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Catastrophic Thinking


People who grieve sometimes respond to “normal events” with catastrophic thinking, a psychological term used to describe when a small event provokes thoughts of a dire conclusion.

Your daughter is late, so you fear she has been in an accident. You feel a pain and suddenly you know it is cancer. Your son looks sad, so you suspect dangerous depression.

Catastrophic thinking may feel crazy, but it is not. Your mind is trying to adjust to a loss — a psychological shock — that has occurred. Be as patient and compassionate with your mind as you would be with a physical injury. It is a normal experience in an abnormal time.

Identify this kind of thinking when it happens. Doing so will help you pull out of the story you are creating. Redirect your thoughts to the present “what is” rather than the fearful “what if.”

CLICK HERE to purchase a copy of my book “Getting Grief Right.”


Getting Grief Right

by Dr. Patrick O'Malley

A masterpiece that will touch your heart and soul with healing powers. • A compassionate, wise, and practical guide • A must read for anyone who is grieving the loss of a loved one.


Grief Therapist

Dr. Patrick O’Malley is a psychotherapist in Fort Worth, Texas, who specializes in grief counseling. For 40 years, he has counseled individuals, couples and families
in his private practice.


Getting Grief Right

by Dr. Patrick O'Malley

By the time Mary came to see me, six months after losing her daughter to sudden infant death syndrome, she had hired and fired two other therapists. She was trying to get her grief right...

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