Intrusive Thoughts Worksheet

If you have clients who are bothered by unwanted thoughts every now and then, issue this Intrusive Thoughts Worksheet to help them curb those thoughts and to develop an effective treatment plan.

By Matt Olivares on Jun 20, 2024.

Fact Checked by Nate Lacson.

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Intrusive Thoughts Worksheet PDF Example
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What is an Intrusive Thoughts Worksheet?

To put it simply, intrusive thoughts are annoying. More often than not, these types of thoughts are unwanted and may cause distress and disrupt people’s days, depending on the thought and how disturbing it is for the person. Some people with intrusive thoughts have a more extreme experience with them, in the sense that they start to feel anxious to the point that they actually palpitate and even panic.

To help combat such thoughts, were created. This type of worksheet comes in various forms, but they all work to help the healthcare professional and client properly identify and examine intrusive thoughts. These worksheets also come with exercises to help clients reframe their thoughts and find ways to control them (or just downright stop them from ever coming back, if possible) to reduce the effects of these thoughts when they occur out of the blue.

At Carepatron, we have an Intrusive Thoughts Worksheet that you can add to your practice! And that’s what we will be discussing in this short guide.

Printable Intrusive Thoughts Worksheet

Download this Intrusive Thoughts Worksheet to help your clients cope with their intrusive thoughts.

How to use this Intrusive Thoughts Worksheet?

Step 1: Issue this to your client when you think it’s time.

Our Intrusive Thoughts Worksheet comes in two parts.

The first one is a log of intrusive thoughts. Think of it as a mini-journal where the client can specifically mention the thought they found to be disrupting and what they felt.

The second part is a list of suggested actions that they can take to help them calm down and stop thinking about the intrusive thought. It also comes with a comments box that asks how the client managed their intrusive thoughts.

Issue this to your client when you feel it’s time you start trying to manage these mental buggers.

Step 2: The client will identify the thoughts via the mini-journal section.

Once you have issued a copy or copies of the Intrusive Thoughts Worksheet, the first thing your client needs to do is talk about the intrusive thoughts that entered their mind suddenly. There are guide questions to help them frame their thoughts:

  1. What is the intrusive thought that entered your mind? What was it about? Elaborate as best as you can.
  1. Is this intrusive thought a recurring one? Would you happen to know why this intrusive thought occurred? To be more clear, did something happen to you before that is related to the thought? If so, can you describe the experience(s) as best as you can? Or is this intrusive thought just one among many random thoughts that pop into your head?
  1. What was the thought like? Was it visual (there was a scenario that played in your mind)? Or were they more verbal (like voices in your head)? Be as descriptive as you possibly can.
  1. How were you feeling before the mental bugger popped up in your head? Please be as descriptive as you possibly can.
  1. Were you doing anything at that time? Did the intrusive thought disrupt you to the point that you were not able to do what you were doing?

Step 3: Next, they can look at the list of suggestions to help curb intrusive thoughts.

After the mini-journal is a list of activities that could help them cope and/or halt intrusive thoughts from being a nuisance. Then, after the list, there is a box where they can discuss what they did to manage their intrusive thoughts.

Step 4: Discuss things further with your client and create a care plan.

After receiving a fully-accomplished Intrusive Thoughts Worksheet, you can use what they wrote as a basis for future discussions and developing a care plan. You should also continue issuing this worksheet to your client to monitor them. We also recommend that you issue other worksheets and/or assessments to have a more comprehensive understanding of your client. Their intrusive thoughts might result from other things, like traumatic experiences. So, it’s prudent to cover all bases.

Intrusive Thoughts Worksheet Example

Now that you know what Intrusive Thoughts Worksheets are and how our version works, it’s time to see what it looks like. Here is an example of a filled-out Intrusive Thoughts Worksheet PDF:

If you like what you see and think this could help with your therapy/counseling work, download a free Intrusive Thoughts Worksheet PDF via our platform! You can print it out, or if you intend to go paperless for your practice, you can simply use the digital version! Given that it’s a PDF file, you are probably wondering if this can be used digitally. And we’re glad to inform you that yes, you can because our PDF has editable fields that your clients can fill up!

Download this Intrusive Thoughts Worksheet Example (Sample) here:

Intrusive Thoughts Worksheet Example

When does one typically use this Intrusive Thoughts Worksheet?

Once you have determined that your client’s intrusive thoughts are prevalent in their life, it would be best to issue this worksheet as soon as possible. Tell them to make multiple copies so they can use them as often as needed before your next appointment.

Tell them to keep copies with them on their laptop or whatever mobile device they may have (that’s the cool thing about our PDF file; you can use it anytime, anywhere).

