With CBT and related therapies it’s helpful to learn how to map out changes in your mood and to identify problem behaviors, so that you can understand the sequence that caused the painful emotional state or worrisome behavior. One technique for this is chain analysis. It’s not hard to do, and with practice you can do it quickly in your head.
Step one: Identify the painful emotion, problem behavior or thought.
Step two: Identify what prompted that thought, emotion or behavior. This is sometimes referred to as the “prompting event.” It
can be an actual event, or a thought.
Step three: Identify what thoughts and emotional changes occurred between the prompting event and the problem behavior. Take your time and come up with everything you can think of. Think of these like links in a chain.
Step four: This is where you challenge and test automatic thoughts, and break and rework the chain. Is your boss really out to get you? What are the ramifications of impulsively quitting your job? Was there some validity to the content of the critique? Are you perceiving it in a more-negative manner than was intended? What are your alternatives to quitting?