The Diary Card is based off the concept of the Hawthorne Effect. This concept is that when any behavior is observed and awareness heighted, then that behavior changes. Therefore, tracking the behavior and the secondary events around the behavior then a person becomes more in control of what they want to change.
There are various examples of diary cards available, and a simple search online you can see different layouts, applications and online sites to help you track your emotions. We have an example of one filled out and a blank one for you to try on your own.
You will see the basics of the diary card is to track your emotions and the basic needs of mental health. There is also a notes section to help you remember any key details about that day. At the bottom there is also a quick list of DBT skills and the Cognitive Distortions to help you to jog your memory.
The Diary Card is to be used weekly to not only help the client to observer their behaviors; it is also to get a baseline (without judgment) of where they are in said behavior(s). It is simply the data to help the client and counselor to reach the clients intended goals.