Leone Centre Glossary



Catastrophising is a cognitive distortion where individuals imagine and believe that the worst possible outcome will happen, even when it is highly unlikely. In the context of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), addressing this thought pattern is vital for improving mental health.

Common Challenges

  1. Individuals experiencing heightened anxiety and stress
  2. Difficulty in managing daily activities due to pervasive negative thoughts
  3. Struggling with a realistic assessment of situations

Key Insights into Catastrophising

Catastrophising involves magnifying an event’s potential negative impact, leading to distress. In CBT, this thought pattern is identified and restructured to create a more balanced perspective. Addressing catastrophising helps individuals:

  1. Reduce anxiety and stress
  2. Improve decision-making and problem-solving abilities
  3. Improve overall mental wellbeing

Features and Benefits

  1. Identifies irrational thoughts
  2. Promotes balanced thinking
  3. Improves emotional regulation

Convenience and Flexibility

CBT techniques to address catastrophising can be practised in various settings, including therapy sessions, at home, or even during daily activities.

Learn More

For further information on managing cognitive distortions, get in touch with the Leone Centre.

How it Works

Therapists guide individuals through exercises to identify and reframe catastrophic thoughts. Techniques include cognitive restructuring, mindfulness, and behavioural experiments.

What is Catastrophising?

Catastrophising is the tendency to predict and focus on the worst possible outcomes of a situation, often leading to heightened anxiety and stress.

How CBT Helps

CBT addresses catastrophising by helping individuals recognise and challenge their irrational thoughts, replacing them with more balanced and realistic ones.


What causes catastrophising?
Catastrophising can be influenced by various factors, including past experiences, personality traits, and underlying mental health conditions.
How does CBT address catastrophising?
CBT helps individuals identify irrational thoughts, challenge their validity, and replace them with more balanced thinking patterns.
Can catastrophising be completely eliminated?
While it may not be entirely eliminated, individuals can learn to manage and reduce the frequency and impact of catastrophic thoughts through CBT techniques.


  1. Psychology Today – Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
  2. National Center for Biotechnology Information – Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
  3. Mind UK – Anxiety and Panic Attacks
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This glossary provides definitions of various counselling terms and approaches for informational purposes only, without implying endorsement or service provision