Repetitive Thought (Rumination and Worry)
Disorders That Are Associated with Rumination and Worry
- generalized anxiety disorder (GAD)
- social anxiety
- post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- eating disorders
Helpful Questions for Assessing Rumination and Worry
- How often do you find yourself ruminating or dwelling on your problems?
- When do you tend to do most of your worrying or ruminating?
- What are the consequences of ruminating and worrying for you? How does it make you feel?
- Are there any particular feelings that are warning signs that you might worry?
- What tends to stop your ruminating?
Treatment Approaches That Target Rumination and Worry
A variety of treatment approaches have been identified that target rumination and worry. These include:
- approaching uncomfortable thoughts and feelings rather than avoiding them;
- imaginal exposure to a ‘worry script’ or ‘worry story’;
- problem-solving training;
- processing information at a more concrete and less abstract level;
- identifying and challenging positive and negative metacognitive beliefs that may contribute to repetitive thinking.
Harvey, A. G., Watkins, E., Mansell, W., & Shafran, R. (2004). Cognitive behavioural processes across psychological disorders: A transdiagnostic approach to research and treatment. New York: Oxford University Press.
Watkins, E. R. (2016). Rumination-focused cognitive-behavioral therapy for depression. New York: Guilford Press.
- Ruminating thought worksheet
- Rumination – from trap to trac download archived copy
- 11 steps to stop ruminating download archived copy
- Dealing with worry in low intensity CBT | Chellingsworth, Farrand, Rayson | 2013 download archived copy
- The how and why of rumination and worry | Watkins |2012
- Targeting rumination by changing processing style: experiential and Imagery exercises | Watkins | 2011
- Watkins, E. R. (2008). Constructive and unconstructive repetitive thought. Psychological Bulletin, 134(2), 163-206 download
- Watkins, E. R. (2009). Depressive Rumination and Co-Morbidity: Evidence for Brooding as a Transdiagnostic Process. Journal of Rational-Emotive Cognitive Behaviour Therapy, 27, 160-175 download
- Watkins, E. R. (2016). Rumination-focused cognitive-behavioral therapy for depression. Guilford Publications.