Thought Record – Extended

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In a Thought Record, all events, thoughts, feelings and consequences that a person experiences during the day are recorded.

What is a Thought Record for?

 The Thought Record is a tool that can be used to find out which (unconscious or automatic) thoughts cause a certain event to evoke certain feelings in you. These feelings lead to certain behaviors, and in turn these behaviours have consequences.

Explanation “Event schedule”

Have you recently experienced an unpleasant event or situation? It can help to write down how you experienced it and how you can deal with it next time. You can do this based on these four questions.

An example:

  Unpleasant situation Alternative
 Event Describe the moment in which you had the unpleasant feeling. (Tip: keep it short!)

I was walking alone when I saw someone I knew on her bike. I waved at her but she just cycled past me.

Describe the moment in which you had the unpleasant feeling. (Tip: keep it short!) I was walking alone when I saw someone I knew on her bike. I waved at her but she just cycled past me.
Thoughts Describe the immediate thought(s) that preceded this feeling.

She’s angry at me. She doesn’t like me anymore. I am worthless.

Helpful thoughts

She may not have seen me. It was also quite far away and she had to watch the traffic.

Feelings How did you feel and how strong was this feeling?

Sad, ashamed, and insecure.

How did your feelings change?
I don’t feel bad about it anymore.
Behaviour What did you do? How did you react?

I looked down and quickly walked home.

What can I do differently?

I will send her a message that I saw her and waved.

Consequences What consequence did this have?

I cried and didn’t dare to speak to her again, because my insecurities had been confirmed.

 

Desired consequence:

I don’t feel ignored and can just carry on as normal. There is nothing wrong.

How do I fill out a Thought Record?

  1. Event: be as specific and objective as possible, you want it to be a description of the facts.
  2. Thoughts: the dialogue in your head (ideas, fantasies, prejudices, values)
  3. Feelings: can also be physical (scared, angry, sad, happy)
  4. Consequences: what did I do? What did I not do? What did others do or not?

Tip: thoughts are not always easy to be aware of as they are often automatic. In addition, they are often difficult to distinguish from feelings. So, try to pay extra attention to this. A tip to learn to make this distinction is that thoughts are experienced inside your head, while feelings are sensations. For example, during a robbery I thought I would not survive, and I felt very anxious about this. This was evident from my body language; I was stiff and sweating a lot. In this case, the thought is: I don’t think I’m going to survive. The feeling is: I feel anxious.

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