Cognitive Restructuring: Thoughts On Trial Worksheet

GinaMarie Guarino, LMHC GinaMarie Guarino, LMHC

Worksheet updated on January 3rd, 2021

Cognitive Restructuring: Thoughts On Trial Worksheet

Negative thoughts can have a significant impact on how we feel and how we react to challenging situations. They can cause us to act out of character, and get down on ourselves for reasons that are not fair to us.

When we give in to our negative thoughts, we set ourselves up for feeling anxious, depressed, angry and resentful. That is why it is important to challenge your own negative thoughts.

Challenging negative thoughts helps to ensure your thought process is fair to yourself and the elements involved. It helps to also prevent negative interpretations and overreactions to innocuous situations.

About This Worksheet

This is the Cognitive Restructuring: Thoughts On Trial worksheet. On this worksheet, the client is taken through a process of placing their own thoughts one trial.

Practicing with the Cognitive Restructuring: Thoughts On Trial worksheet teaches a client how to challenge their negative thoughts and feelings to ensure they are justified. If they are not justified, the process on the worksheet provides a path to create a more reasonable and balanced thought.

This worksheet is intended for adolescents and adults. It teaches an approach based on cognitive behavioral therapy, and is ideal for individual sessions. The worksheet may also be used as a guide in group sessions.


Begin by explaining the process of cognitive restructuring and putting your own thoughts on trial. Ensure that the client understands how the process can be helpful for modifying perspective and behavior. Then, instruct the client to identify a recent incident that caused negative thoughts.

Using the example, allow the client to work through the questions with you. When finished, reflect on the results of the worksheet. Instruct the client to use this process in the future when they experience negative thoughts again. Provide the client a copy of the worksheet for reference.

Download Cognitive Restructuring: Thoughts On Trial Worksheet

Link To This Worksheet

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