5 Thinking errors worksheets

This page provides effective worksheets to help individuals deal with and correct their thinking errors or cognitive distortions. 

Some of these worksheets have been created by us while others have been curated from reputable third-party websites.

What are Thinking Errors worksheets?

Thinking errors worksheets are worksheets and psychoeducation material that are used by others as a self-help guide or in cognitive behavioural therapy to help an individual develop insight and awareness into their thinking patterns. 

These worksheets bring to light the various faulty patterns of thinking that are based on assumptions about thesleevs, their situation,and the world in general. 

Thinking error worksheets help an individual identify, learn about the various kinds of cognitive distortions or thinking errors as well as engage in actively correcting and replacing these thinking errors with more positive ones. 

What are thinking errors?

Thinking errors or also known as Cognitive distortions are faulty perspectives that we take on about ourselves, others, and the world that influence our patterns of thought, feeling, and behaviours.

These errors and biases that we hold on to are often a result of our process of socialisation that reinforces these flare symptoms over time. 

These errors are often self defeating and are so subtle that many people do not know they are engaging in them and are part of one’s day to day life. 

However, cognitive distortions or thinking errors are very damaging and affect an individual in a never ending cycle of  these thoughts influencing your emotions as a result of which it affects your body and the physical sensations you feel as a result of which it affects your behaviour. 

The behaviour you engage in as a result of your thoughts further reinforces the assumptions that you have about the situation or yourself which further causes more distress. 

The characteristics of cognitive distortions (Ackerman,2021) include:

  • A certain pattern of thinking or believing that persists over various situations and settings. 
  • They are usually false assumptions. 
  • They have the potential to cause psychological distress and dysfunction in severe cases. For example, when it comes to anxiety- one of the major influence factors is distorted thinking or thinking errors. 

What are the various kinds of thinking errors?

The various kinds of thinking errors (Klearminds, 2014)  include:

  • “All or Nothing” Thinking where people are constantly thinking in extremes. Their thoughts about the world are abalck and white. For example, if you don’t look like a model on social media then you’re ugly. 
  • Mental Filter where people tend to filter out the positives of a situation or their asa sumtoms of themselves. Often disregarding positive assets and positive parts about a certain situation. For example, they only focus on their losses. 
  • Fortune telling thinking errors is where people jump to conclusions without any evidence and are so sure that there is nothing they can do to change the ending they have concluded to. For example, If they apply for this job I will not get hired.  
  • Mind Reading thinking errors involves assumptions you make of other people’s thoughts and intentions. You might assume other peoples thoughts of yourself and often include examples like, “She didn’t wave back at me, she must hate me because I annoy her.”
  • Overgeneralization is another thinking error where an individual takes an isolated event and situation and applies the same over to other areas. They apply their assumptions over a broad area. For example, if one makes a mistake at work, they overgeneralize thinking that they are bad at their job. 
  • Disqualifying the positive is another thinking error where an individual dismisses or minimises the positives of a situation or themselves by saying that they do not count or are not important. For example, rejecting compliments. 
  • Personalisation is a thinking error that people often engage in and involves thinking or seeing yourself as the cause of every negative thing that occurs in spite of there being no correlation. For example, your child fails at school and you immediately think that you are a bad parent. 
  • Catastrophizing is another common thinking error where an individals magnify or exaggerate a nevatiev situation or outcome that is based on assymotooms, For example, failing an exam might be liked to the end of a student’s life as they known it whcih is not realistic nor true.
  • Emotional reasoning is another thinking error where an individual takes their emotional experiences in reaction to a situation and considers that as fact. Fro eexmaple, we feel jealous of another person in out partners life leading us to suspect our partner of cheating.

Thinking Errors Worksheet

What does this worksheet do?

THe thinking errors worksheet is an effective psychoeducative material and handout that explore the various thinking errors or cognitive distortions people engage in that causes them psychological distress. 

The worksheet has been designed to be used by both adults as well as children as young as 7 years old. The worksheet uses kid friendly language to describe the various kinds of cognitive distortion with examples,

How will this worksheet help?

This worksheet is very effective in educating an individual about the various kinds of cognitive distortions of thinking errors that they might be engaged in.

