Review and analysis of thought records: Creating a coding system

Scott H. Waltman, Sarah A. Frankel, Brittany C. Hall, Michael A. Williston, Shari Jager-Hyman

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Background: Thought records are a core component of Cognitive Behavior Therapy. Over time, thought records have been modified to suit various needs or preferences. A diversity of thought records have been developed, which include differing components and cognitive change strategies. Yet, due to a lack of specificity in the literature and field, different thought records are often treated as though they are interchangeable. Limited extant literature suggests that differing thought records may have unique clinical effects. However, meta-analyzing the comparable or differing effects of the distinct extant thought records is impeded by the lack of a coding system for thought records. Objective: The current study sought to prepare a way for further understanding the differential utility and effectiveness of different iterations of thought records by creating a coding system, which is described in detail. This coding system will be used to guide future research into which thought records work best for which problems. Method: Thought records were gathered from seminal texts and solicited from the certified members of the Academy of Cognitive Therapy and the American Board of Behavioral and Cognitive Psychology. Results: In total, 110 non-identical thought records were gathered and coded into 55 unique combinations. These results demonstrate that the variability of thought records used by qualified therapists extends well beyond those found in seminal CBT texts. Conclusion: This broad diversity justifies the need for a coding system to inform future lines of research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)11-19
Number of pages9
JournalCurrent Psychiatry Research and Reviews
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2019


  • CBT
  • Cognitive restructuring
  • Daily thought record
  • Dysfunctional thought records
  • Socratic questioning
  • Thought log
  • Thought record

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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