Mental Health @ Home

A safe place to talk openly about mental health & illness

Free Mental Health Workbooks

free mental health workbooks & worksheets

There are a lot of excellent mental health resources out there, and quite a few of them are actually free. Here are some of the good mental health workbooks and worksheets that I’ve come across, most of which are available as printable PDFs. They’re based on therapeutic approaches that have proven to be effective.

This page is updated regularly, but the availability of these resources is subject to change without notice.

Table of Contents

Acceptance and commitment therapy (act), cognitive behavioural therapy (cbt), dialectical behaviour therapy (dbt), other mental health workbooks and worksheets, large collections of worksheets, resources on mental health @ home.

Acceptance and commitment therapy identifies fusion with thoughts and resistance to uncomfortable inner experiences as key sources of distress. The therapy works on increasing psychological flexibility and choosing committed actions based on values.

  • ACT for Anxiety Disorders worksheets : Dr. John Forsyth’s website has handout packs to accompany his books on ACT for anxiety
  • ACT Mindfully : Russ Harris’s site has worksheets from all of his books on ACT, including The Happiness Trap
  • ACT with Compassion: various handouts and worksheets
  • ACTivate Your Life : worksheets to accompany the book by the same name
  • Association for Contextual Behavioral Science : ACT videos and audio lessons
  • How to Adapt and Thrive in the Age of Anxiety workbook
  • Mindfulness and Acceptance-Based Group Therapy for Social Anxiety Disorder : a therapist manual and participant handouts
  • Portland Psychotherapy Clinic : ACT exercises and audio files
  • : 21 ACT Worksheets and Ways to Apply Acceptance & Commitment Therapy
  • When the Going Gets Tough, the Tough Get Mindful : A Toolkit Based on the Principles of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy – from Help With ACT
  • 6 ACT Conversations : audio e-learning program and accompanying worksheets

CBT is an evidence-based treatment for a variety of different mental illnesses. A key element of CBT is identifying evidence to challenge cognitive distortions . This can sometimes be difficult to do without working with a therapist, but there are plenty of self-help resources to help you try on your own.

Here are links to some free CBT worksheets and workbooks:

  • A Course in CBT Techniques: A Free Online CBT Workbook from Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Los Angeles
  • Anger Management for Substance Use Disorder and Mental Health Clients: Participant Workbook from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)
  • Antidepressant Skills Workbook from CAMHA: a good intro for people who are new to CBT for depression, but might feel a little too basic if you are familiar with CBT
  • Anxiety and Depression Student Workbook from the University of Arkansas
  • Anxiety Toolbox Student Workbook from Liberty University: sections on anxiety 101, automatic thoughts, and alternative responses, grounding, and self-care
  • Behavioural activation booklets from the NHS: this series of booklets focuses on the behavioural activation aspect of CBT for depression
  • Behavioral Activation for Depression workbook from the University of Michigan
  • CBT group program manuals for Depression and Anxiety from the University of Michigan: these manuals are meant to be used as part of a group program, but they’re clearly laid out and have exercises you can work on on your own
  • CBT+ Notebook : CBT handouts and worksheets from the Harborview Abuse & Trauma Center
  • CBT Skills Training Workbook : from the NHS, focused on low mood and anxiety
  • Centre for Clinical Interventions : this Australian organization has workbooks/worksheets for a wide variety of mental health concerns
  • Clinical Research Unit for Anxiety and Depression : workbooks for generalized anxiety disorder, PTSD, OCD, panic disorder, social phobia, and specific phobias
  • Cognitive Processing Therapy Patient Workbook
  • Anxiety-Busting: Challenging Your Thoughts
  • Busting the Blues
  • Managing Your Worries
  • Behavioural activation for depression
  • Graded exposure
  • Managing your worries
  • Overcoming perfectionism
  • Integrated CBT patient workbook from Dartmouth University
  • Living CBT self-help resources
  • Managing Depression : A Self-Help Skills Resource for Women Living with Depression During Pregnancy, After Delivery, and Beyond
  • Mind Over Mood – worksheets to accompany the book
  • NHS inform : self-help guides for anxiety, depression, trauma-informed CBT, and other topics
  • Self-Help Manual for Bulimia Nervosa from The Cullen Centre
  • Social Anxiety Group Participation Workbook from Hamilton Family Health Team: a patient manual for group therapy that’s laid out in a way that makes it pretty easy to use on your own
  • Stress management workbooks from SafeSpot
  • TF-CBT Workbook : trauma-focused CBT for teens
  • Think CBT Workbook : ThinkCBT also has other resources based on CBT, ACT, and compassion-focused therapy
  • Your Best You: Managing Your Anxiety from Queen’s University

DBT is very skill-based, and while it’s used most often for borderline personality disorder, many of the skills can also be useful to people with other mental health issues.

Here are links to some free DBT worksheets and workbooks:

