Filtering (Mental Filtering)

Filtering or mental filtering is an irrational thinking characterized by filtering out positive information but retaining the negatives. For example, a person suffering from anxiety disorder focuses on the possible things that can go wrong during the day such as accidents, catching a cold, inclement weather, meeting criminals, and bad luck but he is not considering the optimistic ones. Another instance is when an individual dwells on a negative comment while ignoring the compliments. Filtering is one of the most common types of cognitive distortions based on Aaron Beck’s cognitive theory. The different types were developed by David Burns, a student of Beck.

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