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Sport Psych


Crazy-Makers: Dealing with Passive-Aggressive People

Why Are People Mean? Don't Take It Personally!

When You Have Been Betrayed

Struggling to Forgive: An Inability to Grieve

Happy Habits: 50 Suggestions

The Secret of Happiness: Let It Find You (But Make the Effort)

Excellence vs. Perfection

Depression is Not Sadness

Conflict in the Workplace

Motivation: Intrinsic vs. Extrinsic

20 Steps to Better Self-Esteem

7 Rules and 8 Methods for Responding to Passive-aggressive People

Promoting Healthy Behavior Change

10 Common Errors in CBT

What to Do When Your Jealousy Threatens to Destroy Your Marriage

Rejection Sensitivity, Irrational Jealousy and Impact on Relationships

For Women Only: How to Have the Relationship of Your Dreams

What to Do When Your Partner's Jealousy Threatens to Destroy Your Relationship

Making Attributions for a Healthier Attitude

Happiness is An Attitude

Thinking Your Way to a Healthy Weight

Guide to How to Set Achieveable Goals

The Effectiveness of Cognitive-Behavioral Treatment for Anxiety Disorders

Co-Dependency: An Issue of Control

The Pillars of the Self-Concept: Self-Esteem and Self-Efficacy

Catastrophe? Or Inconvenience?


Panic Assistance

Motivational Audios

Mindfulness Training

Rational Thinking

Relaxation for Children

Change Yourself--Don't Wait for the World to Change

Loving Kindness Meditation

Self-Esteem Exercise

Meadow Relaxation

Rainy Autumn Morning

Energizing Audios

Quick Stress Relief

Thinking Your Way to a Healthy Weight

Lies You Were Told

Choosing Happiness

Lotus Flower Relaxation

Audio Version of Article: Crazy-Makers: Passive-Aggressive People

Audio Version of Article: Why Are People Mean? Don't Take It Personally!

Audio Version of Article: Happiness Is An Attitude

All Audio Articles

Kindle Books by Dr. Monica Frank


Why You Get Anxious When You Don't Want To

Why People Feel Grief at the Loss of an Abusive Spouse or Parent

“Are You Depressed?”: Understanding Diagnosis and Treatment

15 Coping Statements for Panic and Anxiety

Beyond Tolerating Emotions: Becoming Comfortable with Discomfort

Emotion Training: What is it and How Does it Work?

How You Can Be More Resistant to Workplace Bullying

Are You Passive Aggressive and Want to Change?

When Your Loved One Refuses Help

The Porcupine Effect: Pushing Others Away When You Want to Connect

What if You Considered Other Peoples' Views?

5 Common Microaggressions Against Those With Mental Illness

What to Expect from Mindfulness-based Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (MCBT) When You Have Depression and Anxiety

Does Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy Lack Compassion? It Depends Upon the Therapist

When Needs Come Into Conflict

What to Do When Anger Hurts Those You Love

A Brief Primer On the Biology of Stress and How CBT Can Help

50 Tools for Panic and Anxiety

Coping With Change: Psychological Flexibility

Breaking Up is Hard to Do: Ending a Bad Relationship

I'm Depressed. I'm Overwhelmed. Where Do I Start?


Building Blocks Emotion Training

Hot Springs Relaxation

5 Methods to Managing Anger

Panic Assistance While Driving

Autogenic Relaxation Training

Rainbow Sandbox Mindfulness

Mindfulness Training

Riding a Horse Across the Plains

Cityscape Mindfulness

Change Yourself--Don't Wait for the World to Change

The Great Desert Mindfulness

Tropical Garden Mindfulness

Thinking Your Way to a Healthy Weight

Lies You Were Told

Probability and OCD

Choosing Happiness

Magic Bubbles for Children

Lotus Flower Relaxation

Cloud Castles for Children

Hot Air Balloon Motivation

All Audio Articles

Cognitive Diary Example


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The following is an example to help learn how to identify and change irrational thinking. It is best to read the articles defining the irrational styles of thinking prior to trying to identifying the styles in the example. It uses the format of the COGNITIVE DIARY CBT SELF-HELP app. Read: Understanding and Using the Cognitive Diary.

"Snippy" Email from Friend

EVENT: I contacted my friend to remind her about lunch and she sent back a "snippy" email saying she had already told me she would be there.

EMOTIONS: hurt, embarrassed

DISTRESS RATING: 6—feeling bad

THOUGHTS: “She sounded like she was mad at me. I don't know why she has to be so rude. I don't understand what I did wrong. But I'm sure it is me. I'm always so awkward socially. Maybe I should have checked my emails before contacting her.”

CAN YOU IDENTIFY THE IRRATIONAL THINKING IN THIS EXAMPLE? There are at least 3 irrational beliefs.

HOW CAN YOU CHANGE THE THINKING? What is another way of thinking about the situation that won't cause the feelings of being hurt and embarrassed?

The Cognitive Diary CBT Self-Help app helps you to determine some ways to challenge the irrational thinking. Once you have done that, it is important to read the rational challenges frequently until they automatically come to mind rather than the irrational thinking.


Irrational Beliefs:
1) Mind-reading of Others. She is making an assumption that her friend was angry at her which indicates that she was engaging in the irrational thinking style of mind-reading. This is a common misunderstanding when communicating by email or text. Her friend didn't indicate she was mad or tell her she was wrong, she just said she had already responded. Too often, when people read emails they read a tone of voice in the email that may not be there. I have frequently had clients show me an email that they were distressed about but when I read it out loud to them without a sarcastic or angry tone they acknowledged that it may not have meant what they thought.

To challenge mind-reading, it is important to acknowledge that there are other reasons for the person's words, emotions, or behavior. If there is still concern about the other person's behavior, it can be checked out with them. For instance, "Your email sounded like you were upset." Under no circumstance, however, should you respond without being certain of the other person's intentions. Doing so is a common cause of misunderstandings, hurt feelings, and conflict.

2) Blaming. She is tending to focus on blaming either her friend or herself. This indicates discomfort with mistakes because even if her friend was upset with her, this is a fairly minor problem that could be resolved with direct communication. However, when a person gets angry and starts blaming, even small problems can lead to major conflict or resentment. In this situation, if instead, she were to consider that there may be some other reason for her friend's response or that everyone has a bad day once in a while, she is less likely to be hurt by her friend.

In addition, by accepting her own personal flaws instead of demanding that she shouldn't make mistakes, she is less likely to look for blame in herself. As a result, she is more likely to shrug off the situation as a minor misunderstanding that doesn't deserve further attention.

3) Shoulds. As stated above, she has demands of herself. Most likely, she believes, "I shouldn't make mistakes that would cause others to get mad at me." This is an unreasonable expectation as illustrated by this example. If her friend was angry with her, it wasn't because she did anything terribly wrong. At the most, she just reminded her too many times about lunch. As far as mistakes go, that is pretty minor.

How Can This Thinking Be Changed?
"I don't know she was angry--I'm making an assumption. It might be just the way she came across in the email. She is my friend and probably isn't thinking any further about her response so there is no reason for me to dwell on it either. If I did do something wrong, it is minor and I don't need to worry about it. If she is upset with me, it is up to her to let me know and then I can do something about it. But unless that occurs, I'm just going to go to lunch and enjoy myself."

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