  • DBT handouts from psychologist Dr. Linda Olson
  • DBT Fosters Recovery and Resiliency Handouts
  • DBT Peer Connections : DBT skills in a massively open online course format
  • DBT Skills Application : a DBT self-help site with links to skills worksheets
  • DBT Skills Handbook from Fulton State Hospital: available from a number of sources, including My Journey Through Madness
  • DBT Skills Workbook for Rec Therapy Sessions from RecTherapyToday
  • Dealing with Distress : distress tolerance workbook
  • : videos, written info, and worksheets
  • Diary card from University of Washington
  • Dr. Mark Purcell : DBT youth group manual (link goes straight to a .docx download)
  • : DBT skills micro-lessons, handouts, and worksheets
  • Mind Body Soul Therapy : free online mini DBT intro course
  • Now Matters Now: diary card | skills practice worksheet
  • Open-Minded Thinking DBT workbook
  • Regulator Workbook : DBT skills manual from Mission Australia
  • The DBT Homework Assignment Workbook : from Between Sessions Resources
  • Breaking Free of Addiction
  • Don’t Let Your Worries Run Your Life : Therapeutic Assignments to Help You Overcome Your Generalized Anxiety Disorder
  • Overcoming Depression : 44 Therapeutic Activities to Bring Happiness and Fulfillment Back into Your Life
  • Overcoming Your Binge Eating Disorder
  • Overcoming Your Dental Anxiety
  • Overcoming Your OCD : A Therapy Assignment Workbook
  • Panic Attack Workbook : focus is on practicing skills
  • The PTSD Workbook
  • Tools for Helping Anxious Teens Workbook
  • Your Most Important Assignment Is You : A Workbook of Mental Health Activities for Teens
  • Coping skills handouts & worksheets from Harborview Center for Sexual Assault & Traumatic Stress
  • Dealing with Psychosis Toolkit : this toolkit from Fraser Health Authority provides information about psychosis and skills that can help to manage it
  • Living Successfully With a Mood Disorder Plan workbook from the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA)
  • Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) Workbook by Ken Lunn
  • My Group Guide : many worksheets are for members only, but there are also quite a few free resources
  • Queens University self-help workbooks on improving mood , managing anxiety , and self-care
  • Seasons Therapy Anger Management Workbook
  • STAIR for trauma web group handouts & worksheets from Kaiser Permanente
  • The Self-Help Alliance: Building Better Boundaries
  • The Wellness Society has a guide on How to Beat the Winter Blues, a Coronavirus Anxiety Workbook, and lots of other free resources
  • Therapy worksheets from social worker Brian Konik
  • Wellness worksheets (e.g. positive self-talk, resilience, self-love) from Western Washington University Counseling Center
  • Your Recovery Journey workbook from the Schizophrenia Society of Canada
  • GetSelfHelp : worksheets galore on a variety of topics
  • : info and worksheets based on a number of different therapy models, including CBT, DBT, and positive psychotherapy
  • Psychology Tools : has a wide variety of worksheets, including CBT and DBT-based
  • Therapist Aid : worksheets that are geared for therapists to use with their clients.
  • Mental Health Coping Toolkit : has a broad collection of resources to support mental health and well-being
  • Mental Health Resource Directory : has a collection of useful mental health websites and apps
  • So You’ve Just Been Diagnosed With… [a Mental Disorder] : brings together info, advice, and resources from people who’ve been there
  • Therapy Tools for Mental Health : a collection of tools from ACT, CBT, DBT, and more

Share this:

9 thoughts on “free mental health workbooks”.

' src=

I hope you find it helpful 🌼

' src=

I’m glad 🌼

Yes, they are.

Comments are closed.

Counseling Library

  • Morning Light Counseling
  • Handouts, Depression
  • Resource List, Depression
  • Intro - Steps to Healing
  • 1. Learn About Depression
  • 2. Understand Causes
  • 3. Identify Solutions
  • 4. Build a Lifestyle of Joy
  • Transcript, Christ-C. Healing
  • LDS Articles on Depression
  • Best Books on Depression
  • Exercise and Depression
  • "Chemical Imbalance"?
  • Grief / Loss
  • Anxiety / Self-Doubt
  • Anger / Contention
  • Handouts, Abuse / Trauma
  • Best Books Abuse / Trauma
  • LDS Articles, Abuse
  • Addiction, General
  • Defending Against Pornography
  • LDS Articles on Sexual Addiction
  • Promoting Respect Handouts (LDS)
  • Best Books on Sexual Addiction
  • Spouse Support
  • Dealing with His Porn Problem
  • Checklist: Reactions to Spouse's Porn Use
  • Best Books for Spouses
  • Communication
  • Personality Types
  • Gender Differences
  • Physical Wellness
  • Emotional Wellness
  • Stress Management
  • Time Management
  • Spirituality
  • Productivity
  • Handouts on Depression
  • Handouts on CBT
  • Handouts on Abuse / Trauma
  • Handouts on Gender Differences
  • Handouts on Personality Types
  • Handouts on Emotional Wellness
  • LDS Articles on Healing Abuse
  • LDS Articles on Marriage
  • LDS Articles on Families
  • LDS Articles on Adversity
  • LDS Articles on Simplifying
  • Featured Articles
  • Carrie Wrigley

Handouts on CBT Skills and Strategies


Summarizing skills and techniques for applying CBT (Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy), one of the top methods for overcoming depression, anxiety, anger, relationship problem, and other issues.


1 - Handouts on:   Overview of CBT Skills and Principles 2 - Handouts on:   Replacing Negative Thoughts 3 - Handouts on:   CBT Logs and Worksheets


1 - Handouts on:    Overview of CBT Skills and Principles

1-1)   10 Forms of Twisted Thinking - And How to Replace Them (1 p. ) An overview of 10 thought patterns that create and maintain emotional distress; their negative impact; and substitutions for each negative thought pattern. (Identifying and replacing these is the basis of CBT.)

1-2)   ABC's of RET (1 p.) Outlines how a cognitive model (replacing negative thoughts) compares with a stimulus-response model. (Note - RET was a predecessor of CBT, laying the foundation of understanding how thoughts affect feelings, and how thought replacement can improve mood.)

1-3)   Cognitive Triad (1 p.) A chart summarizing 3 major areas of thinking affected negatively by depression and other emotional problems. (Replacing these 3 areas with more positive attitudes is a core task in CBT.)

2 - Handouts on:  Replacing Negative Thoughts

2-1)   Replacing "All or Nothing Thinking" and "Mental Filter" (1 p.) Summarizes replacement strategies for Thought Distortions #1 (All or Nothing Thinking" and #3 (Negative Mental Filter).

2-2)   Gratitude Journal - Cultivating Positive Awareness  (1 p.) A simple but effective strategy for replacing  Thought Distortion #3, Negative Mental Filter.  Helpful for adults, youth, and children.

2-3)   Decatastrophizing - Stopping the Anxiety Cycle  (2 p.) A replacement strategy for  Thought Distortion #5, Jumping to Conclusions.  Page one outlines the 4-stage process of how anxiety develops, and how to replace it; Page 2 provides a worksheet to guide the change process.

