DBT for Distorted Thinking: Mind Reading


Sometimes we can get caught up in distorted thinking patterns. In DBT, we learn that thoughts are sometimes just that: thoughts. They are not always facts.

Have you even been really afraid that someone may believe something about you and you convince yourself that they must, even without checking out the facts?  Sometimes when we are afraid, we can project those fears onto other people.

For example, if I am afraid that I am fat, I may accuse you of thinking I am fat.  You may not think that at all. It's just a thought I had. It doesn't make it true.

According to a handout from Kaiser Permanente on recognizing distorted thinking styles, "Mind Reading" can be described as:

Mind Reading: Without their saying so, you know what people are feeling and why they act the way they do. In particular, you are able to divine how people are feeling toward you.

I also found this excerpt from a book that was distributed to the members of the DBT group that I attend:

 "Mind reading is the tendency to make inferences about how people feel and think. In the long run, you are probably better off making no inferences about people at all. Either believe what they tell you or hold no belief at all until some conclusive evidence comes your way.  Treat all of your notions about people as hypotheses to be tested and checked out by asking them. If you lack direct information from the person involved, but have other evidence, evaluate your conclusions..."

I challenged some distorted thinking and will be checking off the following skills on my DBT Diary Card:


  • Wise Mind
  • Describe
  • Effectiveness

Do you find yourself getting caught up in distorted thinking sometimes? What skills/strategies have you found helpful during these times?


Thanks for reading.
More Soon.

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