If you are bothered by specific negative thoughts, they can often feel like reality. For example, you may be convinced that you have a brain disorder or colon cancer. But are your own beliefs always correct? Using the two-column technique, you will line up evidence both for and against the negative thought or belief to examine whether your belief is correct.
You can perform the two-column technique in NiceDay by creating a new diary entry and going through the following steps. If you find it difficult, you can do it with the help of your professional at first.
- Step 1: First of all, it is important to investigate which thought or belief you want to challenge. Write down this belief. Assign a percentage to how credible you find the belief. For example: I have colon cancer. The credibility is 90%.
- Step 2: Write down the headings ‘Evidence pro and ‘Evidence con’.
- Step 3: Come up with evidence both for and against the belief and write all of it down.
- Step 4: Have you written down all the evidence? Determine how much weight each piece of evidence has by using asterisks (*, ** or ***); the more asterisks, the heavier the evidence. For example: I have cramps ***.
- Step 5: Evaluate the columns and evidence you have collected. What is your perspective now? What is the ratio of pro evidence and con evidence?
- Step 6: Review the original negative belief and indicate whether the credibility of this belief has dropped. For example: I have colon cancer. The credibility has dropped to 45%.
- Step 7: Finally, you can further challenge your thoughts (for example, with the help of a Thought Record) and come up with less unpleasant and less catastrophic thoughts. Of course, you can also choose to further challenge this with the help of your professional.
Keijsers, G. P. J., Van Minnen, A., Verbraak, M., Hoogduin, C. A. L. & Emmelkamp, P., (2017). Protocollaire behandelingen voor volwassenen met psychische klachten.