You have to know where you are to know where you’re going, so we’re going to spend this first week noticing and tracking automatic thoughts. This might seem a little mundane, but it is important. The thing about these automatic thoughts is that they are so automatic they go by without us giving them much attention. Have you ever “jumped to a conclusion”? From the CBT perspective, that was an automatic thought passing you by.
Bonus question: when you jumped to that conclusion, were you right? I’ll assume your answer was a “no”, at least for some of these jumped-to conclusions. That’s the crux of where were we’re going with all this.
Click through the slides below and notice what the first thing you think is.
Congratulations! You’re noticing automatic thoughts
The thought record is a classic CBT tool meant to get you in the flow of catching thoughts. For this week, we’re going to spend a little time every day reflecting on automatic thoughts we’ve noticed with a Thought Record. Then, when those thoughts are caught, the task is to see if you can come up with an alternate thought. These alternate thoughts are usually in the form of the opposite of what the automatic thought was. Next week, we’ll spend time understanding how to make these alternate thoughts a little more automatic (if we judge them to be “better” thoughts – more on that next week too).
Here’s an example: