Obsessive thoughts, Anxiety and Suspicion

Have you ever had obsessive thoughts in your head? Like someone is watching you? Feel like you are the root of all misfortunes or, on the contrary, is someone else to blame?

These are just some problems that work cognitively in behavioral therapy. Here are some of these therapy techniques and examples from practice to see how it helps to change thinking and behavior.

The most effective cognitive-behavioral therapy techniques for correcting automatic thoughts are:

  • Decatastrophization
  • Reformulation
  • Decentralization
  • Re-attribution



Often people are afraid to look awkward and funny in the eyes of others – friends, colleagues, classmates, students, etc.

However, if the problem of “looking awkward” develops, it also affects strangers, i.e., the person is afraid of being ridiculed by the sales agent, the bus driver, the passer-by.

Constant fear makes a person isolate himself from people, even turn into a room. Such people choose to leave the social environment and become lonely so that criticism does not hurt them.

The essence of decatastrophization is to show the client that his logical reasoning is not justified. After receiving the first answer to your question, the psychologist asks the next in the form “What will happen if …”.

By answering the following questions, the client is aware of the awkwardness of his reasoning and sees real, factual events, causes and consequences.

The client becomes more prepared for possible “bad and unpleasant” consequences, but now he is already experiencing them less critically.

This moment is the most important part of the decatastrophization technique, in which the psychologist works with the client in such a way that the patient changes his views on the problem as an imminent catastrophe.

Reformulation or rewording

Rewording helps when the customer is convinced that the problem cannot be controlled. A psychologist helps to reformulate negative automatic thoughts.

Making thoughts “correct” is quite difficult, so the psychologist must make sure that the client’s thought is specific and clearly shows the direction of his new behavior.


Decentralization is a technique that helps to free the client from the belief that he is in the center of events, everything is going in and around him.

We use this cognitive technique in anxiety, depression, and paranoid states where a person has a changed mindset and personifies what he or she has nothing to do with.


Reassignment is used if:

  • The client blames himself for “all misfortunes” and failures. He identifies himself with adversity and is convinced that it is he who bears it and that he is “the root of all adversity.” It’s called “personalization” and it has nothing to do with actual facts and evidence, just a person saying to himself, “I’m the cause of all misfortune.”
  • If the client is convinced that the cause of all accidents is a specific person – if he were not, then everything would be fine. But since “he” is next to him, nothing good can be expected.
  • If the client is convinced that his misfortune is based on a single factor, such as the unfortunate number, day of the week, spring, wrong t-shirt, etc.

Once we find negative automatic thoughts, an intensified check of their adequacy and reality begins. Most clients themselves conclude all thoughts are false or have no rational basis.

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