Tag Archives: Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy – Cognitive Journaling Using the ABC Model

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) has many different interventions including Cognitive Journaling using the “ABC Model ” or a variation of the model where we include the letter “D” for Disputing.

Disputing is just an alternative belief that would lead to healthier consequences.

Please look at our previous posts for a brief overview of CBT and a brief explanation of the “ABC Model”.

Below is an outline on the basic elements in Cognitive Journaling.

Activating Event

1. The situation. Briefly describe the situation that led to your unpleasant feelings. This will help you remember it later if you want to review your notes.

2. Initial thought. What thought first crossed your mind? This was probably a subconscious or automatic thought that you have had before.


1. Negative thinking. Identify the negative thinking behind your initial thought. Choose one or more from the list of common types of negative thinking.

2. Source of negative belief. Can you trace your thinking back to a situation or person? Is there a deep belief or fear driving your thinking? Search your heart.


1. Consider the consequences. What are the short-term and long-term consequences if you continue to think like this? Look at the physical, psychological, professional, and emotional consequences.


1. Challenge your thinking. Look at the evidence both for and against your thinking. Have you been in a similar situation before? What did you learn from it? What strengths do you bring to this situation? Make sure you see the whole picture.

2. Alternative thinking. The previous steps of the thought record helped you understand your thinking and lower your defenses. Now that you’ve considered the facts, write down a healthier way of thinking.

3. Positive belief and affirmation. Write down a statement that reflects your healthier beliefs. Find something that you can repeat to yourself.

4. Action plan. What action can you take to support your new thinking?

5. Improvement. Do you feel slightly better or more optimistic? This step reinforces the idea that if you change your thinking, you will change your mood. Gradually over time, your thinking and life will begin to improve.

Example of how a Cognitive Journal worksheet may look like:

Cognitive Journal

Cognitive Journal PIC

This thought record template is a variation of a public service provided by www.CognitiveTherapyGuide.org. It can be printed without restrictions. For a more complete guide to cognitive therapy refer to the book “I Want to Change My Life” by Dr. Steven M. Melemis. This handout may complement the work you do with your doctor or therapist, but should only be used in combination with professional guidance.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy – The ABC Model

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy may be explained using the ABC Model or a variation of the model where we include the letter “D” for Disputing.. This model teach us that our beliefs/thoughts leads to how we feel and what we do.

Activating Event – the actual event and the client’s immediate interpretations of the event

Beliefs about the event – this evaluation can be rational or irrational.

Consequences – how you feel and what you do or other thoughts

Disputing – alternative belief that would lead to healthier consequences.


Please look for our next post on how to do a Cognitive Journal using the ABC Model.

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) – Brief Overview

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is an evidence-based psychotherapeutic treatment that addresses maladaptive coping skills, cognitions, emotions and behaviors through a number of goal-oriented systematic procedures. Common features of CBT procedures are the focus on the “here and now”, a directive or guidance role of the therapist, a structuring of the psychotherapy sessions and path, and on alleviating both symptoms and patients’ vulnerability.
CBT is thought to be effective for the treatment of a variety of conditions, including mood, anxiety, personality, eating,substance abuse, tic, and psychotic disorders.
CBT assumes that changing maladaptive thinking leads to change in affect and behavior. CBT techniques help individuals challenge their patterns and beliefs and replace maladaptive thoughts such as overgeneralizing, magnifying negatives, minimizing positives and catastrophizing with more realistic and effective thoughts, thus decreasing emotional distress and self-defeating behavior or to take a more open, mindful, and aware posture toward them so as to diminish their impact.
CBT may refer to different interventions, including “self-instructions (e.g. distraction, imagery, motivational self-talk), relaxation and/or biofeedback, development of adaptive coping strategies (e.g. minimizing negative or self-defeating thoughts), changing maladaptive beliefs about pain, and goal setting.