2-4)   Replacing the "Should's" (1 p.) Identifies a protocol for replacing Thought Distortion #8, Should Statements.

2-5)   "Blame Pie" - Replacing Blame or Self-Blame  (1 p.) An effective replacement for  Thought Distortion #10, Blame or Self-Blame.  This thought pattern is a significant contributor to depression, anger, and other problems. Replacing it can give significant emotional relief.

2-6)  Learned Optimism - Replacing the 3 P's of Pessimism  (1 p.) A pessimistic attitude both precedes and follows depression. Learn to identify and replace the "interpretive style" or mindset of pessimism that can make you vulnerable to deeper emotional challenges.

3 - Handouts on:  CBT Logs and Worksheets

3-1)   Mood Log 1: Identifying (1 p. ) A form to help you log negative triggers, thoughts, and feelings. First step in CBT-based recovery.

3-2)   Mood Log 2: Replacing (1 p.) A continuation of Mood Log 1, when you are ready to replaced identified negative thoughts.

3-3)   Vertical Columned Timeline - The Mosaic (1 p.) A form for creating a vertical timeline or life overview, looking at major events, both positive and negative, to see life in perspective.

3-4)   Weighing the Pro's and Con's (1 p.) A form to help you evaluate the costs and benefits of maintaining or changing a given thought, behavior, or habit.

-----------------------------------  See all Handouts topics

Contact Info

9055 S. 1300 E. Suite 24,  Sandy, Utah, 84094 Phone: 801-598-4175 Email: [email protected]

This site is an affiliate of  Morning Light Publishing. See catalog of sister sites.  


Send us a message

Our Other Websites

Counseling Practice: Morning Light Counseling   Inspirational Music: Morning Hope Music Music for Kids:  Character Education Music Personal Site:

(c) 2023 Morning Light Counseling

  • Relationships

Mental health worksheets: Take 20% off your of $200 or more by using coupon code "nov2023" at checkout!

  • Forgot Password?
  • Add Practice Listing
  • Terms and Conditions


CBT Worksheets for Depression to Use in Your Private Practice

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is one of the most widely used forms of therapy, and for good reason. Many mental health professionals use this therapy technique for a wide range of conditions, including different forms of depression . Having the right tools is an important part of providing effective treatment. In this post, we will highlight 15 CBT worksheets for depression that can help you deliver cognitive behavioral therapy more effectively to your clients.

Why CBT for Depression

Depression is one of the most common psychiatric disorders that can occur in people of all ages around the world. According to the National Institute of Health ,

“Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is one of the most evidence-based psychological interventions for the treatment of several psychiatric disorders such as depression, anxiety disorders, somatoform disorder, and substance use disorder. The uses are recently extended to psychotic disorders, behavioral medicine, marital discord, stressful life situations, and many other clinical conditions. A sufficient number of researches have been conducted and shown the efficacy of CBT in depressive disorders. A meta-analysis of 115 studies has shown that CBT is an effective treatment strategy for depression and combined treatment with pharmacotherapy is significantly more effective than pharmacotherapy alone. Evidence also suggests that relapse rate of patient treated with CBT is lower in comparison to the patients treated with pharmacotherapy alone.”

CBT is one of the most widely used types of therapy for depression with a goal of:

  • Uncover unhealth thinking patterns
  • Replacing negative thoughts with positive thoughts in real-time
  • Reduce negative or unhelpful thoughts
  • Experience a better quality of life

The next sections will outline 15 different CBT worksheets for depression that you can use with your clients:

1. ABC Model Worksheet

In cognitive behavioral therapy, the ABC model is a framework used to help change thoughts. The goal of this worksheet is to challenge negative beliefs and develop more practical, rational ways to deal with upsetting situations.

Our CBT ABC Model Worksheet is designed to help your clients change irrational thoughts.


2. Triangle Worksheet

Thinking negatively is a common human trait. We actively search for problems so that we can be prepared for them. However, This negative thinking typically does the opposite of helping us and can worsen a client’s depressive symptoms.

Our CBT Triangle Worksheet is designed to help your clients change negative patterns of thought and can help with depression.

3. Behavioral Experiment Worksheet

A behavioral experiment is a CBT technique that involves testing negative thoughts (automatic) and then by reassessing beliefs and assumptions.

Our Behavioral Experiment Worksheet is an effective tool to help your clients cope in challenging or stressful situations:

4. Continuum Worksheet

The Continuum Technique is a tool used in CBT to help people challenge irrational beliefs about themselves or the world around them. This simple worksheet will help your clients contrast potentially harmful beliefs that they may simply accept as truth or allow to remain unchallenged. These can worsen conditions like depression.

Our CBT Continuum Worksheet is an effective tool to challenge negative beliefs your clients have about themselves:

5. Belief Driven Formulation Worksheet

CBT teaches that our behaviors, feelings, and thoughts are determined by what we believe and assume at our core. This Belief Driven Formulation worksheet will help you to explore what influences your behaviors, feelings, and thoughts.

Our Belief Driven Formulation Worksheet will help your clients explore what influences their thoughts that may be contributing to their depressive state:

7. Cognitive Distortions Worksheet

People experiencing anxiety, depression, or other mental health conditions often have unhealthy thinking patterns. Everyone experiences negative thoughts, but when they become more frequent and stronger, they can create problems. According to , “ Cognitive distortions are negative or irrational patterns of thinking. These negative thought patterns can play a role in diminishing your motivation, lowering your self-esteem , and contributing to problems like anxiety, depression, and substance use.”

Our Cognitive Distortions Worksheet can help your clients recognize irrational thought patterns that may be harming them:

7. Core Beliefs Worksheet

The core beliefs we hold have a big impact on our mental health and well-being. Core beliefs are our central ideas that we see about ourselves, others, and the world at large. Our core beliefs can negatively effect us and cause depression.

Our CBT Core Beliefs Worksheet is a helpful worksheet to help your clients write down how they think about themselves, others, the world, and the future:

8. Decatastrophizing Worksheet

When we are struggling with depression, it’s easy to think of the worst. Thinking the worst will happen is called catastrophizing. This behavior can cause us to act irrationally and make our situations worse than they are. This decatastrophizing worksheet will help your clients think differently about their situation.

