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Blaming Cognitive Distortion (PDF)

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Blaming or externalizing is a cognitive distortion that involves attributing responsibility for negative outcomes, mistakes, or feelings to other people rather than oneself. Research shows that individuals with depression are more likely to externalize responsibility and that they may focus more on their current emotions instead of addressing underlying issues.

The Blaming Cognitive Distortion handout provides helpful information for clients to recognize instances where they engage in this thought pattern. It also offers concrete examples to show how blaming manifests in different situations. Finally, clients learn strategies to stop blaming others, such as finding solutions to problems and journaling.

Becoming aware of blaming is the first step to changing their mindset and resolving conflict in healthier ways. When helping kids and teens practice journaling to overcome blaming, provide them with relevant journaling prompts. An example would be, “Recall a situation where you blamed someone else. How did they react? What could you have done differently?”

The opposite of Blaming is Personalization, and both of these handouts can be found in our CBT Handouts Bundle, which includes 19 total handouts covering various CBT topics.

*This item is an instant digital download. A link to download your files will be emailed to you once payment is confirmed.

Want more resources like this? Check out our full catalog of CBT worksheets and handouts.


  1. Kaufmann, M., Quirin, M., & Baumann, N. (2022). Blaming others: Individual differences in self-projection. Personality and Individual Differences, 196, 111721. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.paid.2022.111721
  2. Koolen, S., Poorthuis, A. M. G., & Van Aken, M. a. G. (2011). Cognitive Distortions and Self-Regulatory Personality Traits Associated with Proactive and Reactive Aggression in Early Adolescence. Cognitive Therapy and Research, 36(6), 776–787. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10608-011-9407-6
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  • File: PDF
  • Size: 8.5" x 11"

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