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Cognitive Restructuring: Thoughts on Trial

Putting Thoughts on Trial is a CBT activity focused on the examination of irrational thoughts. Your client will act as a defense attorney, prosecutor, and judge, as they compare evidence for and against a single thought. Like in a real court of law, only verifiable facts are admissible as evidence. Opinions, assumptions, and conjecture are not allowed.

The thought trial exercise is valuable because your clients will examine their thought from multiple perspectives, in a fair and rational manner. As the therapist, you can aid the process by challenging evidence that you believe breaks the rules, and presenting evidence that your client has missed.

This activity requires that your client has a basic understanding of CBT and the cognitive behavioral model. To learn more about the thought trial activity, check out our cognitive restructuring guide.

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