We aimed to delineate key constructs from two forms of cognitive-behavioral therapy: cognitive therapy and rational-emotive behavior therapy. Furthermore, we aimed to investigate the interrelations among each other and with emotional distress. The key constructs of the underlying theories of these therapies (i.e., descriptive/inferential beliefs, evaluative beliefs) are often treated together as distorted cognitions and included as such in various scales. We used a cross-sectional design. Seventy-four undergraduate students (mean age = 24.68) completed measures of automatic thoughts and emotional distress. Three therapists trained in cognitive-behavioral therapy divided automatic thoughts into descriptive/inferential beliefs and evaluative beliefs by consensus. Correlation and mediation analyses were performed. These constructs showed medium to high associations to each other and to distress. The relationship between descriptive/inferential beliefs and distress was mediated by evaluative beliefs. Descriptive and inferential cognitions may not produce emotions without first being appraised in terms of personal relevance.