Behavioural experiments

Use the behavioural experiment worksheet to help you to plan to face your fears.

When we avoid certain activities or situations it could be because we have made some assumptions that aren't necessarily true. For example, we might assume that the likelihood of certain events is greater than it is, or that the outcome of facing the situation will be worse than we can tolerate. We might assume that if the situation did turn out to be challenging that we wouldn't be able to cope with it or that we would have to deal with it alone and unaided.

The behavioural experiments worksheet asks us to identify the key assumption that we're making and then devise an experiment to test it. We start by identifying the situation or activity that we are avoiding and rate how strongly we believe it. We then devise an experiment to face that situation. We look at any unnecessary safety behaviours that we employ to deal with a potentially non-existent danger and how we could resist using them. We make a plan to try out the experiment and then evaluate the results in terms of how well the outcome fits our initial assumptions. Finally we re-rate our belief in the assumption and what we have learned.

Show instructions
What situation or activity would I like to cope with better?
What assumptions am I making about what would happen if I were to go into this situation or try this activity?
How strongly do I believe my assumption?
What experiment could I devise that would help me to test my assumption?
What problems might interfere with me learning from this experiment, such as subtle safety behaviours or avoidance?
What strategies do I need to put in place in order to carry out this experiment effectively?
Complete the following sections after you have carried out the experiment
Describe what happened: what was the outcome of this experiment?
How strongly do I now believe my assumption?
What have I learned from this experiment?

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