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Fig 4.22 – Dysfunctional Thoughts

Text: Page 217

Some of the most popular interventions of cognitive behavioral therapy include rational responding utilizing the Dysfunctional Thought Record (DTR). This requires a client to become conscious of dysfunctional thoughts, rate the emotional reaction to the thoughts, systematically examine the evidence supporting the dysfunctional thoughts, replace the thoughts with alternative thoughts, and then rate the emotional reaction to the new thoughts. The DTR gives the client a written record of their dysfunctional thoughts and beliefs and guides the client in their daily effort to make cognitive and behavioral changes.

The stop sign is a simple but powerful symbol of how CBT interventions can reduce psychological distress. The thought stopping technique halts the “snowball effect” of dysfunctional thoughts. Clients are taught to imagine a stop sign when a negative state is first realized. When this technique resonates, clients find momentary relief which is vital to gaining control and using other techniques, like rational responding, before distressing thoughts escalate.

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