This Court Trial Thought Challenging Record is designed to help clients to challenge their negative automatic thoughts. It uses the metaphor of a court trial, with a defense barrister (defending the truthfulness of the negative thought) and a prosecution barrister (attempting to undermine the truthfulness of the negative thought). Once clients have examined a thought from these perspectives they are encouraged to give a verdict (generate a balanced thought which fairly and dispassionately represents all of the evidence presented).
- In the first box (Put your thought in the dock) clients are encouraged to identify a specific negative thought that has been troubling them.
- In the second box (Defense) clients should be directed to identify any evidence which supports the truthfulness of the negative thought. They should be encouraged to take the perspective of a defense barrister whose job it is to convince the jury that the negative thought is true.
- In the third box (Prosecution) clients should be directed to take the perspective of a prosecution barrister, whose job it is to undermine the credibility of the negative thought, and to present evidence which supports alternative points of view.
- The fourth box (Jury) explains that the jury’s job is to dispassionately consider the evidence that has been presented.
- The fifth box (Verdict) encourages clients to reconsider their negative thought in light of the evidence presented by the defense and prosecution.
- Beck, A.T., Rush, A.J., Shaw, B.F., & Emery, G. (1979). Cognitive therapy of depression. New York: Guilford.