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Fact or Opinion

Facts are verifiable statements. They are supported by evidence and can be agreed upon. Opinions are personal interpretations of facts, which differ from person to person. For example, it is a fact that the sky is blue, and an opinion that the weather is beautiful.

During cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), it is important to separate facts from opinions. When treated as fact, harmful opinions such as “I am a bad person” may contribute to depression, anxiety, and other problems.

It's common for a narrow fact to evolve into a broad opinion. For example, the fact “I had an argument with my spouse” may lead to the opinion “My spouse hates me.” Teaching clients to spot the difference between fact and opinion is a helpful tool for challenging irrational beliefs. When a person recognizes that a belief is only an opinion, the power of the belief is diminished, and they are able to examine other evidence.

The Fact or Opinion worksheet includes psychoeducation and practice. In the practice section, your client will read 15 statements and mark each one as “fact” or “opinion.” We suggest using this handout during CBT for work related to cognitive restructuring and cognitive distortions. This exercise can also help improve the quality of thought records by properly identifying the facts of a situation.

This activity was made to encourage discussion, so a "right/wrong" answer sheet is not included. When responses differ, use this as an opportunity to dig deeper and explore.

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Alternate languages: Spanish
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