Emotional Thinking

Change the way you think and react to events and people. 


Emotional Thinking refers to a generalized inability to distinguish emotions and thoughts. For some, strong emotions tend to interfere with balanced and realistic thought processes and can result in distorted views of situations and relationships, including an increase in depression. 

Emotional thinking is a cognitive process by which a person concludes that his/her emotional reaction proves something is true, regardless of the observed evidence. For example, even though a spouse has shown only devotion, a person using emotional reasoning might conclude, "I know my spouse is being unfaithful because I feel jealous."

Emotional thinking amplifies the effects of other cognitive distortions. For example, a test-taker may feel insecure about their understanding of the material even though they are perfectly capable of answering the questions. If he (or she) acts on his insecurity about failing the written test he might assume that he misunderstands the material and therefore might guess answers randomly, causing his own failure in a self-fulfilling prophecy.


Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT)

REBT is the pioneering form of cognitive behavior therapy developed by Dr. Albert Ellis in 1955. REBT is an action-oriented approach to managing cognitive, emotional, and behavioral disturbances.

According to REBT, it is largely our thinking about events that leads to emotional and behavioral upset. With an emphasis on the present, individuals are taught how to examine and challenge their unhelpful thinking which creates unhealthy emotions and self-defeating/self-sabotaging behaviors.

REBT is a practical approach to assist individuals in coping with and overcoming adversity as well as achieving goals. REBT places a good deal of its focus on the present. REBT addresses attitudes, unhealthy emotions (e.g., unhealthy anger, depression, anxiety, guilt, etc.) and maladaptive behaviors (e.g., procrastination, addictive behaviors, aggression, unhealthy eating, sleep disturbance, etc.) that can negatively impact life satisfaction. REBT practitioners work closely with individuals, seeking to help identify their individual set of beliefs (attitudes, expectations and personal rules) that frequently lead to emotional distress.

REBT then provides a variety of methods to help people reformulate their dysfunctional beliefs into more sensible, realistic and helpful ones by employing the powerful REBT technique called “disputing.” Ultimately, REBT helps individuals to develop a philosophy and approach to living that can increase their effectiveness and satisfaction at work, in living successfully with others, in parenting and educational settings, in making our community and environment healthier, and in enhancing their own emotional health and personal welfare.


Jennifer Erickson is one of our clinicians who uses REBT to help people reduce emotional thinking.