Cognitive Distortions: Catastrophizing Worksheet

GinaMarie Guarino, LMHC GinaMarie Guarino, LMHC

Worksheet published on June 17th, 2020

Cognitive Distortions: Catastrophizing Worksheet

A great method of helping a client overcome their anxiety is educating them about cognitive distortions. Cognitive distortions are patterns of negative thinking that make the client have unrealistic expectations or perceptions of a situation. Cognitive distortions can cause a person to view the world and themselves in a negative light, which prevents them from handling stress in a healthy way.

A cognitive distortion that can cause a great deal of anxiety for a client is called catastrophizing. When a person catastrophizes, they convince themselves that the worst case scenario is going to happen. The affected person does not consider anything less than the worst outcome. This causes a great deal of anxiety for a client, and prevents them from having a realistic perspective of a challenge.

It is important to teach clients how to challenge catastrophizing thoughts. Practices from cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) help to relieve stress caused by catastrophizing, by teaching a client how to challenge anxious thought patterns with logic.

About This Worksheet

This is the Cognitive Distortions: Catastrophizing worksheet. On this worksheet, a client is provided with an introduction to what catastrophizing is and how it affects their perception of a challenging situation.

The client is also taken through a step-by-step process of learning how to manage anxious thoughts. This worksheet is great practice for adolescents and adults who are learning how to use CBT skills to minimize stress, anxiety, depression and negative self-talk.


Begin by reviewing the introduction with the client. Educate them on what cognitive distortions are and why it is important to challenge them to reduce anxiety.

Have the client work through the reflection questions on worksheet. If they are struggling to complete the questions on their own, provide assistance by guiding them through the process. Once complete, review the results with the client.

Allow the client to take a copy with them to use in moments of catastrophizing between sessions.

Download Cognitive Distortions: Catastrophizing Worksheet

Link To This Worksheet

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