Is it possible to change your thoughts? What are cognitive distortions? How can harnessing the power of intentional thought help you to heal yourself? In this podcast episode, Dr. Cristina Castagnini speaks about how you can change your reality by harnessing and healing distorted thoughts.


  • Who do you listen to?
  • How can CBT be helpful?
  • Common cognitive distortions
  • Basic CBT principles

Who do you listen to?

You can have many conflicting thoughts at a singular time in different moments throughout the day, and one event can produce a hundred different thoughts and reactions – which one(s) do you listen to?
It’s like being in a room filled with thousands of people who are all talking to us at once, and we choose to only listen to a select few, giving our attention and focus only to [those] thoughts and opinions. (Dr. Cristina Castagnini)
Even though each thought is (seemingly) random, why do you choose to listen to the ones that you do? And, if you wanted, could you decide to listen to some and ignore others?
We tend to … focus on certain thoughts that we have and if they are faulty or distorted, then that [becomes] our perception of reality. (Dr. Cristina Castagnini)
Your thoughts have a direct impact on how you feel and the behaviors that you act on.

How can CBT be helpful?

Thoughts are often called cognitions because they are the workings of the mind as it tries to make sense of the world, like a cog turning to make a machine work. If these cogs – cognitions – are faulty, then the whole machine changes. You can change your cognitions to upgrade the machine, your mind, and change your perception of reality. Cognitive-behavioral therapy is a way in which you can do that.
The good news is that you can become aware of your thoughts (or cognitions) and by doing this you can identify if you have cognitive distortions and start to identify how these distortions are affecting your feelings and behaviors. (Dr. Cristina Castagnini)

Common cognitive distortions

Some common cognitive distortions that people who have suffered – or are suffering – from an eating disorder may have experienced include:
  • Shoulds: “shoulds” are demands that someone puts on themselves
  • Catastrophizing: expecting disaster to strike and the worst possible outcome each time
  • All or nothing thinking: not giving yourself a middle ground and feeling like you have to be perfect or you are a failure
  • Emotional reasoning: “if I feel that way then it must be true”, when a person’s emotions take over their thinking entirely and negate all rationality and logic

Basic CBT principles

Every ED thought is distorted, which is why I wanted to discuss this today. Eating disorders are severe illnesses that [can] take over your entire mind. (Dr. Cristina Castagnini)
You can reclaim your thoughts and change your reality. Some basic CBT principles include: 1 – Cultivating a basic awareness of your thoughts without judgment or critique 2 – Labeling which thoughts are distorted 3 – Intentionally choosing which thought to believe for the highest, healthiest, and most compassionate outcome



I am a licensed Psychologist and Certified Eating Disorder Specialist. While I may have over 20 years of clinical experience, what I also have is the experience of having been a patient who had an eating disorder as well. One thing that I never had during all of my treatment was someone who could look me in the eye and honestly say to me "hey, I've been there. I understand". Going through treatment for an eating disorder is one of the hardest and scariest things to do. I remember being asked to do things that scared me. Things I now know ultimately helped me to get better. But, at the time, I had serious doubts and fears about it. If even one of my providers had been able to tell me "I know it's scary, but I had to go through that part too. Here's what will probably happen...." then perhaps I would not have gone in and out of treatment so many times. My own experience ultimately led me to specialize in treating eating disorders. I wanted to be the therapist I never had; the one who "got it". I will be giving you my perspective and information as an expert and clinician who has been treating patients for over 2 decades. But don't just take my word for it...keep listening to hear the truly informative insights and knowledge guest experts have to share. I am so happy you are here!


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