7 column thought record (A guide +PDF)

This blogspot will answer the question “what is a 7 column thought record?”. It will be enlisting the 7 columns of a 7 column thought record and elaborate each column in detail that is applied for challenging thoughts in cognitive behavior therapy . It will also discuss each column with an example.

What is a 7 column thought record?

A 7 column thought record is used in cognitive behavior therapy as a thought challenging intervention. It is based on a table that includes 7 different columns.

A 7 column thought record includes the following columns:

  • Situation
  • Emotion
  • Automatic thought
  • Evidence that supports the automatic thought
  • Evidence that is against the automatic thought
  • Alternate thought
  • Outcomes (re-rate emotion)

Situation (the first column of 7 column thought record)

The thought record sheets are usually made in response to a triggering event or a situation. A 7 column thought records sheet’s first column’s situation. A situation column is based on mentioning the details about “when did the situation happen”, “where did the situation happen”, “what made the situation happen”, “why did the situation happen” and “how did the situation happen?”. 

The individual coming for cognitive behavior therapy fills in the details of the triggering event in the situation column and writes all the necessary information regarding the unpleasant incident.

For example, a student might write about getting up late in the morning on test day due to discharged mobile and shouting on his mother for not taking care of mobile charging and all the possible negative outcomes that might occur due to getting late from school.

Emotion (the second column of 7 column thought record)

The second column of a 7 column thought record sheet is based on emotions about the situation. In this column an individual coming for cognitive behavior therapy tends to write about the various feelings that the individual came across as a result of triggering events.

The individual writes about all the pleasant and unpleasant feelings that occurred in response to the situation and mentions the intensity of the emotions.

For example, the kid getting late from school on a test day might feel fearful and anxious. For a moment he might feel being a failure and thus feel confused and irritated. 

Automatic thought (the third column of 7 column thought record)

In the third column of the 7 column automatic thought record sheet the individual records all the negative automatic thoughts that result in response to the triggering event. The negative automatic thoughts are usually based on cognitive distortions and are distorted patterns of thinking.

Writing all the unpleasant thoughts that are triggered in response to the situation in the third column of the 7 column thought record sheet, gives the therapist a clear picture about the underlying thought pattern and schemas of the individual.

For example, the above kid who got late from school and felt fear and anxiety would have negative automatic thoughts related to dark future, failure, lack of achievement, purposelessness, hopelessness and any other thought related to low self esteem.

Evidence that supports the automatic thought (the fourth column of 7 column thought record)

Inorder to challenge the dysfunctional automatic thoughts that the individual has due to the triggering event, the fourth column of a 7 column thought record sheet is used to write all the evidences that support the negative automatic thoughts of the individual.

The individual writes about all the facts and logics that he/she thinks are in support of the negative automatic thought. They write the various reasons that make them think that their negative automatic thoughts in response to the triggering event are true and justified.

For example the kid who got late from school and felt irritable and frustrated might think about being an ultimate failure in life and feel hopeless because he thinks that reaching school late with no revision time means that you forget all the learned material before your test. When the kid writes the evidence that supports this negative automatic thought he may be generalizing a lower grade test when he was unable to answer a question that he did not revise in lower grades. 

This evidence in support of the negative automatic thoughts of living a purposeless life and being a failure is not justified.

Evidence that is against the automatic thought (the fifth column of 7 column thought record)

The fifth column of the 7 column thought record sheet is evidence against the negative automatic thoughts. In this column the individual coming for cognitive behavior therapy writes about the various life events and facts that are against the negative automatic thought.  The clients usually think about the facts that help them understand that not all parts of their negative automatic thoughts in response to the triggering event are always true. 

The example of the kid who got late from school on test day and thought that without revising his test material he will fail will recall all the times throughout his study years when he achieved average or above average marks without studying for the test material or without revising it. The individual also recalls the various times he has successfully answered a teacher’s question to a previous lecture without any revision. 

Alternate thought (the sixth column of 7 column thought record)

After completing the 5 and 6 columns of the 7 column thought record sheet the individual analyses the ratio of the evidence in support of the negative automatic thought and the evidence against the negative automatic thought.

After the analysis the client forms a thought that is alternate to the negative automatic thought. The new thought is written in the 6th column of the 7 column thought record sheet.

The new thought is based on the evidence that goes against the negative automatic thought. The client in the light of the facts and supportive thoughts, forms new thoughts, in response to the triggering event, that are more logical, acceptable and justified.

For example, the kid who got late from school and missed the revision time, might make an alternate thought that there have been many times that i appeared in tests with zero or minimum revision and yet achieved success. So this time too I will not fail and do as good as I have in earlier tests.

Outcome  (the seven column of 7 column thought record)

The last column of the seven column thought record sheet is the outcome of all the thought challenging and thought recording.  The individuals coming for cognitive behavior therapy are facilitated to think again of the triggering event in the light of the new alternative thought that they made as a result of the analysis of the evidence that favoured their negative automatic thoughts and evidence that went against their negative automatic thoughts. They  are asked to write about their new feelings in response to the new rational thoughts in the last column of the 7 column thought record sheet.

The therapist asks the client about their feelings related to the triggering event with the alternate thought in mind.

For example the kid in the above example will feel competent and confident in response to the triggering event with the new alternate thought in mind.

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Conclusion

The blogspot discussed the 7 column thought record sheet and described each of  the seven columns. We learned that the 7 column thought record sheet is used to challenge the negative automatic thoughts and form new thoughts in response to the triggering event in cognitive behavior therapy technique.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs): 7 Column thought record

What is a thought record sheet?

A thought record sheet is based on 3,5 or 7 columns based on its purpose. It is a therapeutic tool used in cognitive behavior therapy to help the clients identify their negative automatic thoughts and cognitive restructuring to replace the underlying distorted cognitive patterns with functional thoughts.

What is a dysfunctional thought record?

A dysfunctional thought record is based on the thoughts related to a triggering event that are based on cognitive distortions. A dysfunctional thought record is based on distorted patterns of thinking that lead to unpleasant feelings and behaviors.

What is cognitive behavioral restructuring?

The cognitive behavioral restructuring is a group of therapeutic interventions utilized in cognitive behavior therapy that helps individuals to identify and modify their negative thought patterns and associated behaviors with positive ones.

Citations

https://pdf4pro.com/view/thought-record-7-column-getselfhelp-3c855c.html

https://positivepsychology.com/thought-records/

https://www.mcgill.ca/counselling/files/counselling/thought_record_sheet_0.pdf

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