CBT for Depression

Examples of Don's online exercises


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Don's Thought Challenge Exercises Watch the Stress Log Tutorial

Don's Stress Log Example - 1

Shortly after being laid off, Don is at home, not knowing what to do, laying bed, thinking and feeling depressed. He fills out this first stress log describing the situation, his feelings and automatic negative thoughts.

Don has challenged the thoughts in blue

Click on them to see his Thought Challenge exercises

8/13/2012 02:45 PM

Laying down in bed in the middle of the day

Angry 100%

Depressed 95%

I should not have lost that job


I let them treat me like garbage


I am a loser


At my age I'll never find another job



Discounting the positive (like the fact that Don has indeed financially supported his family for the last thirty years) is a common cognitive distortion.

Underlying beliefs, like “I am a loser” can explain why Don has other negative thoughts more specific to his current situation, like “I’ll never find another job”


Don's Stress Log Example - 2

In this second Stress Log Don tells us about how his current unemployment is starting to affect his relationship with his wife.

8/15/2012 06:45 PM

Having dinner with wife she tells me I'll "surely" find another job

Depressed 85%

Anxious 60%

Irritated 90%

She knows nothing about finding jobs


She doesn't really think I'll find a job


She'll wait a little longer and when I run out of money she'll leave me


Nobody could want to be around me



Don is focusing only in the negative aspects of his situation and fails to see any positive support from his wife

People undergoing emotional stress tend to see things in black or white and their negative thoughts usually have absolute words like “nothing” or “nobody”


Don's Stress Log Example - 3

Don is looking for jobs online. Even while trying to think about practical aspects of which are good jobs, or how he could improve his resume, there is a running commentary of automatic negative thoughts in the back of his mind. Fortunately, Don is learning to identify this patter of thinking and he is reporting it in the Stress Log.

8/16/2012 10:15 AM

Sitting in front of computer, looking for jobs online

Down 95%

Frustrated 85%

This is a waste of time


Many younger and better qualified people will apply to all these jobs


My situation is hopeless



While searching for jobs online, Don was barely aware of this running stream of negative thoughts. Many times the thoughts that bring the most negative emotions happen at a subconscious level, but can usually be brought to consciousness easily.

Don’s therapist helped him identify these thoughts by asking what he is thinking or assuming about himself and the situation when he feels distress.