Cognitive Distortions
Tools of the Trade

Founder of REBT

Albert Ellis


Founder of Cognitive Therapy

Aaron Beck


Thought that things ought to be a specific way that can be focused internally or externally typically leading to guilt, frustration, and anger. 

What are 'shoulds' or should statements? (Woulds, coulds, always, never)


Adversity, Consequence, Belief, Disputing, and Effective Philosophy are components of this...

What is the ABCDE model?


For all CBT practitioners, the one unifying role is...

What is an educator or teacher?


REBT therapists believe we learn these in childhood and re-create them throughout our lifetime. 

What are irrational beliefs?


CT strongly asserts that changes to behaviors and emotions are a result of changes to this

What are beliefs/schemas?


Over emphasis on issues and/or lessening of focus on your desired qualities.

What is magnification?


Identifying a trigger/situation, assisting and educating a client on rating emotions, identifying any unhelpful thoughts/images, facts that support this unhelpful thought, facts that are in opposition of this thought, creating a realistic and balanced alternative perspective, and re-rating of emotions after is this skill that social workers can use with clients.

What is a seven step automatic thought record?


A popular addition to CT, REBT, and CBT this method is a homework style that has clients read specific literature to help gain understanding about their issues. It is also, at least historically, quite cost effective. 

What is bibliotherapy?


There are three of these that "inevitably lead to self-defeat" according to REBT's founder. 

What are "basic musts" or irrational beliefs?


CBT works on these three levels...

What are automatic thoughts, underlying assumptions, and core beliefs/schemas?

What are the differences between these levels? 


How I feel is the way it is! 

What is emotional reasoning?


A clinician asks for a client to describe one of the "worst things" that could happen to them and describe their feelings experienced while doing so, then helping train the client on how to develop healthier feelings regarding this adversity is a use of this...

What is rational emotional imagery?


The stark difference between REBT and Beck's CT is one is (blank) derived rather than (blank) derived. 

What is empirically and philosophically? 


Being early to the party with mindfulness practices, a goal of REBT therapists is to assist clients in achieving these three 'unconditional acceptances' 

What is unconditional self-acceptance, unconditional other-acceptance, and unconditional life-acceptance?


Getting clients to do things, that they may not feel like doing to, that can improve their mood is this concept in CBT. Highlighting how actions can impact emotion.

What is behavioral activation?

Example with depressed client. Behavioral Activation is highly beneficial technique to demonstrate how actions impact emotions with clients. 


Making a judgment about yourself or someone else as a person, rather than seeing the behavior as something the person did that doesn't define them as an individual

What is labeling?


A social worker asking informational questions, practicing empathic listening, providing frequent summaries, and asking synthesizing and analytic questions are utilizing this skill

What is guided discovery?

In what ways can guided discovery be utilized in therapy? Client with "needing reason" when told 'no'. 


Clients became this as an ultimate goal in CBT...

What is their own teachers?

Client will be able to, through the skills obtained, teach themselves how to address future dysfunction. 


The D's completed within the Dispute section of the ABCDE model are these

What are detecting, debating, and discriminating?


Beck asserted that when core beliefs became this is when dysfunction is observed

What is unconditional?


Conclusions drawn without supporting evidence

What is arbitrary inferences or catastrophizing?

A social worker asking a client to identify a thought/belief to test, conduct a test for it, have a prediction for how it will turn out, then note down the outcome and potentially change the thought considering the new evidence obtained is using this technique...

What is a behavioral experiment?

Under what circumstances could a behavioral experiment be used?


Meichenbaum developed an approach called this that has three phases conceptual-educational, skills acquisition and consolidation, and application and follow-through. 

What is stress inoculation training (STI)?