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Automatic Thoughts

Teach clients to recognize and challenge their automatic thoughts with this CBT worksheet. Automatic thoughts are what they sound like: Thoughts that a person has automatically in response to a trigger, often outside of that person's conscious awareness. When associated with mental illness, these thoughts are often irrational and harmful. An important goal during CBT will be to identify and then dismantle these thoughts.

The text reads: "Our thoughts control how we feel about ourselves and the world around us. Positive thoughts lead to us feeling good and negative thoughts can put us down. Sometimes our thoughts happen so quickly that we fail to notice them, but they can still affect our mood. These are called automatic thoughts. Oftentimes, our automatic thoughts are negative and irrational. Identifying these negative automatic thoughts and replacing them with new rational thoughts can improve our mood."

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1. Beck, J. S. (2011). Cognitive behavior therapy: Basics and beyond (2nd ed.). New York, NY, US: Guilford Press.

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