a tool: alternative thought record

cognitive therapies, which focus on examining and “repairing” one’s thoughts, are often seen as the best way to deal with depression. while i believe that the tools that cognitive therapies provides are just one among many ways to help with depression, they can nevertheless be quite useful. so here is a tool from this tool box – enjoy it!

i’ll post it in two postings – the first is the “recipe”, and the one i’ll post tomorrow is an example of an application. (and thanks to depression forums for providing this tool).

alternative thought record

situation: describe an event or situation, that occurred within the last few
hours, or days at the most, in which you experienced emotional distress.

when did it happen?
who was involved?
where did it happen?
what happened?

feelings: describe the feelings that arose at that time. rate the intensity of your feelings from 0-100%.

automatic thoughts: list one or two of the most intense thoughts or images that you had at the time of the event.

cognitive traps or distortions: examine your thoughts and images
to see if there are cognitive distortions (cognitive traps are distorted thoughts such as all-or-nothing thinking, should statements and blaming)

alternative thought: describe an alternative, balanced way of thinking about this event. notice the cognitive distortions in your original thinking, and create a new statement that balances or eliminates those distortions.

rate the intensity of you feelings now, from 0-100%.

tomorrow: an application of this tool.

take care!

isabella mori
counselling in vancouver

5 thoughts on “a tool: alternative thought record

  1. Pingback: alternative thought records, pt II » change therapy - isabella mori

  2. Pingback: alternative thought records, pt II » change therapy - isabella mori

  3. isabella mori

    hi sonia, thanks for visiting.

    many clinicians say that cognitive-behavioural therapy, which typically employs such tools as the alternative thought record, is the best therapy for depression.

    while i wouldn’t go that far – in my observation, there is no one best method, there is no one-size-fits-all treatment – i would say that tools like the alternative thought record can be a very valuable part of dealing with depression.

    you just mentioned it yourself – for you, it works for fear. for many people, fear and anxiety are a big part of the experience of depression. if the fear can be alleviated, at least this part of the depression can be reduced.

  4. isabella mori

    hi sonia, thanks for visiting.

    many clinicians say that cognitive-behavioural therapy, which typically employs such tools as the alternative thought record, is the best therapy for depression.

    while i wouldn’t go that far – in my observation, there is no one best method, there is no one-size-fits-all treatment – i would say that tools like the alternative thought record can be a very valuable part of dealing with depression.

    you just mentioned it yourself – for you, it works for fear. for many people, fear and anxiety are a big part of the experience of depression. if the fear can be alleviated, at least this part of the depression can be reduced.

  5. Sonja

    Thanks for the feedback Isabella.

    I told my 11 year old neighbor of this “trick” (kids love the word “trick”) when she went on her first flight…overseas at that. She was afraid.

    When she came back, she even came over and told me it worked; it helped her.

    Sonja’s last blog post..Sunday Is The Last Day For This Special!

  6. Sonja

    Thanks for the feedback Isabella.

    I told my 11 year old neighbor of this “trick” (kids love the word “trick”) when she went on her first flight…overseas at that. She was afraid.

    When she came back, she even came over and told me it worked; it helped her.

    Sonja’s last blog post..Sunday Is The Last Day For This Special!

  7. Pingback: [INFP] How do INFPs deal with LOSS?

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