Our Decatastrophizing Worksheet will help your clients think differently about the situation they’re in:

9. Problem Solving Worksheet

Problem solving is an important intervention whenever we are presented with difficulties problems, and repetitive thoughts or worry, which often influence depressive symptoms. Effective problem solving will help clients generate solutions when they are feeling “stuck.”

Our CBT Problem Solving Worksheet is a helpful tool to help your clients think through their problem and come up with effective solutions:

10. Socratic Questions Worksheet

Our thoughts come and go. Because our thoughts can control our emotions and the way we act, it’s important to challenge any thoughts that can cause us harm, such as those that increase depressive symptoms. Socratic questioning is a technique for exploring ideas, emotions, and thoughts.

Our Socratic Questions Worksheet will help your clients explore their thoughts to help them reduce thoughts that cause anxiety:

11. Thinking Errors Worksheet

How we think and what we believe plays a major role in affecting our thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. When a person has a pattern of negative thinking, it can skew how they see and understand a situation.

Our Thinking Errors Worksheet will help your clients practice balanced thoughts when presented with examples you create:

12. Thought Record Worksheet

The purpose of a thought record is to get you into the habit of paying attention to your thoughts and working to change them.

Our Thought Record worksheet can teach your clients pay attention to their thoughts and make efforts to change them for the better:

13. Challenging Beliefs Worksheet

Irrational thoughts or beliefs can pop into our head at any time. They can take hold and cause us long-term pain and depression.

Our Challenging Beliefs worksheet can teach your clients examine their thoughts to consider if they are rational, factual, extreme, or not factual:

14. Cognitive Restructuring Worksheet

Also known as cognitive reframing, cognitive restructuring is a helpful process that allows your clients to identify and understand unhelpful thoughts they may be having and then challenge and replace their automatic thoughts (cognitive distortions).

Our Cognitive Restructuring Worksheet will help your clients challenge their irrational thoughts and replace them with more helpful thoughts:

15. Mindfulness Worksheets Bundle

Mindfulness is a powerful technique that teaches people to consciously be present, focused, and relaxed in the current moment.

Our Mindfulness Worksheets Bundle will help your clients lessen negative thoughts that can cause anxiety and depression:

Conclusion on CBT Worksheets for Depression

Depression is a serious mental health condition that can affect anyone at anytime. When treating your patients with depression, having the right tools makes a big difference. Our CBT worksheets for depression can help you with some of the heavy lifting. Thanks for reading our post!

Want all the above CBT worksheets plus more? Download our CBT Worksheets bundle:


TherapyByPro is an online mental health directory that connects mental health pros with clients in need. If you’re a mental health professional, you can Join our community and add your practice listing here . We have assessments, practice forms, and worksheet templates mental health professionals can use to streamline their practice. View all of our mental health forms, worksheet, and assessments here .

Anthony Bart

Author: Anthony Bart

Anthony Bart is a huge mental health advocate. He has primarily positioned his marketing expertise to work with mental health professionals so that they can help as many patients as possible. He is currently the owner of BartX, TherapistX, and TherapyByPro.

Ready to Take Your Practice to the Next Level?

Explore our great partner sites to help you improve your practice:



cbt workbook for depression pdf

  • Easy-to-use notes and documentation template library
  • Increase client satisfaction and decrease no-shows with automated appointment reminders
  • Client portal offers clients one easy place where they can schedule, complete paperwork, pay, and more

TherapyByPro Special Offer: Get up to 2 months free, No Credit Card Required

cbt workbook for depression pdf

  • $60 to $70 per week, billed every 4 weeks
  • Receive therapy via messaging, phone, or live video
  • Flexible option to cancel at any time

Take 20% off your first month

cbt workbook for depression pdf

  • $69 to $129 per week, billing flexible
  • Psychiatric services and prescription management available

Use code 'SPACE' for $100 off your first subscription

cbt workbook for depression pdf

Join Over 3000 Other Mental Health Pros

Subscribe to our TherapyByPro community to receive tips to help you better serve your clients and grow your practice.

Mental Health Worksheets

Mental Health Worksheets

Counselling theories.

Search by topic:

Table of Contents

CBT for Depression Worksheet

On this page, we will provide you with a CBT for  Depression  Worksheet  It will help you to deal with depression by using CBT. 

What is the CBT for  Depression  Worksheet ?

Cognitive-behavioral therapy is a great way to deal with your anxiety and depression. It is a collaborative teaching approach that works on your cognitions and changes your behavior. Depression is something that doesn’t let you think straight and it is a serious mental disorder that needs to be treated and dealt with with care, it exhibits different symptoms in different people. Gender plays a strong relationship in depression symptoms. Females tend to suffer more than men. The worksheet will help you to deal with your depressive symptoms with the help of cognitive behavioral therapy techniques. 

How will the CBT for  Depression  Worksheet help?

In this worksheet,  you’ll learn how the behavior directly impacts the mindset and how to equip yourself in difficult circumstances that will improve your mood. The worksheet will help you in making you mindful of ur thoughts and actions and how they keep adding to your depressive symptoms.

Instructions for the CBT for  Depression  Worksheet

Whenever you feel down, take out the worksheet and follow each step to better deal with depressive symptoms.

On this page, we provided you with a CBT for  Depression  Worksheet Hopefully, it helped you to deal with depression by using CBT. 

If you have any questions or comments please let us know.

Was this helpful?

Furlong, M., & Oei, T. P. (2002). Changes to automatic thoughts and dysfunctional attitudes in group CBT for depression. Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapy , 30 (3), 351-360.

Barton, S., Armstrong, P. (2018). CBT for Depression: An Integrated Approach. United Kingdom: SAGE Publications.

15 Behavioral Activation Worksheets for Depression & Anxiety

Behavioral Activation

At its core, BA aims to enable individuals to reengage with their lives through specific activation techniques (Westbrook, Kennerley, & Kirk, 2011).

