Challenging Intrusive Thoughts Worksheet

Help your client challenge and defeat their intrusive thoughts during your therapy sessions with Challenging Intrusive Thoughts worksheet. Download a free template and example today!

By Matt Olivares on Jun 20, 2024.

Fact Checked by RJ Gumban.

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Challenging Intrusive Thoughts Worksheet PDF Example
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What are Intrusive Thoughts?

Intrusive thoughts are types of thoughts that just suddenly pop out of nowhere. More often than not, they are unwanted, and can even cause distress to the point that a person’s day can be disrupted.

Those who experience intrusive thoughts to a severe degree may become anxious, panic, or just become unable to move or do anything at all, and that’s not good, especially if the person has important matters to attend to!

For those taking therapy to find help and support to combat their intrusive thoughts, worksheets have been developed to help them do just that! These worksheets come in different forms, but what they have in common is that they all aim to help therapists and their clients identify, examine, and even challenge or replace intrusive thoughts. They give exercises to clients that will help them reframe their thoughts so they can develop and learn ways to control or eliminate their intrusive thoughts.

If you want to add a worksheet to your roster of therapeutic worksheets, then we’d like to recommend the Challenging Intrusive Thoughts Worksheet.

Check out this video on our Therapy Worksheet to see how these resources are accessed and used:

Printable Challenging Intrusive Thoughts Worksheet

Download this Challenging Intrusive Thoughts Worksheet to help clients manage their intrusive thoughts.

How to use the Challenging Intrusive Thoughts Worksheet:

Our downloadable Challenging Intrusive Thoughts Worksheet requires clients to pinpoint a particular intrusive thought that has been greatly troubling them.

Upon noting down their intrusive thought, clients are presented with a set of thought-provoking questions aimed at challenging that specific thought. These questions are carefully designed to effectively challenge and counteract the intrusive thought. Furthermore, the worksheet permits clients to create their own customized questions, with a maximum of five questions, to further challenge their intrusive thought.

The ultimate objective is for clients to employ these questions to challenge their intrusive thought and, as a result, cultivate a more beneficial and constructive thought pattern based on their answers.

Challenging Intrusive Thoughts Worksheet

Now that you know what intrusive thoughts are, how annoying and possibly debilitating they can be, and what intrusive thoughts worksheets are all about, it’s time for you to see our Challenging Intrusive Thoughts Worksheet PDF template! It’s adapted from the version that Positive Psychology made! What we added is the writing section where clients can write down their answers to their questions.

If you like what you see and believe that the Challenging Intrusive Thoughts Worksheet will benefit your therapeutic work, feel free to download it! It’s free! You can choose to print it and have your client fill it out with a pen, or you can send them a copy of the PDF file because they can type using the editable fields!

Download this Challenging Intrusive Thoughts Worksheet Example (Sample) here:

Challenging Intrusive Thoughts Worksheet

When is it best to use the Challenging Intrusive Thoughts Worksheet?

Intrusive Thoughts Worksheets are a valuable component of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy programs. When you reach a point in the program where it becomes evident that your client's distress is significantly influenced by intrusive thoughts, which have become pervasive in their daily life, it is crucial to promptly introduce techniques such as Cognitive Restructuring, Decatastrophization, Thought Stopping, and more. Introducing this worksheet can be an effective way to help them apply the techniques they have learned. You can provide them with multiple copies, as the worksheet accommodates only one intrusive thought, or advise them to make additional copies if they have a digital version.

Clients have the flexibility to complete the worksheet during a therapy session or as a take-home assignment to be submitted at the next appointment.

It is important to inform them that whenever intrusive thoughts bombard their mind, they should refer to the worksheet and attempt to complete it while the thoughts are still "fresh." However, it is also acceptable for them to answer the worksheet at a later time to allow for reflection on their experience with intrusive thoughts. If intrusive thoughts arise during important tasks, especially if it involves their work, reassure them that it is permissible to postpone completing the worksheet until they have a work break or when they are in a more suitable environment, such as their home.

