Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Behavioural Experiments

Arguing against our negative thoughts is usually not enough by itself to convince us that they are incorrect. We will need to build up a body of experience which contradicts them. The best way to do this is to act on our rational beliefs, that is, our new realistic and more helpful beliefs, and discover whether they are true or not - whether we can believe in them or not. The best way to test out a new belief is by setting up an experiment. The following can help people to do that:

How to do it?

  1. Write the thought you want to test in THOUGHT TO BE TESTED.

  1. In the EXPERIMENT column, write down what you have planned to do.

  1. In the PREDICTION column, write down how you think it will go, positively.

  1. In the POSSIBLE PROBLEMS column, write down what you think might go wrong, or areas you think you might struggle with.

  1. In the STRATEGIES TO OVERCOME THESE PROBLEMS, list positive coping strategies you could use to overcome these problems.

  1. In the OUTCOME OF EXPERIMENT column, report how you think it went.

  1. In the last column, rate how much the experiment supports the new thought, that is, rate how much the experiment proves to you that you can believe this new thought – percentage (0% - 100%).

  1. There are more boxes for you to plan further experiments. It will take several experiments to convince you of thoughts and for you to overcome anxieties or discomfort about doing new things. Be patient.

Finally, write what you learned from these experiments

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