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Recognizing Thought Patterns Can Help You Be More In Control of Your Thinking by Maram Barakat, M.A.

Be More In Control of Your Thinking by Maram Barakat, M.A., Bergen County Moms

We often fall prey to our own thinking traps and find ourselves going down a spiral of unhelpful thinking.

Recognizing our thinking patterns can help reduce our likelihood to engage in them.

Remember YOU are in control!

Here are some biases our brain tricks us into thinking while in fact, they are thinking traps:

Mental Filter

Or tunnel vision. When we choose to focus on the negative aspect of a situation while overlooking others (positive)

Emotional Reasoning

When we assess a situation based on our current emotions and interpret them as fact.

All or Nothing

Absolute thinking where we tend to focus on an extreme and ignore the other. There is no in-between. "Everyone hates me".


Exaggerating a situation in the negative.


Interpreting a single, negative event as the norm. Assuming that because it happened once, this is how it will be.


Using sweeping, negative statements to describe ourselves or others.


Blaming ourselves when unnecessary for external negative events.

Should-Have and Must-Have Statements

Putting unreasonable expectations on ourselves.

Magnification and Minimization

Magnifying the positives in others, while discounting your own.

Jumping to Conclusions

Assuming we know what will happen, without evidence to support it.

Two types:

  • Mind Reading: Assuming we know what someone else is thinking or what their rationale is behind their behavior.

  • Predictive Thinking: Predicting outcomes usually overestimating negative emotions or experiences.

Maram Barakat, M.A., is currently pursuing her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology at Fairleigh Dickinson University. She has a master's degree in Clinical Psychology from Teachers College, Columbia University, with a special focus on global mental health and research methods. She is primarily interested in providing access to quality mental health services in low-to-middle income countries and vulnerable populations. She is especially passionate about working with survivors of abuse and violence. In fact, she has integrated her passion with her academic interests by focusing her master's thesis on culturally adapting and implementing cognitive processing therapy to Syrian refugee women who have experienced sexual violence during and post-displacement. Maram has worked as a mental health professional and advocate in Lebanon, Uganda, and New York for the past six years. At the Lukin Center, Maram will be taking on the role of social media manager. Her main responsibilities entail managing and monitoring the center's social media platforms, creating content, increasing engagement, and more. Apart from her professional interests, she enjoys acting, karaoke, and extreme sports.

Lukin Center for Psychotherapy, Bergen County Moms

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60 Grand Avenue, Suite 104 | Englewood, NJ 07631 | (201) 403-1284

80 River Street, Suite 302 | Hoboken, NJ 07030 | (917) 903-1901

277 Grove Street, Suite 202 | Jersey City, NJ 07302 | (201) 577-8124

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