Following the introduction on CBT 3/4….

So why would John perceive the situation as if he was not good enough? Well a number of factors come into play such as; past experiences, past criticism, current situational factors, relationship with primary caregivers amongst others. Despite all of John’s previous experience may be true and he may feel as if these experiences define him, it may not always be the case.

Sometimes we use cognitive distortions which do not represent the situation clearly. Cognitive distortions tend to be fatalistic and extreme ways of perceiving reality. If you would like further information on cognitive distortions please refer to CBT 2/2.

What I would suggest to an individual who has negative automatic thoughts is to take the thought to a test: Give the evidence which validate the thought and also the evidence which goes against the initial thought. Finally re-evaluate the thought after examining all the evidence.

What tends to happen, is that despite a negative thought might have some truth to it, it is not as extreme as one initially perceived. Thus finding the appropriate coping skills and working on the skills which one wishes, would significantly improve one’s mood state and general perception about oneself.


Karl Grech is a counsellor. He offers counselling to both individuals and couples within Willingness. He can be contacted on

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