Biased expectations worksheet

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What is the theory behind the worksheet?

This worksheet is based on the REBT approach, meant to help clients identify irrational and negative thoughts that are often the source of their problems (Turner, 2016).

How will this worksheet help

The following worksheet will help you identify and explore the irrational and negative beliefs that lead you to unhealthy and biased expectations? Additionally, it will provide you guidance in challenging them, in order to make them more flexible and manageable.

How to use the worksheet

Sometimes, when we experience stressful situations, our core beliefs activate, resulting in negative thoughts about how things will definitely turn out in a bad way. We call this phenomenon “biased expectations”. We tend to overestimate the likelihood that bad things will happen, exaggerate how bad things will be, underestimate our ability to deal with said bad things and ignore the factors that suggest that things will not turn out as bad as we are expecting. This inevitably leads to feeling anxious and doubtful about our own abilities (Buschmann et al., 2017).

The following thought behavior is meant to help you challenge your biased expectations. Use the provided example to familiarize yourself with the diary’s structure and then use it to manage your own biased expectations.

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Buschmann, T., Horn, R. A., Blankenship, V. R., Garcia, Y. E., & Bohan, K. B. (2017). The Relationship Between Automatic Thoughts and Irrational Beliefs Predicting Anxiety and Depression. Journal of Rational-Emotive & Cognitive-Behavior Therapy, 36(2), 137–162.


Turner, M. J. (2016). Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT), Irrational and Rational Beliefs, and the Mental Health of Athletes. Frontiers in Psychology, 07.