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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.

Fear of Having a Panic Attack While Flying

EVENT: I have to wait for the results from medical tests.

EMOTIONS: dread, uncertainty, hopelessness

DISTRESS RATING: 7--Feeling distressed, less in control

THOUGHTS: “I saw my doctor because I was not feeling normal and she thought I should get a thorough check-up. I think she thinks something is wrong but won't tell me. The technician looked at me with concern when I had the tests done. I'm sure there is something terribly wrong! I probably have cancer. What will I do? How will I take care of my family? I'm always so unlucky. If something bad can happen, it will happen to me.”

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 dread, uncertainty, and hopelessness?

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) Catastrophizing. In this situation, the person is anticipating the worst possible outcome regarding the tests. At this point he only has a vague sensation of something being wrong; he doesn't have serious symptoms. Yet, he is making an assumption that something is terribly wrong. In addition to that, he then catastrophizes even further into the future assuming that he won't be able to take care of his family.

Catastrophizing about something such as medical tests is likely only to increase anxiety unnecessarily. Most of the time the tests will show either nothing wrong or something that is easily treatable. Also, because medical tests are so often administered these days, it means that more and more abnormal findings are found when there is nothing wrong. Therefore, even if a test is positive, it is still important to wait for conclusive results before over-reacting. With catastrophic thinking, it is important to recognize that the worst case scenario is not likely to occur. And even if it does, you can deal with it then rather than using all your energy when nothing has happened.

Some people might think "If I don't react, aren't I in denial?" No, that is not the case. Denial is when you ignore obvious symptoms and just convince yourself that everything will be okay. If you are taking appropriate action and checking things out, you are not in denial.

2) Mind-Reading Others. Although there is no evidence for his assumption, he is creating evidence by engaging in mind-reading. He believes that both his doctor and the technician are withholding information from him. He takes a simple look from the technician as the evidence he needs to justify his catastrophic assumption.

However, the problem with interpreting looks, especially those of strangers, is that there is a high probability of being wrong. How someone looks could mean a lot of things. It could be even something personal that has occurred in that person's life. Without more experience with that person, it is not clear what a look means. So, with mind-reminding, it is important to remind yourself that you are likely to be wrong in your interpretation of other peopls's thoughts.

3) External Locus of Control. This person made a statement that he is "unlucky" and, as a result, believes that something bad is likely to happen to him. This is an external locus of control which is believing that you have no control over what occurs in your life.

With this type of belief, it is helpful to focus on how you do have control. For instance, he can focus on how he is taking care of himself by seeing the doctor and having the medical tests done. He can also recognize that if anything is wrong, he will take appropriate steps. These behaviors often decrease the likelihood of more serious problems.

How Can This Thinking Be Changed?
"Right now I don't have any information that there is a serious problem so I am not going to dwell on that. I can't interpret the looks of other people because they could mean many different things. Instead of feeling hopeless and unlucky, I can focus on what I am doing to help myself. People who take action when there is a problem are more likely to solve the problem or decrease serious outcomes. I will do what I can if anything does occur. But right now I am not going to worry about it."

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