Mervin Smucker. Characteristics of automatic thoughts that are linked to human emotions

In Beck’s model of Cognitive Therapy, the automatic thoughts that we have at any point in time are linked to the emotions we experience. Beck asserts that we change how we feel and replace our negative emotions with neutral or positive emotions by changing the way we think, especially by changing our automatic thoughts.

Below is a list of characteristics that are thought to describe the nature of automatic thoughts.

  • they are specific rather than vague
  • occur in shorthand form – only the essential words
  • may be words or pictures
  • do not arise from reasoning about, or reflecting on, the situation
  • follow no logical sequence of steps, as occurs in problem solving
  • “just happen”spontaneously, as though by reflex
  • Are difficult to “turn off”
  • require no effort
  • appear plausible or reasonable, although they may be far-fetched
  • can occur in spite of objective evidence to the contrary

Mervin Smucker