Activation techniques help combat behavioral patterns of withdrawal, avoidance, and inactivity, which may perpetuate depressive symptoms by causing additional, secondary problems.

For example, a common clinical symptom of depression is lethargy, where an individual battles to get out of bed. This may lead to skipping work or avoiding seeing friends, resulting in job loss or impaired social relationships.

BA also encourages positive reinforcement in an individual’s environment in order to help increase positive behaviors and reduce those that maintain the depressive cycle.

In this article, we’ve collated some key worksheets and resources to help your clients engage in healthy behaviors on a regular basis.

Before you continue, we thought you might like to download our three Stress & Burnout Prevention Exercises (PDF) for free . These science-based exercises will equip you and those you work with, with tools to manage stress better and find a healthier balance in your life.

This Article Contains:

4 best behavioral activation worksheets, cbt worksheets for depression and anxiety,’s cbt resources, a take-home message.

When in the depths of depression, becoming behaviorally active may feel overwhelming. Breaking tasks and activities down into manageable chunks is an important step in helping clients overcome this.

One practical approach to address this is through the use of worksheets that encourage the application of activation techniques to everyday life. Worksheets can further help to track a client’s progress and can facilitate the use of positive reinforcement, which can motivate them to implement positive behaviors.

To help your clients get going, we’ve assembled some of the best behavioral activation worksheets to promote getting active in a healthy way.

Activity Schedule

Put simply, an Activity Schedule is a diary sheet for each day of the week, with each day divided into one-hour blocks. Because depression is likely to affect a person’s motivation levels, even scheduling basic daily tasks can help them get going.

Creating structure in the daily routine can help regulate sleeping and eating patterns, which are often disrupted when feeling low. It can also help clients gradually face up to activities they’ve been avoiding, such as hobbies and social engagements.

Activity Menu

For depressed individuals, it can sometimes be hard to visualize activities that they may find enjoyable, let alone actually do them. This Activity Menu can help identify tasks that a person can engage with as they start to get more active.

It targets some key life areas that can help people feel better:

  • Connecting with others
  • Expanding the mind
  • Caring for others
  • Planning and goal setting

The activity menu is a useful tool for gradually building a client’s favorite activities into their daily schedule.

Behavior Contract

As part of promoting healthy behaviors and minimizing negative ones, it is important to surround yourself with people and environments in which this is encouraged. While self-motivation is the key to success, support from others who care about you can certainly aid in your progress.

Lejuez, Hopko, LePage, Hopko, and McNeil (2001) suggest talking to someone trustworthy, such as friends and family, about the need to increase healthy behaviors and avoid those that are detrimental to wellbeing. Clients may wish to ask their loved ones to help them pay attention to positive, rather than negative, experiences.

For instance, they may ask friends to only let them spend 25% of their time together talking about their problems and what’s bothering them, leaving the rest of the time to speak about positive experiences or a fun activity that they can do.

This Behavior Contract is a useful way for clients to create a concrete agreement with their friends and family, identifying how they can help the client build better wellbeing.

Pleasurable Activity Journal

When a person is clinically depressed, they can experience anhedonia, which is a lack of pleasure in activities that they used to find enjoyable (Treadway & Zald, 2011).

It can be useful for clients to outline which activities they typically enjoy and gradually build them into their recovery plan. It is further useful to track how pleasurable the client finds such activities over time, to monitor progress. The Pleasurable Activity Journal  is a useful tool to help with this.

CBT Depression

It examines the relationship between a person’s thoughts, feelings, and behaviors and helps individuals to understand and alter negative patterns.

One of the core concepts of CBT is that you ‘feel the way you think.’ CBT works on the idea that if you can think in more helpful ways, you can live a more fulfilling, productive, and happy life.

When faced with emotional difficulties, it’s easy to think that stressful life situations are the direct cause. However, in reality, how you feel and behave are often influenced by your perceptions, thoughts, and beliefs about the events.

With this in mind, we’ve put together key worksheets to help your clients challenge unhelpful thinking.

Increasing awareness of cognitive distortions

Cognitive distortions, or ‘thinking errors,’ are habitual ways of thinking that are often inaccurate and negatively biased. Most of us will experience some form of skewed thinking at least once in our lives, so it’s important to learn how to recognize and tackle these distortions when they arise.

Some of the most common cognitive distortions include:

  • Catastrophizing When we jump to the worst possible conclusion, often using very little information to reach our decision.
  • All-or-nothing thinking When we think of situations, people, and events in extremes.
  • Overgeneralizing When we draw very broad conclusions based on limited experience or information.
  • Mind reading When we think that we know what another person is thinking or feeling, without them actually saying so.
  • Fortune telling When we predict negative events in the future, without realistically considering the chances of that outcome.
  • Labeling When we attach a single negative descriptor to events and people (including ourselves).
  • Emotional reasoning When we believe something to be true because it feels true.
  • Personalizing When we think everything people say or do is directly related to us in some way.

The Unhelpful Thinking Styles worksheet will help clients become more aware of any distorted thinking so that its influence on their feelings and behaviors is reduced. This resource is particularly relevant when working with clients for whom maladaptive thinking styles are linked to symptoms of depression.

Thought Record (Cognitive Restructuring) Worksheet

As part of assessing thinking and identifying cognitive distortions, it’s useful to keep a thought record and consider ways to restructure unhelpful thoughts and perceptions.

The Thought Record worksheet will help clients to:

  • Pause and reflect on their thoughts
  • Identify and understand potential triggering events
  • Recognize negative automatic thoughts
  • Assess their emotional reaction
  • Create alternative thoughts through reinterpretation (restructuring)
  • Reassess their emotional response


The term ‘ catastrophizing ’ originated from the work of Albert Ellis (1962) and was later extended upon by Beck, Rush, Shaw, and Emery (1979) to describe a maladaptive thinking style employed by individuals with anxiety or depression.

Essentially, catastrophic thinking is when we jump to the worst possible conclusions, with very little hard evidence (Quartana, Campbell, & Edwards, 2009). For example, a student who catastrophizes may think they will be kicked out of a program after failing one test. They may drop out, concluding that they will be a ‘failure’ for life.

