“Cognitive distortions” refer to the ways in which thought patterns distort when a person is under stress. A therapist can help you identify specific thought distortions that might occur when you are under external stress (such as during an argument with a loved one), or under internal stress (such as coping with anxiety or depression). This is an important component to what is known as cognitive-behavioral therapy. The “cognitive” part of this kind of therapy will help you learn about your thought patterns, and over time learn how you can change these patterns to begin to feel better. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (or CBT for short) is one of the most effective treatments for anxiety disorders such as generalized anxiety, panic disorder, anxiety attacks, phobias, obsessive-compulsive disorder, etc. It can also be used to improve stress management and help couples resolve conflicts more effectively.