Cognitive distortions worksheets (Top 3)

This page will provide you with some effective worksheets to help people cope with cognitive distortions and develop healthier patterns of thinking. 

Some of these worksheets have been created by us while others have been curated from reputable third-party websites.

What are Cognitive Distortions worksheets?

Cognitive distortions worksheets are worksheets that are often used in sessions under the guidance of a mental health professional or out of sessions. 

These are created based on CBT theories and help  individuals identify thinking patterns that are irrational and unhealthy; replace their irrational thoughts with logical, positive thoughts, and also help them restructure their belief systems.

What are cognitive distortions?

Cognitive distortions according to Cognitive behavioural theories of psychotherapy are biased perspectives that people have  about themselves and the world around them- including other people.

These are irrational thoughts and beliefs that we have unintentionally internalised and have been reinformedces as per our earlier experiences. 

These patterns of thought and belief systems are subtle and difficult to recognize because they are a regular feature of your day-to-day thoughts. 

Cognitive distortions come in many forms but they all have some things in common. They are patterns of thinking or believing which are inaccurate or false, and have the potential to cause psychological harm.

These distortions, when there is no intervention and are long term, can impact a person if they do not have the ability to identify, modify, and correct them.

Let us look at some effective worksheets that can help you identify cognitive distortions in your own life, modify and also correct them.

Cognitive Distortions Worksheet

The first thing that is needed in managing cognitive distortions is to identify them.

What does this worksheet do?

This worksheet is designed to help educate an individual about cognitive distortions. The worksheet has been developed using common distortions which a person can use to apply in their own thinking patterns. 

The worksheet also enables a person to reflect on their own thoughts, label the distortions, and also rationalise these thoughts.

How will this worksheet help?

This worksheet helps people to learn about their own maladaptive thought patterns and develop an awareness of the ones that are of potential harm to them. 

The worksheet also helps a person label their own cognitive distortions and invites them to rationalise their thoughts. 

How to use this worksheet?

To use this worksheet, take time to go through the types of distortions that have been mentioned on the sheet and reflect on whether you come across these distortions in your own life.

If you do, write down an example of when you experience such distorted thinking. 

Next, on the next sheet, write down the thoughts that are maladaptive and label them according to the distortions you think they are. 

Once you have labelled them, rationalise them with a thought that is positive and opposing what has been written. 

For example, “I am stupid” – this is overgeneralisation- rationalise with “I made a mistake, making mistakes is normal- it does not make me stupid.”

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Decatastrophizing Worksheet

While coping with cognitive distortions, you need to be able to understand the reality of an event or situation without getting carried away with your distortions. 

Decatastrophizing worksheet enables you to reflect on the situation objectively. You can access this sheet here

What does this worksheet do?

This worksheet has been designed to help a person restructure their thoughts and beliefs when they are becoming overwhelmed by catastrophic thinking.

The worksheet enables a person to look at a situation realistically and from various possible angles in an objective and clear manner instead of being carried away by their own thoughts and fears.

How will this worksheet help?

This worksheet helps a person to look at a situation objectively and come up with a strategy to cope with their fears. 

The worksheet, a rational reflection of the situation, helps the person view their challenges in more realistic ways rather than the catastrophe that they imagine.

How to use this worksheet?

To use this worksheet, write down your worries. 

Next, move on to thinking about how this issue will turn out.

Then, think about how terrible it would be if the worst case scenario came to pass. 

Consider whether a similar event has occurred in your past and make an educated guess of how likely the worst-case scenario is to happen.

After this, think about what is most likely to happen and write it down. 

Next, think about your chances. How likely is it that you’ll be okay one week from now if your fear comes true, one month, one year?

Finally, think about how you can cope or the steps you can take to manage if the worst scenario happens. 

Inner rules worksheet

Cognitive distortions also include unspoken rules that we live by. While some of these rules can be helpful, others can limit and frustrate us. 

This worksheet can help you assess the rules you live by. You can access this worksheet from here

What does this worksheet do?

The Inner rules worksheet is designed to help a person to rationally assess the lifelong rules that they have held on for so long- irrespective of its impact on you. 

This exercise can help them to think more critically about a rule that may be harmful without them even realising it. 

How will this worksheet help?

This worksheet helps a person to reflect on a personal rule that a person lives by. It helps them reflect on their rules with rational perspectives and explore the consequences of their riles. 

It also helps develop an awareness of where the rules come from- whether they are authentic beliefs or they have been pushed to believe these rules from earlier experiences.

The worksheet also explores how a person can restructure the rule they hold on to in a more healthy and positive light. 

How to use this worksheet?

First, think about a recent situation where you felt bad about your thoughts or behavior.

Next, based on this experience, identify the rule or assumption that was broken. 

Then, consider when you acquired this rule, how you learned about it, and what encouraged it.

Compare its advantages and disadvantages. Think critically about how the rule or assumption helps and/or hurts you.

Finally, based on what you have explored- you can make a choice as to keep this rule, eliminate it, or modify it.

Positive thinking worksheet

What does this worksheet do?

This worksheet enables a person to develop positive ways of thinking as opposed to their cognitively distorted patterns of thought. 

It helps them consider various scenarios and instead of engaging in thoughts that might be a result of distortions, invites them to actively think positively.

How will this worksheet help?

This worksheet, when used with intentional practice, can help a person to develop optimistic ways of thinking which can boost mood and improve behaviours that are healthy and helpful.

How to use this worksheet?

To use this worksheet, take some time to consider each scenario and put yourself in the scenario.

Take notice of how you feel if you are part of that scene and take a moment to note down your thoughts- these could be negative thoughts. 

Next, actively try to write down or think a positive thought in response to the scenario in spite of how you might be feeling. 

Write down the positive and optimistic thoughts and take note of how you feel.

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