What is the theory behind this ABC Anxiety Worksheet?
The ABC model of Anxiety explains how a triggering event causes Alarm (A) sensations that are emotional or physiological reactions that lead to immediate actions based on Beliefs (B) drawn from prior experiences which lead to specific Coping Strategies (C) that are meant to relieve anxiety. The ABC model helps identify maladaptive beliefs and coping strategies that are worsening anxiety symptoms instead of reducing it.
How will the worksheet help?
The worksheet will help individuals identify their alarm sensations, consequent beliefs and the coping strategies that they use when an anxiety triggering event happens. It can help identify unhealthy thoughts and behavioural patterns that are aggravating their anxiety an d need to be addressed in therapy.
How to use the worksheet?
Instruct the client to use the worksheet whenever they feel anxious. Instruct them to notice and write down the emotional and physiological reactions in column A. The beliefs that follow and the meanings they attach to those reactions are to be written in column B. The actions that they perform to reduce the unpleasant sensations and emotions are to be written in Column C.
ABC Anxiety Worksheet
Use this worksheet as soon as possible after experiencing your anxiety symptoms.
The situation that has triggered Alarm sensations
What are you feeling? What bodily sensations do you notice?
What are the immediate thoughts that come to your mind? How are you interpreting the ‘alarm sensations’?
What specific behaviours or mental activities help reduce your anxiety in these situations? How do you calm yourself?
Bystritsky, A., Khalsa, S. S., Cameron, M. E., & Schiffman, J. (2013). Current diagnosis and treatment of anxiety disorders. P & T : a peer-reviewed journal for formulary management, 38(1), 30–57.
You can download this worksheet here.