In reality, failing to pass one test is unlikely to result in such a catastrophe as being removed from a program, and this thinking style is unhelpful to the individual trying to reach their goals.

Use this Decatastrophizing Worksheet to help clients restructure their thoughts when they feel overwhelmed by catastrophic thinking.

Recognizing Rumination

Rumination, which is characterized by persistent negative thinking, has been identified as a key risk factor for depression (Joormann, Yoon, & Zetsche, 2007; Nolen-Hoeksema, Wisco, & Lyubomirsky, 2008).

Ruminating on negative thoughts means there is less space in our working memory to focus on other information, which may be more positive.

Indeed, rumination has been associated with deficits in cognitive control, meaning it’s harder to direct our attention toward goal-directed tasks and away from distracting irrelevant information (Beckwé, Deroost, Koster, De Lissnyder, & De Raedt, 2014; Hallion, Ruscio, & Jha, 2014).

Commonly, ruminative thinking may involve persistently thinking about events that have already happened or questions that cannot be answered, such as:

“Why do I always feel this way?” “If only I hadn’t said that to him.” “If only I’d done X, Y, or Z differently.”

The Recognizing Rumination worksheet can help clients identify persistent thoughts that are interfering with their day-to-day lives.

cbt workbook for depression pdf

Download 3 Free Stress & Burnout Prevention Exercises (PDF)

These detailed, science-based exercises will equip you or your clients with tools to manage stress better and find a healthier balance in their life.

Download 3 Stress & Burnout Prevention Exercises Pack (PDF)

By filling out your name and email address below.

  • Email Address *
  • Your Expertise * Your expertise Therapy Coaching Education Counseling Business Healthcare Other
  • Phone This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Table of Common Core Beliefs

‘Core beliefs’ refer to a person’s ‘bottom line’ (Fennell, 1997) – their enduring, fundamental beliefs about themselves, others, and the world around them. Core beliefs are not always negative; however, those that are can be problematic.

A number of factors characterize core beliefs:

  • They are often developed early as a result of childhood experience. They can, however, change later in life (e.g., as a result of adult trauma ).
  • They may exist out of conscious awareness.
  • They can be exhibited through absolute statements and assumptions such as ‘the world is a terrible place.’

Because these beliefs are deeply held at our core, we may not be particularly aware of them. The Table of Common Core Beliefs  can help your clients identify which negative core beliefs they are holding on to.

The Downward Arrow Core Belief Technique

The Downward Arrow Core Belief Technique is a method of Socratic questioning that can help identify problematic core beliefs. It involves identifying situations that bring about negative emotions such as depression, guilt, or shame.

Once a situation that brings up negative feelings has been identified, the client has to define what negative automatic thoughts arise in relation to the situation. The next step (narrowing down) encourages the client to keep asking themselves what the previous answer is likely to represent until they reach an absolute, global statement (reflecting their core belief).

SMART goal setting

One of the fundamental priorities of CBT is to help clients move away from their problems and toward their goals. For therapy to be most effective, it is typical to work toward mutually agreed upon, clearly defined milestones.

Goal setting indicates the possibility for change, which can give hope and reduce helplessness in the face of overwhelming emotions and difficult situations. Many individuals cannot overcome their problems because their goals are too vague. Detailing goals using the SMART technique can help with this.

Put simply, goals should be:

Specific Measurable Attainable Realistic Time-bound (allowing enough time for achievement)

Specifying goals with this level of detail can give clients a sense of autonomy and help break milestones down into manageable steps.

Our free Positive CBT Exercises Pack includes three resources that we believe to be most useful for helping clients to alter their negative patterns of thoughts, feelings, and behaviors, while promoting a positive view of the self.

This pack features three of our top tools from the Positive Psychology Toolkit© , all of which center on the theme of positive CBT:

  • Solution-Focused Guided Imagery Exercise This visualization helps clients recognize how they can apply their strengths to overcome a problem or adversity. In this exercise, clients take forty minutes to picture a problem in detail, imagine a reality where it is resolved, and leverage their strengths to set goals that may help bring about this reality.
  • Reframing Critical Self-Talk This exercise helps clients strengthen awareness of inner criticism and promote a more self-compassionate stance towards the self. To do this, clients will commit one week to noticing and pausing when critical self-talk arises and consciously rephrase this talk to be more in line with how they’d speak to a loved one.
  • Strengths Spotting by Exception Finding This exercise helps you assess a client’s ability to deal with challenges while also increasing their confidence. In it, clients will reflect on past challenges and the strengths they used to overcome them to discover how they may apply these strengths to their present problems.

17 Positive CBT Exercises

If you’re looking for more science-based ways to help others through CBT, this collection contains 17 validated positive CBT tools for practitioners . Use them to help others overcome unhelpful thoughts and feelings and develop more positive behaviors.

It is natural that when we are feeling low, our motivation levels for common tasks and previously enjoyable activities can take a nosedive. This means there are fewer opportunities for positive and rewarding experiences. Often, the less we do, the worse we feel, leading to a perpetual cycle of inactivity and low mood.

Behavioral activation has proven to be an effective treatment for clinical depression (Jacobson et al., 1996). It helps clients to create structure with their day-to-day tasks while aiding in the rediscovery of recreational activities that they once found pleasurable. Reinforcing healthy, enjoyable activities can go a long way in helping a depressed individual feel better.

Sometimes getting going is the hardest part, but with some structure in place and a little nudge in the right direction, we can all move toward healthier, happier behaviors.

We hope you enjoyed reading this article. Don’t forget to download our three Stress & Burnout Prevention Exercises (PDF) for free .

