What is the theory behind this Hindsight Bias CBT worksheet?
Highsight bias is a type of cognitive distortion or fault in our thinking that makes us believe the outcome of an event was just as we had predicted all along. In more common terms it is the ‘i knew this would happen’ bias.
Even though in reality, we have no evidence to prove that we were certain about the event’s outcome before it happened. But our mind tricks us into thinking that way leading to negative emotions such as guilt and shame for our past decisions that were made based on facts we knew then. It is impossible to know the true outcomes of our decisions beforehand but hindsight bias makes us believe we should have acted based on what we know now as opposed to what we knew then. .
This worksheet will target the hindsight bias using the thought challenging technique used in Cognitive Behavioral therapy
How will the worksheet help?
This worksheet uses a series of questions to challenge the hindsight bias in one’s thinking. It can be particularly helpful for clients with PTSD, depression and any other conditions where they are riddled with guilt and shame for making wrong decisions in the past. This will help them reframe their past and move on from ‘I should have done this’ to ‘I did my best with what I knew then’.
How to use the worksheet?
This worksheet can be used in counselling and therapeutic settings with clients whose thought patterns indicate the presence of the hindsight bias. Instruct them to write down a decision or action that they regret and answer the series of questions from left to right.
Hindsight Bias CBT Worksheet
Hindsight bias is a fault in our thinking that makes us believe the outcome of an event in the present is just as we had predicted in the past. Even though in reality, we could not possibly know what the future holds. This may make us regret our past actions or decisions and feel guilt or shame. Our past self made those decisions or took those actions based on what we knew then. If we truly knew what we know now, we would have acted differently.
|Write down the decision or action in the past that you regret now||What were the reasons behind your decision or action at that time?||Evaluate your decision or action based on these reasons that you knew of in the past.||What evidence do you have to support that you knew the current outcome back then?||Think of at least three alternative outcomes that could have happened.||The truth is that you did your best based on what you knew then.|
What would you have done differently if you actually knew what you know now?
Roehs, N. J. & Vohs, K, D, (2012) Hindsight Bias. Perspectives on Psychological Science 7(5) 411–426.
You can download this worksheet here.