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

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