What is a decatastrophizing worksheet?
Worrying is part of the human experience. Every once in a while, a person will feel anxious and worry about something, as well as think about a worst-case scenario that could happen in relation to their worries. While this is normal, some experience these worries to an unhealthy degree.
This experience is called “catastrophizing,” where a person worries to the point that (potential) problems are exaggerated and the worst-case scenario is considered to be the only possible outcome. This is also classified as a cognitive distortion because it has the tendency to influence how a person feels and acts.
Decatastrophizing worksheets were created to help people combat this cognitive distortion. This kind of therapy worksheet comes with different prompts but, more or less, they all serve to identify a client’s worries by having them articulate their thoughts on paper. Depending on what they write, possible directives or solutions can be drawn up to help work through the distortion.
Here, at Carepatron, we have a decatastrophizing worksheet that not only works to identify a client’s worries, but also helps them think about a more positive outcome and how they may reach that, or at the very least, something favorable instead of the worst-case scenario.
How to use this decatastrophizing worksheet
As the practitioner, all you need to do is distribute this worksheet to your client. Your client will be the person engaging with the worksheet the most because they will be responding to the prompts.
Step 1: Describe what you are worried about.
The worksheet begins with the simple question: “What are you worried about?”
This section frames the exercise immediately by having your client examine what exactly they are worried about. This is their opportunity to clearly identify the concern, especially if they had trouble discussing it with you in person or through an online appointment.
Step 2: Indicate the likeliness and evidence.
The next part question that your client must answer is “How likely is it for your worry to come true? What are the factors that make it likely? And did you have similar experiences in the past?”
Here, they have to take a step back and really examine their worries. This section encourages the client to indicate any factors that contribute to their worries and any evidence that suggests that their worries are going to come true.
Step 3: Indicate what is most likely to happen based on evidence.
Since the previous section asks for factors and evidence, they should indicate what is most likely to happen based on all of that.
Step 4: Indicate the worst possible outcome of their worries.
Similar to the previous section, this time they have to indicate the worst possible outcome of their worries, with or without evidence.
Step 5: Indicate what they would feel if their worries come true.
This is an opportunity for the client to write what they would feel for the next few days, weeks, months, or even years if their worries come true, whether it was the likely outcome or the worst-case scenario that happened.
Step 6: Indicate possible good outcomes and what they can do to actualize them.
Since the goal is to make your client feel better, this worksheet comes with a section that makes them look and hope for a better outcome. Through this section, ideally, the client takes a step back from their worries and thinks of any possible alternative outcomes, if any.
If there are possible good outcomes, they should think of and list down things they could do in order to reach those good outcomes. This encourages goal setting, if at all possible concerning their worries.
Step 7: Indicate what could put them at ease in the meantime.
If there are things that the client can do to help them relax and put their mind at ease in the meantime, it’s best for them to indicate them. It’s a good way for them to remind themselves what they can do for now.
The information that you’ll get from this worksheet should be able to help you come up with a game plan on how to make your client feel better and what they work towards as you go about the next stages of your therapy program for their cognition.
Decatastrophizing Worksheet Example (Sample)
Here is an example of a filled-out decatastrophizing worksheet:
Who can use this printable decatastrophizing worksheet?
The following healthcare professionals can use this free printable worksheet for their practices:
- (Mental health) Therapists
- Clinical psychologists
While these healthcare professionals can integrate this worksheet into their practices, the people who will engage with it the most are their clients since they will be writing about their worries. Clients who may benefit from using this worksheet include those being treated for:
- Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder
- …Or any condition, illness, or experience that results in them over-catastrophizing situations.
Why is this decatastrophizing worksheet useful for therapists?
Therapists can better understand their client’s worries.
There are clients that have a hard time opening up about their worries, sometimes because they think their worries might sound trivial, and talking about it in person might just give that impression.
This worksheet can help them articulate why they are worried about a certain thing and the factors that contribute to making them feel anxious and convinced that unfavorable outcomes are going to happen.
It could help therapists come up with a plan to help their clients feel better.
Since part of this worksheet asks the client to write possible good outcomes, what they can do to reach those good outcomes, and what they can currently do in order to ease their worries, therapists can help develop directives or even solutions that their clients could take in order to work their way to more favorable outcomes and to help them cope when they need to.
What are the benefits of using this printable decatastrophizing worksheet?
Aside from being helpful to therapists, clients can also benefit from using this decatastrophizing worksheet!
It can help clients better explain themselves.
Depending on the person and their cognitive distortion, they might not be able to articulate and express themselves in the way both parties want when discussing their worries during a face-to-face or online appointment. Sometimes this is due to fear that their worries are “irrational” or “trivial.”
Writing can help create the distance needed in order to better communicate themselves. This worksheet allows clients to examine themselves and explain their worries, the outcomes that they’re thinking about and/or expecting, and how they would feel when their worries come true.
It gives an opportunity for positive and hopeful reflection.
The worksheet isn’t all doom and gloom! With the sections about possible positive outcomes and what they can do to ease their worries, clients can think about more favorable outcomes and see if they can do something to achieve those instead of the negative outcomes they’ve been worrying about.
This also encourages goal setting, which leads to developing a plan of action to help get there, if at all possible for their particular worries (and we’d like to believe that it is possible).
There’s even a part where they can talk about things they could do to help them relax/cope! If they’ve never even thought about it before because they’ve been so anxious, this could help them realize what they can do in the meantime!
Why use Carepatron for therapy software?
Here at Carepatron, we care about helping healthcare practitioners improve productivity and efficiency, especially when it comes to streamlining their clinical documentation. By taking advantage of our easy-to-navigate EHR system, you’ll gain access to a wide variety of therapy worksheets such as this decatastrophizing worksheet!
Using our worksheets will help you with your counseling and make it easier for you and your patients to examine and understand their worries better, and hopefully come up with the best directions to take in order to prevent any unfavorable outcomes.
You can even store these worksheets in a HIPAA-compliant manner and secure them by setting up who can access these documents besides you.
Not only are our therapy software and worksheets intuitive, but they’re also easily accessible! Whether you’re using an office desktop, a laptop, or even just your phone, you can access your therapy worksheets anytime, anywhere!