Select Page
CBT:  Irrational Thoughts
Understanding and Addressing Them
Presented by: Dr. Dawn-Elise Snipes
Executive Director, AllCEUs
Counseling CEUs for this presentation are available at
~ Define Thinking Errors
~ Explore the different types of thinking errors
~ Evaluate how thinking errors can play into our basic fears: Rejection, isolation, the unknown, loss of control, failure
~ Identify ways to
~ Increase awareness of thinking errors
~ Address thinking errors
~ Address basic fears
Why I Care/How It Impacts Recovery
~ Thinking errors, or stinkin’ thinkin’ plays a large part in keeping people miserable
~ Addiction, depression, anxiety, anger and guilt often stem or are made worse by faulty thinking
~ Addressing these thought patterns will help you:
~ Not make a mountain out of a molehill
~ Focus on the things you can change
~ Identify and eliminate thought patterns that are keeping you stuck
What are Thinking Errors
~ Cognitive Distortions take a thought and manipulate it to
~ Fulfil your expectations of a situation
~ Conform to your current head space (negative begets negative)
~ Irrational Thoughts are beliefs/thoughts that you may hold that
~ Are usually extreme (I must have love and approval from everyone all the time)
~ Are unrealistic
~ Create feelings of failure, inadequacy, disempowerment
A Note About Irrationality
~ The origins of most beliefs were rational and helpful given:
~ The information the person had at the time
~ The cognitive development (ability to process that information)
~¬†‚ÄúIrrationality‚ÄĚ or unhelpfulness of thoughts comes when those beliefs are:
~ Perpetuated without examination
~ Continue to be held despite causing harm to the person
Sometimes it is more productive for clients to think of these thoughts as ‚Äúunhelpful‚ÄĚ instead of ‚Äúirrational.‚ÄĚ
Irrational Beliefs
~ If I make a mistake, it means that I am incompetent.
~ When somebody disagrees with me, it is a personal attack.
~ I must be liked by all people.
~ My true value depends on what others think of me.
~ If I am not in a relationship, I am completely alone.
~ Success and failure are black and white.  There is no gray.
Evaluate how thinking errors can play into our basic fears: Rejection, isolation, the unknown, loss of control, failure
Irrational Beliefs
~ Nothing ever turns out the way you want it to.
~ If the outcome was not perfect, it was a complete failure.
~ If something bad happens, it is my fault.
~ The past always repeats itself.
~ If it was true then, it must be true now.
Evaluate how thinking errors can play into our basic fears: Rejection, isolation, the unknown, loss of control, failure
Irrational Thoughts Quick Help
~ What is upsetting me?
~ Why is this upsetting me?
~ What are the FACTS for and against this belief
~ Am I reacting based on facts or feelings?
~ What cognitive distortions am I using?
~ What irrational thoughts am I using?
~ Activating Event (What happened)
~ Beliefs
~ Obvious
~ Negative self-talk//Past tapes
~ Consequences
~ Dispute Irrational Thoughts
~ Evaluate the Most Productive Outcome
~ Is this worth my energy?
~ How can I best use my energy to deal with or let go of the situation?
Constructive Self Talk
~ Use self-talk constructively to challenge that statement. An effective challenge will make you feel better (less tense, anxious, panicky)
~ What is the evidence
~ What is so awful about that
~ You are a regular human being and have a right to make mistakes
Distressing Thoughts Worksheet
~ What is the evidence
~ Am I assuming causation where no exists?
~ Am I confusing thought or feeling with fact?
~ Am I close enough to really know what is going on?
~ Am I thinking in all-or-none?
~ Am I using extreme words like always or never
~ Is the source of the information credible
~ Am I confusing low with high probability
~ Am I focusing on irrelevant factors?
~ Is this thinking getting me closer to what I want?
~ What are the advantages/disadvantages to thinking this way
~ What difference will this make in a month/year.
Group Activity
~ List thinking errors and discuss how those patterns protected you until now
~ Example: Prevented you from being disappointed if you expected to fail or expected people to leave
~ Identify thinking errors that you can, currently, eliminate and a countering mantra
~ I need to be loved by everybody all the time
~ I need to love myself all the time and not everybody is capable of loving.  It is about them, not me.
~ Identify thinking errors that you still hold onto and why, then develop a plan to start addressing them.
~ Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is a technique that helps people:
~ Understand how thoughts create feelings and vice versa
~ Identify and address negative self talk
~ Issues and events from the past do not need to continue to negatively impact a person
~ Thinking errors are learned and can be unlearned
~ These thought patterns help to form and maintain a negative or vulnerable self image.
~ Healthy thought patterns can help people feel more empowered and worthy of love.
Nashville Counseling Un-Conference
A grass-roots conference put together by clinicians for clinicians.
Up to 20 CEUs from a NAADAC approved provider are available for addiction and mental health counselors and people seeking certification as addiction counselors
~ WHEN: February 23-25, 2018
~ WHERE: Nashville Metro (exact site TBD)
~¬†The main speaker each hour will also be simulcast online.¬† Virtual attendance is possible for those who do not need ‚Äúface-to-face‚ÄĚ hours.
~ Whole conference (20 CEUs): $99 in advance;  $149 at the door
~ One Day (8 CEUs): $45 in advance; $65 at the door
~ Registration will open in October 2017
Nashville Counseling Un-Conference
Call for Papers
~ Theme: Addressing the Growing Problem of Co-Occurring Disorders.
~ Suggested Topics:
~ Techniques and Effectiveness of Technology Assisted Therapy (e-therapy, text-based coaching, apps, online support and educational programs etc.)
~ Special Needs of Rural Populations
~ Transdiagnostic Approaches to Treatment: Applying DBT, ACT, and 12-Step Approaches to mental health and addiction issues.
~ Codependency: Understanding and Addressing It
~ Relapse Prevention for Co-Occurring Disorders
~ Multidisciplinary Approaches to Treatment
~ Prevention and Early Intervention Strategies for Co-Occurring Disorders
~ Developing Self-Esteem and Emotion Regulation Skills in Youth (and their parents)
~¬†Case Management is not a counselor's job, but…It is
~ Exploring pharmacotherapy in the treatment of co-occurring disorders (SSRIs and their impact on compulsive behaviors for example)