CBT for Performance Anxiety

Examples of Tom's online exercises


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Tom's Stress Log Exercises Watch the Thought Challenge Tutorial

Tom's Thought Challenge Example - 1

Tom chose to challenge the thought "I am not a real man". Having assumptions about gender roles, of which we are not necessarily aware, is not unique to Tom. In this Thought Challenge Tom questions the validity of his increasingly convincing belief that he is not a "real" man.

I want to challenge my own thoughts

I am not a real man

I can’t have an erection

Real men can perform sexually

My virility is not ALL that defines who I am

Manhood is more than being able to have an erection

Being a "real" man is more than being masculine, and I do have some good qualities as a person

I have a serious case of erectile dysfunction that complicates my marriage, but it does not define the whole of who I am

I am not a real man


I am not a real man



Rules and assumptions usually affect the way we interpret specific situations. The belief that in order to be a real or worthy man it is necessary to perform sexually seems deeply rooted in Tom’s mind


Tom's Thought Challenge Example - 2

Tom chose to challenge the thought "She has no respect for me"

She has no respect for me

We always end up going where she wants to go

She is not even trying to hear what I’d like to do

She makes most of the decisions in our relationship

She doesn’t say anything offensive to me

I don’t really try to say what I’d like to do

Liking to be in charge doesn’t necessarily mean she has no respect for me

Melanie respects me as a person, not as the "head" of the household

She has no respect for me


She has no respect for me



Tom's new "Balanced Thought" is still a rather negative assessment of his situation, but not as drastic. Therapists often inquire about the exact words that were used in a conversation in order to better understand facts, before they become distorted by the negative interpretation of a client under emotional distress.