Automatic Thoughts and Examples

Automatic thoughts are mental functions that occur without conscious judgment, which deeply affect our actions and emotions. The root of our automatic thoughts comes from our more stable beliefs and schemes.

In cases where we experience emotional distress, our mental functioning is excessive, and we are more likely to make ineligible inferences. In such cases, these methods or forms of assessment used by our mind do not help us. The things that go through our minds when we have problems, which we call automatic thought, are also a product of the thinking process that is not suitable for this kind of situation.

automatic thoughts and examples 1

Automated thoughts are defined and exemplified below. Check out the thoughts that you have when you are in trouble or what these thought features of what you say to yourself may be the product of which. Remember that there can be more than one automatic thought in one thought.

automatic thoughts and examples 2
Worksheet / Automatic Thoughts Questionnaire ( PDF )

Thought Record

Automatic Thought Record : cbtiofsocal

Thought Record Sheet

1) Arbitrary inference: The fact that the person’s life draws a completely irrelevant or vice versa conclusion, without any evidence to support that result or, on the contrary, evidence. What is called “bald relevance” in slang. For example, interpreting the positive and supportive words of our friend as a sign of pity instead of interest (“he is interested in me because it hurts”; “he speaks not because he is interested in me, but because he is doing his job”), or he is not taken seriously (“he did not put me in his place”).

2) Selective abstraction (mental filtering): By ignoring the generality of a certain environment or context, ignoring the more obvious aspects of the situation and defining the whole event with this detail. For example, a speech he makes is that the person who is liked by many people feels bad by constantly thinking about a friend who listens but criticizes the speech. Considering this glitch by coming to the conclusion that we made a mistake by holding the house upon the failure of one of the faucets in the house we have just kept and liked.

negative automatic thoughts examples
negative automatic thoughts examples

3) Thinking all or nothing (black and white or double thinking): Something has been either complete or absent; the points between these two ends are not visible. To think that if someone who has a little mistake in his job says “If I’m not perfect, I’m unsuccessful”, a friend with a very good relationship is delaying things, “If he criticizes me, he doesn’t like it”.

4) Guessing the future (divination): A person who can’t comprehend the subject may think ”I’ll never learn it” ”I’m so bad at it.” ”I’ll never improve”.

5) Emotional inference: Despite the opposite evidence, believing that something is true just because it is felt (actually believed) by ignoring or neglecting them. “There are things I do but I feel that I’m a failed person”

6) Labeling: The person attaches general labels to himself or others: “I am stupid” of someone who made a mistake; The fact that someone who has a bad score on the exam qualifies him as “unsuccessful” is to think “he is ungrateful” for a friend who criticizes one of his behaviors.

7) Don’t underestimate or enlarge: Don’t see something too big or too small. In this error of thought, while belittling and undervaluating the work done by the person, he exaggerates his mistakes or the behaviors he deems wrong. “I got 70 from this script, a very bad grade (enlargement)”, “Anyone can get 70, this is not a success” “I finished school but just by chance.” (disdain).

automatic thinking
automatic thinking Source

8) Mind reading: Do not believe that we read the other person’s thoughts. ”He did not like me because he did not come”, “he did not call me because he thinks I am not important”, “he thinks me sucker” and so on.

9) Excessive generalization: The person draws conclusions covering all situations depending on one or more events. For example, someone leaving his friend concludes that “nobody will care and love me”; I find you wrong in this regard, said the person thinking “nobody supports me”.

10) Personalization: To see everything about ourselves. The person sees an event that is not related to him or that is of little relevance to him. The fact that a mother who scored the child badly came to the conclusion that “I am a bad mother, this has happened to her”, to think that “someone did not come because I am” when someone was not present at the meeting.

11) should-have statements: The person has hard ideas about how he or others should behave and exaggerates the bad consequences if they do not happen. “I should have made no mistakes”, “he should have kept his promise.”

thought record
thought record Soure

Automatic Thoughts Examples

Albert rented a house a month ago. A month later, she notices that the plumbing at home is old and broken.
Automatic thoughts of Albert are as follows.

  • Plumbing is broken and old.
    He won’t believe me when I say this to the host.
  • The host will not find an excuse and pay the deposit.
    Or the host will blame me.
  • I’ll be guilty.
  • I’ll have to argue with him.
  • I can’t defend myself.
  • If I find a lawyer, it will cost me a lot.
  • I can’t do anything.

In psychotherapy, we will talk more about non-functional negative automatic thoughts. Therefore, the term of automatic thought
  it is often used instead of a negative automatic thought term.

Last Updated on December 30, 2020 by Marilyn Walker

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I am studying in Florida about Dialectic Behavioral Therapy and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. I'm doing research on Neuro-Emotional Technique (NET), Cognitive psychology, Metacognitive Therapy.

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