ABC CBT worksheet

What is the theory behind the worksheet?

 The following worksheet is based on the REBT approach created by Albert Ellis. This approach has the goal of encouraging people to identify their irrational and negative thoughts (e.g. “Everyone hates me”) in order to change them into rational ones through testing (Ellis, 1962).

How will the worksheet help

This worksheet will help clients familiarize themselves with the ABC model of the Cognitive Behavioral Therapy approach? Using this worksheet, clients will be guided into identifying their negative and irrational thoughts in order to restructure them into rational and healthy ones.

How to use the worksheet

According to the Cognitive Behavioral Therapy theory, a stressful situation can influence how we process information, how we see the world around us, how we feel, and even how we behave. 

Thus, CBT aims to help you notice your negative thoughts and feelings in order to reshape them in a more positive way. Ellis’ ABC model is a common CBT technique whose goal is to challenge irrational thoughts and cognitive distortions in order to restructure beliefs and adapt a healthier response.

In this model, A stands for the activating event, B for the belief about the event, and C for the consequences (behavioral or emotional response). Use the following examples to identify your own thoughts.

ABC CBT worksheet

A = Activating eventB = BeliefC = Consequences
My husband is home late this evening.“He is cheating on me! He stopped loving me and it’s all my fault.”Sad, angry, guilty. Can’t sleep well and has many fights with the spouse.
My girlfriend broke up with me.“I can’t go on without her. I will never be able to find someone like her, let alone someone who loves me. All my relationships end up like this, there is no point in trying to date anymore.”Depressed. No interest in going out or trying to talk to other girls who seem interested in you.


Ellis, A. (1962). Reason and Emotion in Psychotherapy. New York: Stuart

You can download this worksheet here.

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