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Emotional Reasoning Cognitive Distortion Handout

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Emotional reasoning is a cognitive distortion where clients believe that their feelings reflect reality even without factual evidence to support these feelings. As you can tell, in this thought pattern, emotions are what shape a client’s thoughts. Common themes associated with emotional reasoning include anxiety, sadness, guilt, and fear — all of which stem from involuntary negative thoughts.

The Emotional Reasoning cognitive distortion handout is designed for clients to understand what this thought pattern entails, the ways it manifests, and strategies to stop it. Our handout incorporates relevant icons to reinforce key messages.

As kids and teens use this handout, they can learn to achieve a balanced approach between emotional and logical reasoning. In that case, let them read our DBT Wise Mind handout so they can better understand how the Wise Mind works.

Our CBT Handouts Bundle is a helpful collection of resources that includes the Emotional Reasoning handout and multiple other handouts to support CBT treatment.

*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. Arntz, A., Rauner, M., & Van Den Hout, M. (1995). “If I feel anxious, there must be danger”: Ex-consequentia reasoning in inferring danger in anxiety disorders. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 33(8), 917–925. https://doi.org/10.1016/0005-7967(95)00032-s
  2. Gangemi, A., Dahò, M., & Mancini, F. (2021). Emotional reasoning and psychopathology. Brain Sciences, 11(4), 471. https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci11040471
  3. Jung, N. H., Wranke, C., Hamburger, K., & Knauff, M. (2014). How emotions affect logical reasoning: evidence from experiments with mood-manipulated participants, spider phobics, and people with exam anxiety. Frontiers in Psychology, 5. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2014.00570
  4. Muris, P., Merckelbach, H., Schepers, S., & Meesters, C. (2003). Anxiety, threat perception abnormalities, and emotional reasoning in nonclinical Dutch children. Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology, 32(3), 453–459. https://doi.org/10.1207/s15374424jccp3203_13
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  • File: PDF
  • Size: 8.5" x 11"

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