Click for introductory video for Lesson 5
We all have different information processing styles, and sometimes these styles lead us to have inaccurate or distorted automatic thoughts. These are thoughts that immediately pop into our heads under certain circumstances. Common negative, unhealthy, or destructive automatic thoughts fall into three basic categories:
- Depression: hopelessness, worthlessness, helplessness
A person who is not clinically depressed but who is choosing to depress might say things like:
- It’s hopeless.
- I can’t do anything.
- I’ll never amount to anything.
- There’s nothing I can do to change things.
- Anxiety: danger, vulnerability
An anxious or fearful person might say:
- I will fail for sure.
- People will think I’m an idiot.
- It will be awful if I don’t perform well.
- Anger: being treated unfairly, unreasonable obstacles, deliberate provocation
A person who is angry might blame others or expects something by saying:
- That person is deliberately trying to get me.
- This is so unfair.
- I shouldn’t have to put up with this.
Teachers’ Summary Chart of Automatic Thoughts, Information Processing Styles, and Correction Strategies
More Cognitive Strategies to Change Negative Automatic Thoughts
Student Activity: Self-Monitoring of Automatic Thoughts
Student Activity: Positive Self-Reinforcement
Next Section: Summary of Key Points
Previous Section: Lesson 4: ABCDE Approach to Faulty Cognitions