Technical Sheet

Activity IdentificationDimensionNumber of ParticipantsDuration (minutes)
14 Learning the Power of ThoughtsTRANSITIONAL SKILLS1245

The aim of the Activity

To help the participants increase personal insights by becoming aware of how their thoughts, emotions and sensations related to a certain behaviour or action.

This will help them take responsibility for their own lives and increase their personal agency and to be able to complete tasks and projects.

The activity will also help participants become aware of the resources available to them when facing positive events and appropriate thoughts and the link between the two concepts. Understanding this connection enables the participants to re-structure their thoughts and behaviour towards a more constructive and positive behaviour, to create more flexibility in choices, enhance self-confidence and autonomy and create an enhanced sense of self-efficacy.

Furthermore, the activity increases the participants’ awareness of their values and core beliefs that either help or hinder them. This new awareness can help the participants become more open to different opportunities in life, new life roles, and enterprising action. The activity also aims to increase emotional self-regulation, flexible thinking, build resilience and optimism.


Print the Handouts 14A, 14B, 14C, and 14D The Diamond. One for each participant.

Print Supporting Information: An example of negative and positive thoughts.

Look at the guiding list of disputations to get the guidance.


Part 1

  1. AWARENESS The first step in learning The Power of Thoughts is to create awareness of the connection between thoughts, emotions, physical sensations and related behaviour, using the illustration ‘The Diamond’.
  2. Introduce and explain the basic cognitive principles using the Supporting Information: The Cognitive tree and The Diamond.
  3. Show an illustration of The Diamond on the board (using a projector or drawing) and go through an example of a positive and negative thought using the example from the Supporting Information sheet. This will help define and distinguish each one of the concepts.
  4. Make sure the participants understand the concept of The Diamond, then hand out the activity: Diamond Illustration (14A), and have the participants fill in the diamond activity by giving an example of a situation.
  5. Ask the participants to think of a situation where something went well and reflect upon which positive thoughts can be linked to this experience. Once they have done this, give each participant a handout of the cognitive diamond so they can fill it in (thoughts, emotions, sensation and behaviour).
  6. After filing in The Diamond ask the participant what they think could be some of the consequences of the thoughts that occurred during the situation.
  7. Share and reflect in plenum/or pairs, depending on the time available and the situation.
  8. Ask the participants to think of a situation where they felt annoyed or unsatisfied
    (negative thoughts) and having negative thoughts. Give each participant a hand out of The Diamond so they can fill it in.
  9. The participants should document each situation in The Diamond handout and reflect upon the differences between the thinking and consequences from the two situations.
  10. The participants must now analyse the situation and reflect upon the differences between the thinking, the feelings, the emotions and the outcomes they have experienced so far.

Part 2

  1. Hand out and fill in ‘The Diamond’ using a situation that has been causing them to postpone a project. You might think of, and give an example from, daily life that makes sense to this particular group of participants.
  2. Introduce the concept of disputations using The List of Disputations or the questions from the Supporting Information Sheet 14: to have the participant learn how to question their thoughts and related behaviour. For participant that find this too complicated use the pros and cons of the behaviour related to the negative events.
  3. Let the participants share their reflections from working with The Diamond.

Observations / Suggestions

If the participants find it challenging to think of a positive situation, help them recall the activity using the activities: Learning Positive Emotions or PARS Model.

Source / Links / Further Information

Read more about cognitive behaviour: A. Beck (2010) and in E. H. Oestrich (2005) Cognitive Coaching the Disputation list is inspired by Tingleff, 2010.

Further reading about the ABCDE model by Seligman “Authentic happiness” (2002).