A cornerstone of cognitive behavioral therapy is that an individual’s interpretation of an event determines how they feel and behave. We all experience a stream of ‘automatic thoughts’ of which, much of the time, we may be unaware or which we accept unquestioningly. Cognitive restructuring describes the process by which individuals can be trained to change the way that they think – one traditional approach is that thoughts can be examined for bias or inaccuracy and then replaced with more balanced thoughts. Challenging Your Negative Thinking is a Psychology Tools guide to cognitive restructuring. It is written for clients who want to develop their CBT skills and can be used as an in-session or extra-therapeutic resource. Sections include: understanding why thoughts can cause us problems, knowing how to record your automatic thoughts, learning ways of challenging your negative thinking.
This is a Psychology Tools guide. Suggested uses include:
- Client handout – use as a psychoeducation and skills-development resource
- Discussion point – use to provoke a discussion and explore client beliefs
- Therapist learning tool – improve your familiarity with a psychological construct
- Teaching resource – use as a learning tool during training
Beck, A.T., Rush, A.J., Shaw, B.F., & Emery, G. (1979). Cognitive therapy of depression. New York: Guilford.