             "She doesn’t like me"


Emotions:                       sad, depressed, hopeless




            Unhealthy Self-Talk

B   Black and White Thinking

A    Awfulizing

D   Discounting the Positives

M   Maximizing the Negatives

O   Overgeneralization

O   Overestimating likelihood of Negative Outcome

D   Demanding

S   Self-Blame


Solihull CBT offers therapy for all of Birmingham and the West Midlands

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