Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) Tool Summary (Week 2)

Data Collection: The goal of data collection is not to get bogged down in extraneous details, but to find out what the activating event is and then elucidate the core beliefs in order to challenge them.


Scaling: Challenges black & white as well as either/or thinking.  It also challenges ‘tacking’ or when a person is providing conflicting descriptions.  First, ask the person to place themselves on a scale of 1-10 being clear about what 1 represents and what 10 represents.  Then ask them where they want to be on that same scale, and what it would take to get from where one is to where one wants to be.


Helicoptering: Zoom out like a helicopter hovering above, we’d be able to see the bigger picture. We could stand back, be less emotionally involved, and see a different perspective. Questions to employ this tool include:

-Self: What am I reacting to? What does this situation mean to me?

-Others: What would this look like to others involved?

-Outsider: How would this seem to someone outside the situation – not emotionally involved?

-Wise Mind: What would be the best thing to do – for me, for others, for this situation?


Telescoping: Telescoping is used to look both backward and forward in time to compare how perspective shifts when looking into the past or future. For instance, you may find that the negativity of a situation would wear off after a relatively short amount of time, or that something seems unbearable today that not too long ago would not have been a big deal.


Modeling: Ask them to imagine what someone they know and respect would do


Exposure: Challenges catastrophizing by asking someone to do something in real life (or imagine doing it) and check in about their anxiety level.


Reframing: Changing the meaning of an activating event, by turning negative thoughts or beliefs into ones that are neutral or positive.


Substitution: The conscious component of reframing; look at alternative views

Other tips for symptom relief:

-errors posing as solutions


-progressive relaxation

-guided imagery

-labeling thoughts

-consider who is on your team

-habituation (this is what happens when anxiety levels reduce as a result of an exposure)

-positive self-talk


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