Unified Protocol Handouts

Definitions of Key Terms

The act of pausing to nonjudgmentally observe experience in the present moment and deliberately choosing a response consistent with current needs, goals, or values.
Overall Anxiety Severity and Interference Scale (OASIS). Weekly monitoring questionnaire for anxiety.
AntecedentsResponseConsequences of an emotional experience.
  1. Antecedents are triggers, conditions, or situations that bring up certain emotions. They may be proximal (immediate) or distal (in the past)
  2. The Response is the three components of emotion—thoughts, physical sensations, and behaviors
  3. Consequences are the resulting effects of the emotional response, which may be short term or long term.
Thoughts that occur immediately and involuntarily in response to a situation.
An exercise designed to increase flexibility of thinking habits by using challenging questions to examine whether thoughts are realistic and helpful, then generating more useful appraisals.
The practice of deliberately considering multiple interpretations or predictions about a situation, instead of assuming that the first thought is accurate and helpful.
Also called core beliefs. Central beliefs that an individual maintains about themselves, others, and the world that come up involuntarily but that are not specific to any one situation.
Overall Depression Severity and Interference Scale (ODSIS). Weekly monitoring questionnaire for depression.
Things an individual may do to prevent uncomfortable emotions from happening or prevent them from getting stronger. This may include:
  • Situational (overt) avoidance: Avoiding situations that trigger strong emotions.
  • Subtle behavioral avoidance: In an uncomfortable situation, doing things to avoid facing strong emotions (e.g., not making eye contact).
  • Cognitive avoidance: Avoiding thinking about things that will bring up uncomfortable emotion (e.g., distracting oneself during an anxiety-provoking situation).
  • Safety signals: Talismans, people, or other things that make a person feel “safer” in uncomfortable situations (e.g., carrying medication, only talking to strangers at a party when accompanied by a friend).
An exercise designed to increase tolerance of uncomfortable emotions by entering situations likely to produce uncomfortable emotion without engaging in avoidance or escape.
Includes emotion avoidance and emotion-driven behaviors. Behaviors that are used to control strong emotions, which may be adaptive or maladaptive.
Behaviors that occur in response to emotions. These behaviors can be hard to resist (or change) in the presence of strong emotions. EDBs can be helpful and adaptive (e.g., jumping out of the way of a car due to feeling fear), but they can also be maladaptive (e.g., leaving a party early because of anxiety, staying in bed when feeling tired and depressed).
Psychological disorders, such as anxiety or depression, characterized by (1) frequent, strong emotions, (2) negative reactions to these emotions, and (3) avoidance of emotional experiences. These difficulties cause interference in important areas of functioning.
Referring to physical sensations.
Also called probability overestimation. Overestimating the likelihood of a negative outcome.
A way of paying attention to emotional experiences that emphasizes the importance of focusing on the present (including how an individual is currently feeling) in a nonjudgmental way.
Observing “just the facts” of an experience without evaluation or judgment.
Weekly monitoring questionnaire for other emotions a person may be struggling with, such as anger, shame, or jealousy.
Weekly monitoring questionnaire for positive emotions.
A way of interacting with emotional experiences that involves observing components of the experience without trying to push emotions away or change them, and without judging oneself for the emotions that are present.
A chart for visually representing scores from the Anxiety Scale, Depression Scale, Other Emotion Scale, and Positive Emotion Scale.
Observing experiences in a way that adds evaluation or judgment; e.g., focusing on how awful one feels or criticizing oneself for feeling a certain way.
Subjective Units of Distress Scale. A way to measure uncomfortable emotion ranging from 0 (no discomfort) to 8 (extreme discomfort).
Also called catastrophizing. Thinking that if a negative outcome does occur, it will be extremely bad or the person will be unable to cope with it.
Thinking habits in which people repeatedly interpret or predict situations in a negative way. Include jumping to conclusions and thinking the worst.
The three parts of any emotional experience: thoughts (what you’re thinking), physical sensations (what you’re feeling), and behaviors (what you’re doing).