Tell them that whenever intrusive thoughts invade their mind, they should answer the worksheet while everything is still fresh. Having them answer it later in the day should also be okay because they will have the time to process their experience.

If they are disrupted by intrusive thoughts while doing something important, especially if it’s work, tell them they can put off answering the worksheet until their break or until they get home from work.

Who can use this Intrusive Thoughts Worksheet and for whom is it?

Worksheets, in general, were made to be used by clients, so the Intrusive Thoughts Worksheet is intended for them.

As for who can use them for their work, the following healthcare professionals can definitely use this:

  • Counselors
  • (Mental Health) Therapists
  • Psychologists
  • Psychiatrists

So long as the healthcare professional is licensed in therapy (especially cognitive-behavioral therapy!) and highly trained in dealing with and helping people work through and manage mental health issues, they can definitely add this worksheet to their roster of tools.

Just remember that this is a tool that gives clients exercises. It is not a diagnostic tool, nor should it be used as a screening tool.

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What are the benefits of using this Intrusive Thoughts Worksheet?

It helps the client distance themselves from their intrusive thoughts.

Intrusive Thoughts Worksheets, in general, help the client become more aware of the intrusive thoughts that bother them. They do so by creating an emotional distance, which is needed to examine these thoughts and determine what is possibly causing them. Self-awareness and self-reflexivity are essential when examining themselves; this type of worksheet should help them attain those.

This will help with improving their coping skills and even develop solutions.

By becoming more aware of the intrusive thoughts, they can determine what is causing them. And by knowing what is causing them, they can determine how to avoid them, or at the very least, find ways to combat and manage them.

The worksheet can help reduce the anxiety and distress that comes with intrusive thoughts.

Finding healthy ways to cope and manage their intrusive thoughts can help mitigate what these thoughts may usually do to the client, like making them feel anxious, paranoid, and distressed. This means that this worksheet can help them reach an improved mental state where the patient can feel in control of their thoughts and how they affect them.

It’s a good tool for professionals to understand their clients better.

More often than not, anything related to mental health is challenging to talk about on the client's part. If they already have difficulty opening up about their struggles to their loved ones and friends, it might be even harder to open up to strangers and professionals.

Worksheets, in general, are helpful for getting clients to open up, and this can lead to more fruitful discussions where they are comfortable talking about their mental health issues. The more you know about your patient, the higher the chances of you being able to help them succeed in working through their mental health problems.

Why use Carepatron for mental health-related software?

If you are a healthcare professional that primarily treats people with mental health issues, whether medically or through therapy/counseling, you will find Carepatron to be a wonderful platform that will help streamline your work!

We house a wide variety of mental health-related worksheets that you can give your patients so that they can have different exercises that can help them reach a great overall mental state!

It’s not just worksheets, though. We have assessments, surveys, checklists, general treatment plans, and a whole lot more that may benefit your practice, so don’t hesitate to download them for free! We’re all about making your work easy and providing valuable resources for you and your patients.

Using our platform also grants you access to a highly secure storage system that will allow you to store your clinical documents, including fully-accomplished Intrusive Thoughts Worksheets, in a HIPAA-compliant manner, plus, you get to set who is allowed to access them besides you!

Storing your clinical documents on our platform essentially creates digital backups of them and makes them easily accessible to you whenever you need to, wherever you are, on any capable device (including your smartphone!) so long as you have access to the internet.

Convenience. Accessibility. Security. You get all three with Carepatron.

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Are Intrusive Thoughts Worksheets even effective?
Are Intrusive Thoughts Worksheets even effective?

Commonly asked questions

Are Intrusive Thoughts Worksheets even effective?

They are but in varying degrees. It also depends on the client using it. They generally provide prompts and exercises that may help clients cope and manage their intrusive thoughts. Healthcare professionals should be able to determine which types of Intrusive Thoughts Worksheets will help with a client’s treatment plan/program.

What if I’m not a healthcare professional? Am I allowed to use this worksheet?

By all means, use it. You are allowed to and if it helps you, then keep using it. However, in order to maximize the effectiveness of these worksheets, we highly recommend that you see a professional (e.g. therapists, counselors, psychologists, etc.) so that you can be provided with well-informed directives and even a treatment plan (if necessary).

How hard is it to accomplish an Intrusive Thoughts Worksheet?

These worksheets come in different forms and may have different exercises. Accomplishing them may take time but just by looking at them, you’ll notice that they are not hard to do. But, that doesn’t mean there won’t be any difficulty. These worksheets ask clients to engage with their thoughts and feelings, which might be hard for them. If you are a healthcare professional, give your client the time and space they need. If you are the client engaging with the worksheet, don’t push yourself. Take your time.

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