What are the benefits of using the Challenging Intrusive Thoughts Worksheet?

It can help therapists understand their patients better.

Discussing mental health issues is difficult to do on the part of the therapist’s client. Some may find it easy, but most don’t, not because they don’t want to talk about it, but they just have a hard time articulating themselves, sometimes out of fear that they will be judged.

Issuing worksheets to clients is one way to get them to open up, primarily through writing. If you have already identified that your client’s distress is caused by intrusive thoughts but they can’t seem to explain what these intrusive thoughts are, you can have them write their intrusive thoughts on the worksheet, and then work on it together to help your client challenge these thoughts. By reading what they wrote down, you can understand what goes through their mind.

It can help clients find the emotional distance they need to examine their thoughts.

The Challenging Intrusive Thoughts Worksheet can help the client find the necessary emotional distance they might need to properly examine their thoughts. Finding this distance is important because it will help them determine what exactly is causing them. The questions on the worksheet should also help to instill the inclination to interrogate these thoughts and challenge them. 

It can teach them to cope with intrusive thoughts more rationally and healthily.

It’s best that you teach them skills like problem-solving, critical thinking, cognitive restructuring, decatastrophization, and more before you issue the Challenging Intrusive Thoughts Worksheet to your client. That way, they know how to properly go about what needs to be done for the worksheet.

Once they can challenge their intrusive thoughts using the questions on the worksheet, and they’re able to chart a course that includes replacing these and developing better defense and coping mechanisms to prevent their intrusive thoughts from ruining their days.

Why use Carepatron for Cognitive Behavioral Therapy-related work?

If you happen to be a therapist who focuses on Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, then you’ll have a good time exploring the Carepatron platform. We have a wide variety of features that can benefit your CBT work and other types of therapy that you might be practicing.

One feature in particular that we know you’ll love is our resource library! It’s a massive collection of worksheets (including the Challenging Intrusive Thoughts Worksheet), assessments (we have depression scales that might help you gauge your patients during the early stages of your program), survey templates, form templates, general treatment plans, and much more!

Besides our Challenging Intrusive Thoughts Worksheet template, we recommend downloading our other owrksheets. We have a Decatastrophizing Worksheet, Core Beliefs Worksheet, and even a CBT worksheet for anxiety! Feel free to download as much as you want and need! If it helps you cover more ground when gauging your client and improves your CBT therapy program, we’re happy!

If you ever decide to subscribe to our platform, you will gain access to our storage system. This storage will allow you to store your clinical documents with us in a HIPAA-compliant manner, especially any CBT worksheet templates you downloaded from us! Even if you’re storing them with us, even we can’t access them because only you can dictate who can access them besides you! Storing them with us is also the same as creating backups of your files, so if you somehow lose physical copies of your files or a work device gets busted, you can redownload them from the storage!

Not only will Carepatron help you streamline your workflow, but we can also help preserve your work by securing them!

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Is it difficult to accomplish the Challenging Intrusive Thoughts Worksheet?
Is it difficult to accomplish the Challenging Intrusive Thoughts Worksheet?

Commonly asked questions

Is it difficult to accomplish the Challenging Intrusive Thoughts Worksheet?

If you look at the instructions, you’ll notice that they are simple enough to follow, but that doesn’t mean there won’t be any difficulty. This worksheet asks clients to examine their intrusive thoughts, and that might be difficult! It’s best that you provide them with the time and space they need to finish it. Provide support and encouragement when you can.

How long does it take to accomplish this worksheet?

That depends on if you issued this during a therapy session or if you had your client take it home. If you issued this during a therapy session, you can agree on a time limit with your client, but don’t pressure them. If they need more time than what your session allows, have them take it home and submit it during the next appointment.

What if I’m not enrolled in a therapy program? Can I still use this for personal reasons?

Yes! By all means, go ahead if you think it will benefit you. However, don’t use this as a substitute for therapy. If you really feel like you need help from a therapist, please enroll yourself in a therapy program. That way, you will have an expert to help navigate you throughout your journey of healing.

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