A coaching client of mine has started using this form as she’s having negative/unhelpful thoughts more often than she’d like, and it affects her mood, so she’s resolved to come up with a more helpful alternative when this happens, and write it down as per this process. Actually writing things down can help to provide clarity, motivation and a commitment to act if we want to start dealing with unhelpful thoughts.
The middle section, knowing what kind of ‘thinking error’ is involved – e.g. Catastrophising; Mind-reading; Personalisation; Jumping to conclusions; Using ‘ultimatum’ words – just provides us with extra clarifying information.
I’ll mention again here how it’s good to remember that thoughts are just words (or images) in our minds, they’re not facts, they’re often just judgments or opinions, about ourselves perhaps, and that there are alternative views.
This is what we’re looking to achieve by using this form: noticing/identifying that I’m having an unhelpful thought; letting it go; coming up with a more balanced response to ultimately provide more helpful feelings.
The process can encourage us to gain some distance if we can be aware of and observe our usual, automatic reactions, when we find ourselves getting ‘worked up’, or gloomy – bringing to mind for me this quote from Viktor Frankl, the celebrated Austrian psychiatrist and psychotherapist, and Holocaust survivor: “Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.”
If you’d like a downloadable copy of the form, just let me know.