Automatic Thoughts
Heather Stone, Ph.D.
Clinical Psychologist, PSY 21112

What just happened? (Just quickly relay the facts).

Was I already in a difficult space before this even happened? How come? (What was the context?)

What went through my mind immediately after I got triggered? If I was looking at a cartoon of myself in this particular scenario, what would be written in the "bubble" over my head? (This will be the foundation of the automatic thought).


Now, try to elaborate a little further to expand the automatic thought:


  • What does this say about me if it is true?
  • What does this mean in a larger sense -- about me, my life, or my future?
  • What am I afraid might happen?
  • What is the worst thing about this, if it were true?
  • What does this mean about how others might perceive me?
  • What does this mean about my relationship to others in general?
  • What images or memories do I have in connection to his situation?


So, your automatic thought will be a few phrases pieced together, such as:

I / others / and / so / I'll always / it will never / it means / therefore / etc.

(See if you can put together a long sentence to expand on your automatic thought, using your own words).

                                 ©2012 Heather Stone, Ph.D.


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Heather Stone, Ph.D.
Licensed Psychologist Anxiety Treatment
930 Mendocino Avenue Ste. 203
Santa Rosa , CA , 95401
(707) 291-7386

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