• iCNS

Thoughts During COVID-19

By Omar Husain, MA, LCDC, LPC-Intern

Supervised by Michael S. Moyer, LPC-S

During these times of uncertainty in the COVID-19 pandemic, we may find our thoughts racing. We are concerned about our jobs, about our families, about our health, about our country, and the list goes on. All kinds of thoughts may enter our minds. Cognitive-behavioral theory (CBT) speaks extensively about the types of thoughts that may occur in our minds. In this post, we will talk about some of the distorted patterns of thinking we may fall victim to. To improve any situation, it is crucial to first understand the problem. If we don’t understand the problem, how can we provide a solution? If one wants to lose weight, they first have to understand that they have a weight problem. If they remain in denial or do not accept that they have a problem, then they will never be able to lose any weight. Similarly, to better help us cope with this pandemic, we need to first recognize our thought patterns before dealing with them.

Some distorted thought patterns

Distorted Thoughts

Catastrophizing-We assume the future will be disastrous. No other outcome is ever considered.

  • “I will become infected with COVID-19. We will never return to normal, and I will lose my job.”

Discounting the positive-Positive news is easily dismissed as if it is not valid. It simply does not count.

  • Thousands of people have recovered from COVID-19, but this is seldom mentioned by anyone.

Emotional Reasoning-Due to the emotional investment in an idea, it must be true. Even if other facts are presented which prove it to be incorrect.

  • An individual believes everything they read by their friends on social media or the news, even if it is not mentioned by the CDC or other credible authorities.

Mind Reading-Believing we know exactly what will happen.

  • The mayor is going to shut down the city! The president is going to shut down the country! These statements are uttered, despite no evidence.

In the next blog post, we will discuss some ways to cope with distorted thinking,, and provide solutions to overcome these patters. In the meantime, make a list like the one above and see what kinds of thoughts you have had during COVID-19. Try this activity with friends and family members.


Murdock, N. L. (2013). Theories of counseling and psychotherapy: A case approach (3rd ed.). Pearson

Beck, J. S. (2011). Cognitive therapy: Basics and beyond (2nd ed., pp. 181-182). Guilford Press


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