Flexible Use of Worksheets

Flexible Use of Worksheets:

Structured interventions, such as behavioral activation, typically provide forms for clients to fill out to solidify concepts, increase awareness and understanding of contexts and psychological states, and improve monitoring of emotional reactions or patterns across different periods of time.  Often these forms are structured but it is important to be flexible in implementation with different clients to best meet their needs. To do so, consider:

  • Matching client language. Some of the language and terms on forms may not connect with clients or may be culturally biased.  It is important to work with clients to see if the terms on your forms are understandable to them and whether they prefer to use alternative terms.
  • Flexibility in format. Some clients don’t like filling out forms and feel it’s too much like “homework.”  Instead, clients can use smartphones or a small pad to write the components of a form in a less structured manner, and then these notes can be reviewed in session.
  • Reminders. Some clients have difficulty remembering to fill out forms.  Therapists can work with clients to set reminders on smartphones or to think of cues (e.g., drinking coffee in the morning) to remind a client to sit down and work on a form.
  • Reducing time to recall. It’s easier to accurately recall events closer in time to the event.  Therapists can work with clients on how to feasibly complete a form entry close in time to when key personal or emotional events occur.
  • Reducing burden. Think carefully about how you will use a form to guide treatment, so you can ask a client to complete only those parts of the form you most need.