  • Bannink, F. (2012). Practicing positive CBT: From reducing distress to building success . John Wiley & Sons.
  • Beck, A. T., Rush, A. J., Shaw, B. F., & Emery, G. (1979). Cognitive therapy of depression . Guilford Press.
  • Beckwé, M., Deroost, N., Koster, E. H. W., De Lissnyder, E., & De Raedt, R. (2014). Worrying and rumination are both associated with reduced cognitive control. Psychological Research , 78 (5), 651–660.
  • Ellis, A. (1962). Reason and emotion in psychotherapy . Lyle Stuart.
  • Fennell, M. J. (1997). Low self-esteem: A cognitive perspective. Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapy , 25 (1), 1–26.
  • Hallion, L. S., Ruscio, A. M., & Jha, A. P. (2014). Fractionating the role of executive control in control over worry: A preliminary investigation. Behaviour Research and Therapy , 54 , 1–6.
  • Jacobson, N. S., Dobson, K .S., Truax, P. A., Addis, M. E., Koerner, K., Gollan, J. K., … Prince, S. E. (1996). A component analysis of cognitive-behavioral treatment for depression. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology , 64 (2), 295–304.
  • Joormann, J., Yoon, K. L., & Zetsche, U. (2007). Cognitive inhibition in depression. Applied and Preventive Psychology , 12 (3), 128–139.
  • Lejuez, C. W., Hopko, D. R., LePage, J. P., Hopko, S. D., & McNeil, D. W. (2001). A brief behavioral activation treatment for depression. Cognitive and Behavioral Practice , 8 (1), 164–175.
  • Mazar, A., & Wood, W. (2018). Defining habit in psychology. In B. Verplanken (Ed.). The psychology of habit: Theory, mechanisms, change, and contexts . Springer.
  • Nolen-Hoeksema, S., Wisco, B. E., & Lyubomirsky, S. (2008). Rethinking rumination. Perspectives on Psychological Science , 3 (5), 400–424.
  • Quartana, P. J., Campbell, C. M., & Edwards, R. R. (2009). Pain catastrophizing: A critical review. Expert Review of Neurotherapeutics , 9 (5), 745–758.
  • Treadway, M. T., & Zald, D. H. (2011). Reconsidering anhedonia in depression: Lessons from translational neuroscience. Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews , 35 (3), 537–555.
  • Westbrook, D., Kennerley, H., & Kirk, J. (2011). An introduction to cognitive behaviour therapy: Skills and applications . Sage.
  • Wood, W., & Rünger, D. (2016). Psychology of habit. Annual Review of Psychology , 67 , 289–314.

cbt workbook for depression pdf

Share this article:

Article feedback

Let us know your thoughts cancel reply.

Your email address will not be published.

Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment.

Related articles

Trauma Responses

7 Trauma Response Types & How to Recognize Them

Over-sharing. Over-explaining. Trauma dumping. Hyperindependence. Hypersexualization. People pleasing. Do these sound like common traits your clients have? These may not be character traits but, instead, [...]

Diaphragmatic breathing exercises

6 Best Diaphragmatic Breathing Exercises to Reduce Anxiety

Our brain controls our breathing largely without conscious awareness. We shower, watch football, listen to music, and sleep while our respiratory system functions in the [...]

cbt workbook for depression pdf

7 Best Breathwork Techniques & Exercises to Use

‘Feeling stressed? Then just breathe.’ We all know that paying attention to our breath can have a soothing and calming effect. This simple practice of [...]

Read other articles by their category

  • Body & Brain (42)
  • Coaching & Application (57)
  • Compassion (26)
  • Counseling (51)
  • Emotional Intelligence (24)
  • Gratitude (17)
  • Grief & Bereavement (21)
  • Happiness & SWB (39)
  • Meaning & Values (25)
  • Meditation (20)
  • Mindfulness (44)
  • Motivation & Goals (43)
  • Optimism & Mindset (32)
  • Positive CBT (25)
  • Positive Communication (20)
  • Positive Education (44)
  • Positive Emotions (30)
  • Positive Leadership (13)
  • Positive Psychology (32)
  • Positive Workplace (33)
  • Productivity (16)
  • Relationships (42)
  • Resilience & Coping (34)
  • Self Awareness (21)
  • Self Esteem (36)
  • Software & Apps (22)
  • Strengths & Virtues (30)
  • Stress & Burnout Prevention (33)
  • Theory & Books (44)
  • Therapy Exercises (36)
  • Types of Therapy (58)

cbt workbook for depression pdf

Save up to 78% site-wide with Black Friday.

Invest in your practice and professional development this holiday season with savings across our entire collection.

Black Friday Sale - Up to 78%


  1. Download The Anxiety and Depression Workbook: Simple, Effective CBT

    cbt workbook for depression pdf

  2. CBT Workbook: The Easy CBT Toolbox for Managing Anxiety, Depression

    cbt workbook for depression pdf

  3. The Complete CBT Guide

    cbt workbook for depression pdf

  4. Ten Minute CBT Worksheets and Handouts for Depression and Anxiety

    cbt workbook for depression pdf

  5. The CBT Art Workbook for Coping with Depression by Jennifer Guest

    cbt workbook for depression pdf

  6. Keep Pain in the Past : Getting Over Trauma, Grief and the Worst That's

    cbt workbook for depression pdf



    The (Traditional) Cognitive Conceptualization Diagram allows you to extract a great deal of information about clients' most central beliefs and key behavioral patterns; it helps you understand the connections between clients' childhood experiences, the development of core beliefs about the self, world and future, and the ways in which clients co...

  2. PDF Individual Therapy Manual for Cognitive-Behavioral Treatment of Depression

    Are you looking for a comprehensive and effective guide to treat depression with cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT)? This manual, developed by RAND researchers and based on extensive clinical experience, provides step-by-step instructions and exercises for individual CBT sessions. Learn how to identify and challenge negative thoughts, cope with stress, and improve your mood and functioning.

  3. PDF Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) Skills Workbook

    This workbook has been designed to be used whilst attending one of our Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) Skills workshops or with support from your Psychological Wellbeing Practitioner (PWP). Low mood, anxiety, worry, stress and panic can affect many people at different times in their lives.

