010: Negative and Positive Distortions (Part 1)

Nearly 2,000 years ago, the Greek Stoic philosopher, Epictetus, emphasized that we are upset, not by what happens to us, but rather by our thoughts and interpretations of those events. A significant advance in this ancient theory occurred in the 1950s and 1960s when Dr. Albert Ellis, from New York, and Dr. Aaron Beck, from Philadelphia emphasized that the thoughts that upset us when we’re feeling depressed, anxious, or angry are nearly always distorted and illogical. As Dr. Burns emphasized in his book, Feeling Good, depression and anxiety are the world’s oldest cons, because you’re almost always telling yourself something that’s actually untrue. But you probably do not realize that you’re fooling yourself because your negative thoughts, like “I’m a loser,” or “Things are hopeless,” or “I shouldn’t have screwed up” seem as valid and real to you as the skin on your hands.

In this podcast, David and Fabrice discuss the first four of ten common thought distortions that trigger negative feelings: All-or-Nothing Thinking, Overgeneralization, Mental Filter, and Discounting the Positive. Dr. Burns explains that each negative distortion also has a mirror-image positive version as well, and these positive distortions trigger hatred, violence, narcissism, and mania, as well as habits and addictions. See if you can recognize some of your own distorted thinking patterns as you listen to this podcast!

13 thoughts on “010: Negative and Positive Distortions (Part 1)

  1. Hi Dr Burns,first of all, I wanted to say thank you for sharing with us this useful content of CBT through a podcast. I enjoyed when you talk about the challenges that you too have to endure sometimes i.e having to deal with 10 dysfunctional thoughts .Well, this shows that no one is free of these negative thoughts or dysfunctional attitude .However,we can accept,recognise,challenge ,make room for them as they are not going to disappear from our life one day, but can diminish of magnitude over time .I hope I got it right your message.

  2. Pingback: Yikes! The Feeling Good Podcast Cured 40 Years of Depression! What Happened? – Feeling Good

  3. I think that it is so clear that the techniques of Feeling Good should be teached at high schoo. I still remember that I learned some things like the bone structure of a dog that is not a prep school for life at all. Thank you for the great podcast! Enrique

  4. Thank you both some much for these podcasts, I can’t wait (all or nothing thinking) for the next installments to go live. I assume the others will go live at some point? I’m wondering if it’s my device playing games.

    • Thanks, I am confused about when the others will go live. We have recorded well over one hundred podcasts so far. If you sign up for free on my website in the upper right hand corner of any page you’ll do better, perhaps. Thanks! d

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