Unhelpful Thinking Styles

All or Nothing Thinking

  • Sometimes called 'black and white thinking
  • If I’m not perfect, I have failed
  • Either I do it right or not at all


  • Seeing a pattern based upon a single event, or being overly broad in the conclusions we draw
  • everything is always rubbish "nothing good ever happens

Mental filter

  • Only paying attention to certain types of evidence

*Noticing our failures but not seeing our successes

Disqualifying the Positive

  • Discounting the good things that have happened or that you have done for some reason or another

  • That doesn’t count

Jumping to Conclusions

  • There are two key types of jumping to conclusions:
    • Mind reading (imagining we know what others are thinking)
    • Fortune telling (predicting the future)

Magnification (catastrophising) & minimization

  • Blowing things out of proportion (catastrophizing), or inappropriately shrinking something to make it seem less important

Emotional Reasoning

  • Assuming that because we feel a certain way what we think must be true
    I feel embarrassed sol must be an idiot

Should, Must, Ought

  • Using critical words like should ‘must’ or 'ought can make us feel guilty, or like we have already failed

  • If we apply shoulds’ to other people the result is often frustration.


  • Assigning labels to ourselves or other people
    I’m a loser
    I’m completely useless
    They’re such an idiot


  • Blaming yourself or taking responsibility for something that wasn’t completely your fault

  • Conversely, blaming other people for something that was your fault