CBT Core Beliefs


In CBT, we work on ‘core beliefs’, which are the deep down and long held beliefs that people hold about themselves, how they see the world, others and the future. These core beliefs often get activated in certain situations, which often trigger strong emotions and can have an impact on self esteem, relationships and commonly underlie depression and anxiety.

Examples of core beliefs include:

‘‘I am a failure’’
‘‘I am worthless’’
‘‘I am unlovable’’
‘‘I am weak’’
‘‘I am not good enough’’
‘‘I am bad’’
‘‘I am different’’

These are examples of common core beliefs. With the help of therapy, you can identity with your therapist core beliefs.

Below are steps to help change an identified core belief:

Step 1: Pick an alternative and healthy core belief that you would prefer to hold. For example, if your core belief is ‘‘I am not good enough’’ then maybe an alternative would be ‘I am good enough’’. You do not need to belief this alternative core belief at this point but identifying an alternative is a good starting point.

Step 2: Rate how much you currently belief the old unhelpful core belief on a scale of 0% = I don’t belief it at all to 100% = I belief it completely. Then rate the new healthy core belief on the same scale.

Step 3: Increase your awareness of when the unhelpful core belief arises which will give you a choice in how to respond to it as opposed to reacting and acting on the belief. This awareness is powerful and an excellent step towards change.

Step 4: When you notice the old and unhelpful core belief, label it as ‘‘just a thought’’ rather then something that is true.

Step 5: Strengthen the new healthy core belief every day by collecting evidence. Use the CBT handout – The Positive Data Log to help strengthen the belief. Commit to writing down evidence that supports the new healthy core belief. Try not to discount the positives.

Helpful resources: http://www.getselfhelp.co.uk


© The Consulting Clinic.