Leone Centre Glossary

Thought Records

Thought Records

Thought records are a key tool in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT). They help individuals identify and evaluate their thoughts. They are particularly useful for addressing the challenges people face in recognising cognitive distortions that may be influencing their emotions and behaviours.

Thought records are structured worksheets used in CBT to track thoughts, emotions, and behaviours. They typically include sections for recording situations, the automatic thoughts that arise, the emotions felt, evidence supporting and against the thoughts, and more balanced or rational thoughts. This process helps individuals to critically examine their thought patterns and develop healthier cognitive habits.

The importance of thought records lies in their ability to uncover and challenge irrational or negative thought patterns, leading to more balanced thinking and improved emotional well-being.

About Thought Records

Thought records are a key component of CBT, designed to help individuals track and explore their thoughts and feelings in a structured way. By writing down their thoughts, individuals can identify patterns and triggers, which is the first step towards modifying negative thought processes.

How They Help

Using thought records, individuals can gain insight into the connections between their thoughts, emotions, and behaviours. This awareness is key to challenging and changing unhelpful thought patterns, reducing distress, and creating a more positive outlook.

How They Work

The process of completing a thought record typically involves the following steps:

  1. Describe the situation or event that triggered the thoughts.
  2. Identify and record the automatic thoughts that arose in response.
  3. Note the emotions and intensity associated with these thoughts.
  4. Evaluate the evidence supporting and contradicting the automatic thoughts.
  5. Generate more balanced, rational thoughts based on the evidence.
  6. Re-rate the emotions’ intensity based on the new, balanced thoughts.


What are thought records used for in CBT?
Thought records are used to track and evaluate automatic thoughts, helping individuals identify and change cognitive distortions contributing to emotional distress.
How often should thought records be completed?
Thought records can be completed as often as needed, particularly when an individual experiences significant distress or is working on changing specific thought patterns.
Can thought records be used outside of therapy sessions?
Yes, thought records are a valuable tool that can be used independently outside of therapy sessions to reinforce skills learned in CBT.
What are cognitive distortions?
Cognitive distortions are irrational or exaggerated thought patterns that can contribute to emotional distress. Thought records help individuals identify and challenge these distortions.
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This glossary provides definitions of various counselling terms and approaches for informational purposes only, without implying endorsement or service provision