Distorted thoughts, which are considered as one of the concepts of cognitive behavioral therapy, in other words, cognitive distortions include thoughts that cause people to perceive reality incorrectly. According to cognitive therapies, the common mechanism underlying all disorders is thought to be distorted thoughts that affect the individual’s mental state and behaviors. Re-evaluating and changing these thoughts in a realistic way leads to improvements in emotions and behaviors. It is seen that more permanent improvements depend on changing the dysfunctional basic beliefs of individuals (Hiçdurmaz & Öz, 2011).
Distorted interpretations consist of erroneous learning that we have seen and experienced in our environment since birth. Cognitive distortions cause instantaneous automatic thoughts about events. Emotional disorders such as depression, anxiety disorder, panic attack, obsessive-compulsive disorder and cognitive distortions are explained in cognitive-based therapy methods, which underlie self-harming behaviors. Thoughts form the basis of cognitive therapy. We often distort new events and learning to fit existing core beliefs. These distorted interpretations settle into consciousness by automatically emerging thoughts. The registration process of newly learned information dates back to childhood years. In this period, incorrectly registered information may cause individuals to misinterpret themselves and their environment. Individuals with cognitive distortions accept their thinking errors as if they were real. In this context, cognitive distortions cause automatic thoughts that cause a person to feel worthless and cause some emotional problems in case of incorrect processing of information. The aim of cognitive therapies is to make individuals understand and realize their harmful thoughts and to replace these erroneous thoughts with valid thoughts (Duman et al., 2019).
There are eleven types of distorted thought system. All or nothing thought;it causes all kinds of experiences and lives to be evaluated at two extremes. overgeneralization;It is the reflection of an event to his whole life and future. mental filter;It is when one gets stuck on a single negative event and detail. invalidate the affirmative;an effort to convince themselves that they are negative by ignoring positive events. Jump to conclusions;Making a negative assessment even though there is no definitive evidence to support the conclusion reached. Enlargement and reduction;disproportionately enlarging or shrinking things that happen to them. emotional decisions;Don’t assume that negative feelings don’t reflect reality. -must, -mali sentences;using imperative statements about how behavior, events, thoughts or feelings should be. Labeling;sticking a negative label. Personalization;Self-perception when we are not primarily responsible for a negative event. catastrophizing;It involves always thinking negatively about the future without considering other possible consequences.
When negative thoughts are examined, we see that they contain ‘cognitive distortions’. We may not realize this at first, but when these thoughts are examined, we realize that they are wrong. It is important to be aware of how such negative thoughts and distorted ways of thinking affect the emotions of individuals, and to see how these false thoughts come automatically. Providing this will increase the quality of life of individuals.