The worksheet describes nine common thinking errors including examples that can be used by an individual or a caregiver to help themselves or a child to identify and learn about cognitive distortions that they engage in. 

How to use this worksheet?

This worksheet is used as a psychoeducative material for children and adults in learning about cognitive distortions of thinking errors. 

The worksheet includes a list of cognitive distortions and examples so that you can learn about errors that you engage in frequently. 

You can access this worksheet here

Identifying Thinking Errors

What does this worksheet do?

The Identifying thinking errors is an effective worksheet that enables and educates an individual to identify thinking errors. 

This worksheet invites an individual to explore the various thinking errors and cognitive distortions that occur in one’s cognitive processes and practice identifying them as they would when dealing with their own personal cognitive distortions or thinking errors. 

How will this worksheet help?

This worksheet helps an individual gain an awareness about thinking errors by exploring how thinking errors manifest in one’s life by using examples of thoughts that reflect cognitive distortions of thinking errors.

How to use this worksheet?

To use this worksheet the individual will have to consider the various statements that are provided in one of the two columns. 

Then the individual must match the statement to the various thinking error labels that are provided in the next column. The process must include all the other statements as well. 

If they require support in identifying the cognitive distortions, they can refer to the psychoeducative worksheet about thinking errors provided above. 

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Focusing on Positive

What does this worksheet do?

The focusing on the positive worksheet has been designed to enable an individual to develop more positive thinking.

The worksheet invites an individual to consider various scenarios that involve negative thinking and common thinking distortions and challenge them to consider the scenarios in a more positive and optimistic perspective by reframing their thoughts.  

How will this worksheet help?

This worksheet helps an individual to actively reframe their thoughts about various challenging situations and encourage them to use a more positive frame or perspective instead of engaging in thinking errors. 

How to use this worksheet?

To use this worksheet, an individual will have to explore and consider the various scenarios and thoughts that are provided on one column of the worksheet. 

Then the individual must actively challenge themselves to consider the scenarios and thought islands replace them with a more positive, realistic , and optimistic thought or perspective for each of the scenarios provided. 

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Automatic thought record Worksheet

What does this worksheet do?

The Automatic thought record worksheet is an effective tool to help an individual understand and identify their cognitive distortions. 

The worksheet has been designed to enable an individual to examine their own cognitive thought distortions of thinking errors and explore the validity of these thoughts. 

The worksheet invites an individual to engage with the thoughts they have and spend time figuring out whether they are vaid thoughts and fears or simply thoughts that are borne out of false assumptions. 

How will this worksheet help?

This worksheet will help an individual face their cognitive distortions head on and also examine them to determine whether these thoughts are real or simply based on assumptions about their situation. 

The worksheet will help an individual become more efficient in identifying their distortions of thinking errors when they apply the steps to their challenges in real time. 

How to use this worksheet?

Here are the steps to use this worksheet.

Start by writing down the date and time of the situation, so this might mean that you need to engage with this worksheet as and when the situation occurs. 

Next, describe the situation and explore what led to the situation adn what was the problem

Next, write down automatic thoughts you had and note down how much you believe in these thoughts. 

Then, identify the emotions you felt along with the thoughts you have had. 

Describe your behavioural response to the situation and also the kind of thinking eros that you were applying to lead to these behaviours. 

As part of the positive changes, consider more positive and adaptive responses and write down the best-case scenario to counter the worst-case scenario. 

Additionally come up with more realistic scenarios and a more adaptive response and rate the likelihood that it will come true. 

Finally, consider the intensity of your automatic thought in this phase and also the emotions that you are feeling. 

You can access this worksheet here

References

Cognitive Distortions and Thinking Errors – How Can CBT Help? KlearMinds. 28th November, 2014. Retrieved on 14th Dec 2021. https://www.klearminds.com/blog/cognitive-distortions-thinking-errors-can-cbt-help/

Ackerman. C. Cognitive Distortions: When Your Brain Lies to You (+ PDF Worksheets). Positive Psychology.  6th Dec 2021. Retrieved on 14th Dec 2021. https://positivepsychology.com/cognitive-distortions/

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