CBT ABC Worksheets

Our CBT ABC worksheet is designed to help patients rationalize their thought patterns and improve self-talk. Easy to access, share, use, and store, this worksheet will lead to better outcomes for all.

By Nate Lacson on Jul 15, 2024.


Fact Checked by Ericka Pingol.

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What is a CBT ABC Worksheet?

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is one of the most popular forms of therapy. It has been scientifically proven to improve a range of different mental health conditions, and treatment typically involves challenging unhelpful thought and behavioral patterns. While the specific interventions introduced during CBT therapy differ between therapists, the ‘ABC model’ is a commonly taught component.

ABC is an acronym that stands for:

  • A: Activating Event
  • B: Belief
  • C: Consequence

are forms that therapists give to their patients that help them identify patterns of self-talk. This is a fantastic method for improving self-awareness and encouraging patients to use rational thinking in a healthy way. We have designed an intuitive and easily-implemented ABC worksheet that therapists can give to their patients. The PDF resource can be downloaded, shared, and stored with a few simple clicks, guaranteeing efficiency while also helping patients achieve their treatment goals.

How to Use This CBT ABC Worksheet

Fortunately, implementing the CBT ABC worksheet into your therapy practice is very easy. To make the most of this resource, simply follow these steps:

Step One: Access and download the CBT worksheet

The first step you need to take is to download the CBT worksheet. A little further down on this page, we’ve included a link to the template alongside a completed CBT ABC worksheet example. If you click on this link, you’ll be taken to the PDF version of the document which you can then save to your device. Once the worksheet has been saved, it can be accessed and sent to patients in just a few seconds.

Step Two: Give the worksheet to the patients

When you are treating a patient who you think will benefit from using the CBT ABC worksheet, you should give them a copy. You have a couple of options for how to do this: you can either print out a physical copy, or you can send them a link to the electronic version. While both of these options are fine, we recommend sending them an electronic link, as this helps to keep everything online and by doing so, guarantees efficiency and better privacy protection.

Step Three: Use the completed worksheet during your sessions

After your patient has completed the CBT ABC worksheet, it is a good idea to request them to bring it into their next session. You and your patient can go through the worksheet together, identifying achievements and/or areas requiring improvement.

Step Four: Store the worksheet securely

The CBT ABC worksheet contains confidential information regarding the patient’s personal information and medical condition, so it needs to be stored securely. If your patient has completed an electronic copy of the worksheet, then it can be a good idea to store it using a HIPAA-compliant EHR system.

Who Can Use these Printable CBT ABC Worksheets (PDF)?

As the title suggests, this worksheet has been designed to be used by patients who are receiving CBT therapeutic treatment. There are no specific limitations on the type of patient who can benefit from the form: regardless of whether they are adolescents, young adults, elderly patients, women, men, or anyone else, the worksheet will be advantageous. Additionally, the specific type of therapy may vary. Any of the following therapy treatments will work well with the CBT ABC worksheet:

  1. Grief Therapy
  2. Interpersonal Relationships Therapy
  3. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
  4. Psychodynamic Therapy
  5. Dialectical Behavior Therapy
  6. Substance Abuse Therapy

Why is This Form Useful For Therapists?

Our CBT ABC worksheet has a range of different uses for therapists, including the following:

Saves time

The CBT ABC worksheet will help therapists save time. Instead of them having to spend time designing, organizing, and creating worksheets, they can simply access and save ours. We’ve ensured our template is as intuitive and well-designed as possible, making it not only useful but very beneficial.

Insight into treatment

Although the worksheet is largely designed for the patient, it can also be useful for the therapist. The responses that a patient includes on the worksheet will provide insight into how effective the current treatment plan is, allowing the therapist to identify whether or not they need to change their intervention strategies.

Go paperless

Many healthcare practices are looking for ways that they can go paperless, and for good reason. In addition to being environmentally conscious, going paperless improves organization, efficiency, and compliance. If you send your patients an electronic link to the CBT ABC worksheet, then the entire process can effectively be completed online.

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Benefits of CBT ABC Worksheet Template

Additionally, the CBT ABC worksheet will have a range of benefits, positively impacting the patient and therapist. These advantages include:

Encourage the patient to be more involved in their treatment

Worksheets are fantastic at engaging the patient in their own care. Devising ways for patients to continuously work towards their health goals outside of therapy sessions is an important component of developing a treatment plan. Equipped with our worksheet, your patients will be able to focus on improving their mental health 24/7.

Allow the patient to develop their self-talk skills

Part of therapeutic treatment is teaching patients new skills, including how to rationalize self-talk (the area that our CBT ABC worksheet covers). While teaching these skills is very important, it becomes difficult to maintain them if patients aren’t practicing outside of session hours. The whole purpose of this worksheet is to encourage patients to stay engaged with their care during their day-to-day lives, where they can develop and apply their new skills.

Develop the treatment plan

As we mentioned, the responses included on the CBT ABC worksheet will indicate to the therapist the specific areas where the treatment plan is working effectively, as well as any areas that may require further work. Treatment plans should be altered if they aren’t working very effectively, and the answers on this ABC worksheet will provide you with the data needed to identify this.

Track patient progress

CBT ABC worksheets can also be very helpful for tracking patient progress. When patients have completed multiple worksheets, you can compare them and identify how well your patients are progressing. And remember, even small achievements should be celebrated!

Collaborative approach to care

These worksheets are also fantastic ways to ensure a collaborative approach to care. Focusing on strengthening your relationships with patients will help form a trusting and meaningful environment where your client feels comfortable to open up. Responses on worksheets are a great discussion starting point, allowing you to learn more about your patient and their everyday life.

Who completes a CBT ABC worksheet?
Who completes a CBT ABC worksheet?

Commonly asked questions

Who completes a CBT ABC worksheet?

These worksheets are designed for your patients to complete. You may find it useful to work through and complete the first worksheet with your patient so they have a better understanding of how it functions. After that, however, you should give the worksheet to your patients to be completed outside of session times.

When should I give my patients a CBT ABC worksheet?

This will depend on what your patient is being treated for, and how far into their treatment plan they are. You may find that the worksheets are more effective for some patients than others, and that is completely fine. Use your professional opinion and experience to determine whether or not your patients are benefitting from using the worksheet, and feel free to stop giving them out if you feel they are no longer effective.

Where should I store completed CBT ABC worksheets?

These documents contain confidential information, so it is very important that they are stored accordingly. This could mean using an online EHR system with robust safeguards in place, or a physical location that has good security.

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