  4. Free Mental Health Workbooks: ACT, CBT, DBT, and More

    Here are links to some free CBT worksheets and workbooks: A Course in CBT Techniques: A Free Online CBT Workbook from Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Los Angeles Anger Management for Substance Use Disorder and Mental Health Clients: Participant Workbook from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)


    Francine Broder, PsyD Clinical Psychologist, Beck Institute for Cognitive Behavior Therapy RECOGNIZING THE SIGNS OF DEPRESSION "I'm down all the time. Nothing helps." "I can't get myself to do much work. I'm just getting by." "I don't enjoy things the way I used to." "Everything is falling apart. It's hopeless." "There's something wrong with me.

  6. PDF Beating Depression: Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Patient Workbook

    CBT can help you to learn ways to stop spiraling down into feelings of depression. This illustration shows that "giving in" to the "slowed-down" feeling that often comes with depression leads to a . downward spiral: do less, feel worse, do even less, etc. In therapy, you will learn ways of stopping this

  7. PDF Self Help for Depression

    This workbook aims to help you to: Recognise whether you may be experiencing symptoms of depression. Understand what depression is, what causes it and what keeps it going. Find ways to understand, manage or overcome your depression. Do I have symptoms of depression?

  8. PDF Anxiety & Depression Student Workbook

    Getting Unstuck Workbook (479) 575-5276 (24/7) Welcome! Welcome to Anxiety and Depression Reduction Workshop, a workshop intended to help increase your understanding and knowledge about anxiety and depression. The goal of this seminar is to provide you with life-long tools you can use while


    This highly practical resource contains a multitude of tips and exercises from bestselling Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and positive psychology titles, including Mind Over Mood; Worry Less, Live More; and Overcoming Depression and Low Mood Workbook.

  10. PDF Client's Guidebook

    Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Depression Activities and Your Mood Other modules in this treatment program are as follows: Thoughts and Your Mood People Interactions and Your Mood Revised June 2008 based on original manuals by Ricardo F. Muñoz, Ph.D.; Chandra Ghosh Ippen, Ph.D.; Stephen Rao, Ph.D.;

  11. PDF Acknowledgements

    If you are looking for a comprehensive and practical guide to Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) for depression, you can download this patient manual from the University of Michigan Medicine website. It covers the basic principles of CBT, the common causes and symptoms of depression, and the effective strategies to cope with negative thoughts and emotions. It also includes worksheets ...

  12. PDF Cognitive Behaviour Therapy for Depression in Young People Manual for

    CBT for depression includes techniques based on a variety of different theoretical models of depression. It incorporates behavioural theories of depression with the cognitive model of . DRAFT Feb 2010 Version 1 6 depression, as developed by Aaron Beck (Beck, 1967, 1978). From this initial focus on the

  13. PDF Have you ever noticed that certain things that you do influence your

    Behavioral activation is one of the most important CBT skills used in treating depression. It has to do with the way that behaviors and feelings influence each other.

  14. PDF Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Strategies

    Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Strategies is a PDF document that provides an overview of the principles and techniques of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) for depression, anxiety, and other mental health conditions. It is designed for clinicians who work with veterans in the VA health care system. The document includes case examples, worksheets, and tips for applying CBT in practice.

  15. PDF What is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

    If you are looking for a comprehensive manual on how to use cognitive behavioral therapy for depression (CBT-D), you can download this pdf document from the VA website. It covers the theoretical background, the clinical procedures, and the practical tools for delivering CBT-D to veterans with depression. It also provides case examples, worksheets, and resources for further learning.

  16. Handouts on CBT

    Intro - Steps to Healing 1. Learn About Depression 2. Understand Causes 3. Identify Solutions 4. Build a Lifestyle of Joy Christ-Centered Healing Transcript, Christ-C. Healing LDS Articles on Depression Best Books on Depression Exercise and Depression "Chemical Imbalance"? Grief / Loss Anxiety / Self-Doubt Anger / Contention Abuse / Trauma

  17. CBT Techniques: 25 Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Worksheets

    Cognitive Distortions 9 Essential CBT Techniques and Tools Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Worksheets (PDFs) To Print and Use Some More CBT Interventions and Exercises A CBT Manual and Workbook for Your Own Practice and for Your Client 5 Final Cognitive Behavioral Activities A Take-Home Message References What is CBT?

  18. Depression Worksheets

    This... Worksheet Childhood Depression: Info for Caregivers Depression is a mental illness that affects people of all ages. Despite sharing the same symptoms as adults, depression in children often goes unnoticed and untreated. Children who are depressed may be misunderstood as being shy, difficult, or misbehaved.

  19. CBT for Depression

    Therapist Materials. Cheat Sheet - Depression. N2K (Need to Know) Behavioral Activation Sheet. N2K (Need to Know) Changing Unhelpful Cognitions Sheet. Socratic Techniques for Changing Unhelpful Thoughts.

  20. CBT Worksheets for Depression to Use with Clients

    Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is one of the most widely used forms of therapy, and for good reason. Many mental health professionals use this therapy technique for a wide range of conditions, including different forms of depression.Having the right tools is an important part of providing effective treatment. In this post, we will highlight 15 CBT worksheets for depression that can help ...

  21. CBT Worksheets

    Cognitive Restructuring: Socratic Questions The term cognitive restructuring refers to the process of challenging, and changing, irrational thoughts. Socratic questioning is one technique to encourage this process. Therapists use Socratic questioning verbally by asking probing questions about their clients' irrational thoughts.

  22. CBT For Depression Worksheet

    Instructions for the CBT for Depression Worksheet. Whenever you feel down, take out the worksheet and follow each step to better deal with depressive symptoms. Conclusion. On this page, we provided you with a CBT for Depression Worksheet Hopefully, it helped you to deal with depression by using CBT. If you have any questions or comments please ...

  23. 15 Behavioral Activation Worksheets for Depression & Anxiety

    CBT Worksheets for Depression and Anxiety Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy ( CBT ) is a form of psychotherapy that combines cognitive therapy with behavioral therapy (Westbrook et al., 2011). It examines the relationship between a person's thoughts, feelings, and behaviors and helps individuals to understand and alter negative patterns.