7 Column Thought Records

Teach your patient to track and change their reactions with a 7 Column Thought Record Worksheet. Click here for a free template and guide.

By Patricia Buenaventura on Apr 08, 2024.

Fact Checked by Ericka Pingol.

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What is a 7-Column Thought Record?

A is a tool practitioners use to understand their clients�?? thinking patterns. More specifically, it�??s meant to help the referring physician and the client record their thoughts to be more aware of negative thought patterns and behaviors.

The 7 Column Though Record has seven sections the client must complete. They are:

  • Situation/Trigger
  • Feelings/Body Sensations
  • Unhelpful Thoughts/Images
  • Facts Supporting Unhelpful Thoughts
  • Facts Opposing Unhelpful Thoughts
  • Alternative Thoughts
  • Outcome

This resource is often used in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy sessions and is meant to challenge the client�??s thoughts, especially during distressing times to lessen the impact such thinking has on the client.

Printable 7 Column Thought Record

Download this 7 Column Thought Record so clients can track their thought patterns.

How to use the 7-Column Thought Record:

Step One. Access and Download the Template

To access and download a digital and printable version of the 7 Column Thought Record template, you can do either of the following:

  • Click the �??Download Template�?� or �??Use Template�?� button
  • Search �??7 Column Thought Record�?� in Carepatron�??s template library�??s search bar on the website or app

Step Two. Fill Out the Template

When you�??ve given the client a copy of the 7 Column Thought Record, you should explain how to fill out the sections so they may complete the template independently and repeat the process Here are some tips you may tell your client in the sections that they may feel stuck at:

  • Situation/Trigger: Start small. You can tackle the more challenging situations or issues after answering the worksheet multiple times. 
  • Feelings/Body Sensations: Write down all of the emotions you felt. Feel free to use a thesaurus or emotion wheel to help you specify and identify your feelings. 
  • Facts Supporting and Opposing Thoughts: Take time to reflect and see if there�??s another perspective, a less negative one, to the thought. To confirm or deny a fact, you may try doing something opposing the negative thought. 
  • Alternative Thoughts: These thoughts can be even a little positive at first. Think of what you would say to someone you care for. 

Step Three. Discuss the Template

After the client has completed the template, you may discuss the answers with the client. Discussing it will not only give you an idea of their thought patterns and their attempt to change them but also give them tips on how to answer it better the next time they do the thought record. 

Step Four. Securely Store the Template

You have to securely store the template since it carries sensitive information on the client. For physical copies, you can store them at a secure location. Digital copies can be stored on Carepatron, a HIPAA-compliant EHR, wherein you can limit access to relevant parties only. 

7 Column Thought Records Example (sample)

We�??ve provided a completed PDF downloadable file of the �??7 Column Though Records�?� template. Feel free to use this example as an educational resource or guide to help you explain to your clients how to answer the worksheet in a way that will benefit them the most. Do note that the answers provided in the sample are fictional. 

Grab a copy of the sample worksheet by viewing it below or clicking the �??Download Example �??PDF�?� button. 

Download this 7 Column Thought Record Example:

7 Column Thought Records Example (sample)

When would you use this Form?

Since the 7 Column Thought Record exercise is commonly used during CBT sessions, licensed and experienced mental health practitioners like psychiatrists, psychologists, and therapists who have a CBT certification cause the form when they notice their clients have negative thought patterns. Still, they aren�??t aware of and aren�??t proactively changing them. 

As for when exactly one will give the form, we�??ll leave it up to you, the referring physician, since you know the client, their treatment plan, and recovery journey best. 



As the client goes through the different sections of the 7-Column Thought Record, the patient will hone their self-awareness skills because they will be asked to reflect on their feelings and thought patterns. 

Positive Habit Forming

Instead of wallowing in negative thoughts or falling back on negative thought patterns, the client is encouraged to focus on alternative thoughts during distressing times with the help of the 7-Column Thought Record. Doing these multiple times will help the client form the positive habit of analyzing their thought patterns and changing them into more helpful ones. 

Tracking Progress

Since the client will be encouraged to answer this at least once or twice a week, specifically when they are distressed, the referring physician can use the completed templates to track their progress in changing negative and positive thought patterns. 

Digitally Accessible

Our free 7-Column Thought Record isn�??t only printable but can be digitally accessed, customized, completed, and stored on any PDF editor or the Carepatron app on any gadget you have access to. 

Why use Carepatron as your 7-Column Thought app?

Beyond being a place where you can find a 7-Column Thought Worksheet, Carepatron is a leading practice management software practitioners have used to manage their practice effectively. 

Download Carepatron�??s desktop software and or mobile-friendly app to not only obtain and fill out the 7 Column template in this guide but to access features and tools that will help you be more productive by automating tasks and streamlining processes like 

This is just a hint of what you can do on Carepatron. So, don�??t miss out on the chance to improve the caliber of your practice today. Sign up for a free account on Carepatron today!


McManus, F., Van Doorn, K., & Yiend, J. (2012). Examining the effects of thought records and behavioral experiments in instigating belief change. Journal of behavior therapy and experimental psychiatry, 43(1), 540�??547. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jbtep.2011.07.003

Who typically uses 7 Column Thought Records?
Who typically uses 7 Column Thought Records?

Commonly asked questions

Who typically uses 7 Column Thought Records?

Referring physicians who incorporate Cognitive Behavioral Therapy in clients' treatment plans are the ones who are most likely to use the 7 Column Thought Records.

When are 7 Column Thought Records used?

The 7 Column Thought Records are used when the client has a distressing situation - mild or severe - and mental issues they need to work on.

How can the 7-Column Thought Record help a person?

It can help a person be more aware of their negative thought patterns, how it affects them, and how to break the habit by thinking of thoughts beneficial to their mental and physical well-being.

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