ThinkingWe all experience cognitive distortions sometimes. But twisted thinking becomes a problem when it dominates our thinking style and reflects flawed beliefs.

Cognitive distortions send us repetitive, and incorrect, feedback. They self-perpetuate, blocking self-actualization, personal growth, and happiness. In other words, twisted thinking is often a kind of unconscious self-sabotage.

Below are three really common types of twisted thinking that get you nowhere.

Black and White/All-Or-Nothing Thinking

You are engaging in black and white or all or nothing thinking if your thoughts (or words) tend to frequently (but not always), include the terms:

Always, as in: I always fail math tests. I always overreact to problems. She always yells at me no matter what I do. People always try to hurt me. My boss is always out to get me.

Never, as in: I never get things right. Things never work out for me. They never give me a chance.

Every, as in: Every time I try, I fail. Every single day is worse than the next.

Should Thinking

You are engaging in should thinking if your thoughts (or words) tend to reflect the belief that things should be one way or the other, and sound like this:

I should always be friendly, no matter what. I should never feel sad. I should always listen to others, even if they insult me.


Everything’s-About-Me Thinking

You are engaging in everything’s about me thinking if your thoughts (or words) tend to reflect the (sometimes “negative”, sometimes overly “positive”) belief that things are always about you personally, and might sound like this:

I hear them fighting in the other room—it must be my fault.

Everyone’s only coming to Jen’s party because I’m going to be there.

She’s crying just to irritate me.

But I Can’t Change The Way I Think, Can I?

This is one of the false beliefs I hear all the time. Yes, you can actually change the way you think. If a 1984-style government does it, it’s called propaganda. If a cult does it, it’s called brainwashing. If they can do it, you can do it!

More soon…





View Comments / Leave a Comment

This post currently has 2 comments.
You can read the comments or leave your own thoughts.

    Last reviewed: 18 Oct 2013

APA Reference
& C.R. Zwolinski, R. (2013). 3 Types Of Twisted Thinking That Get You Nowhere. Psych Central. Retrieved on March 27, 2015, from


Therapy Soup


Subscribe to this Blog:

Or Get a Single, Daily Email (enter email address):

via FeedBurner


Therapy Revolution
Check out the book!
Therapy Revolution: Find Help, Get Better, and
Move On without Wasting Time or Money
by Richard Zwolinski, LMHC, CASAC & C.R. Zwolinski

Subscribe to this Blog:

Or Get a Single, Daily Email (enter email address):

via FeedBurner

Recent Comments
  • Cosigning: EXACTLY!!!! I have seen this before. Without context it is impossible to know if this behavior is...
  • Megalodon: This article is one of the best I have read on explaining BPD. I recognize those symptoms that so confused...
  • Lorr: Thanks. That sounds like a great idea. I saw some Personal Perspectives on BING Image, but they were essays by...
  • Richard Zwolinski, LMHC, CASAC & C.R. Zwolinski: @Lorr I’m glad to hear that you are using a treatment...
  • Lorr: I think the PPP is a great idea, I read about it in your book. Do you have a format or samples? I’m not...
Find a Therapist
Enter ZIP or postal code

Users Online: 12240
Join Us Now!