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.