Topic 6: Automatic Thoughts & Core Beliefs {by 3/5}

[Automatic Thoughts] – Watch MDD-12: Automatic Thoughts – Negative Automatic Thought Record.  Answer the following: (1) How is the client’s response to the outcome (emotionally and cognitively) helpful to understanding his distress? (2) What would be effective Socratic techniques to modify his negative automatic thought? *Do your best with the second question – look ahead at my slides and text.

 

[Core Beliefs] – There are three readings due this week (J. Beck – 2 Chapters; Volungis – 1 Chapter).  (1) What are core beliefs?  (2) What are the therapeutic gains that come from modifying core beliefs?  Your original post should be posted by the beginning of class 3/5.  Have your two replies posted no later than 3/7.  *Please remember to click the “reply” button when posting a reply.  This makes it easier for the reader to follow the blog postings.

39 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Monica Teeven
    Mar 01, 2020 @ 16:40:23

    Automatic Thoughts
    1. The client’s response to the outcome is helpful to understand their distress because we as the counselor can learn what kind of negative automatic thoughts the individual is having which are causing them distress. Over time, the counselor may begin to see a pattern of a particular negative automatic thought that seems to continue to reappear which will lead the counselor to believe that the client has a negative core belief. In addition, understanding how the client is cognitively and emotionally responding to this outcome can help the counselor to choose which Socratic techniques would most likely benefit them.
    2. One Socratic technique that I believe would be effective in modifying Mark’s negative automatic thought is to explore possible alternative explanations. Mark stated that Jeff said no to Mark’s request to have lunch with him. This lead Mark to think he is unlikeable. However, there could be other reasons why Jeff declined Mark’s lunch request. For example, Jeff could have had a lot of work to complete that day and was going to eat a snack at his desk to save time. Another Socratic technique I believe would be useful in this case is to examine the evidence. Has Mark asked Jeff before to have lunch with him? If so, how did Jeff respond? If they did have lunch together before, does Mark think it went well? If there is no past evidence indicating that Jeff does not like Mark, the counselor and Mark can work together to discuss how that thought is irrational. However, if there is past evidence implying that Jeff does not like Mark, the counselor and Mark can work together to learn how to cope with these kinds of situations.

    Core Beliefs
    1. Core beliefs are outlines that offer individuals guidelines for how information is to be processed. These kinds of beliefs are rigid, inflexible statements that are normally overgeneralized opinions about themselves, others, and the functionality of the world. Furthermore, core beliefs are usually conveyed by no less than one of three possible lenses: the self, other individuals, and the entire world. Core beliefs have 6 main features. Core beliefs normally develop at some point in childhood through adolescence. Negative core beliefs are prejudicial. The three kinds of core beliefs are helplessness, worthiness, and being unlovable. Negative core beliefs are maintained by the self and are able to be altered or substituted with more adaptive/true core beliefs. Core beliefs that are positive frequently go unnoticed because of distress.
    2. Modifying negative core beliefs benefits both altering negative automatic thoughts and overall treatment. Assisting clients to alter their negative core beliefs may help them to change how they see themselves, their interaction with other individuals, and how they see the world around them. If the alteration of the negative core belief is successful, it may weaken the level of distress the person experiences by lessening the negative automatic thought’s frequency and strength. Furthermore, while working on negative core beliefs, clients can improve their adaptive core beliefs and these beliefs can positively impact useful coping skills. A counselors CBT case formulation will have a higher chance of being successful when the counselor has a thorough understanding of the clients’ supporting behaviors and their negative core beliefs that are linked to continuing negative automatic thoughts. Clients normally benefit from understanding the position formed by the interaction between their automatic thoughts and core beliefs and how it affects how they see themselves, other people, and the world. Discovering, improving, and properly using positive core beliefs may be very helpful for clients while in therapy and after therapy.

    Reply

    • Erin Wilbur
      Mar 04, 2020 @ 22:33:45

      Hi Monica!
      I think it’s really important that you mentioned how Mark’s response can help the therapist determine patterns in his automatic thoughts. This is a key part of determining core beliefs and is important to remember as a therapist. I also agree with your ideas for helpful Socratic techniques to use for modification. I know that if my friend had said no to plans with me, I would probably take it personally as well, so I think examining the evidence against this and determining possible alternatives as to why Jeff said no to Mark could be helpful for reducing his distress and his thoughts that he is unlikeable.

      Reply

    • Taylor O'Rourke
      Mar 06, 2020 @ 21:54:37

      Hi Monica!

      I completely agree with you that exploring possible alternate explanations with Mark would be extremely beneficial for him and the negative automatic thoughts that he experiences. Seeing how he is affected both emotionally and cognitively by his distress is extremely important in determining what Socratic techniques to use, as you mentioned. I like that you mentioned utilizing examining the evidence too, because I think this is always a really good first start with clients to show them that maybe what they are experiencing feelings-wise isn’t exactly warranted.

      Reply

    • Mariah Fraser
      Mar 07, 2020 @ 17:24:39

      Hi, Monica!

      I agree with Erin, that Mark’s responses can help the therapist determine automatic thoughts which is crucial to determining core beliefs. Socratic techniques would help Mark question the validity and utility of his thoughts and may bring more awareness and could help establish more adaptive patterns. Although Mark tends to personalize in social situations that result in disappointment, if I were in his shoes and my friends kept bailing on me, I would be upset as well. It would be hard not to wonder if it was me.

      Reply

  2. Renee Gaumond
    Mar 02, 2020 @ 12:02:40

    (1) How is the client’s response to the outcome (emotionally and cognitively) helpful to understanding his distress?
    The client’s response to the outcome is helpful to understand his distress because it allows the clinician to understand how certain events trigger specific thoughts and feelings. Seeing how events trigger automatic thoughts and core beliefs is helpful to the clinician. Events trigger the automatic thoughts that feed into core beliefs. Jeff declining Mark’s invitation to eat lunch with him triggered an automatic thought that Jeff doesn’t want to spend time with him. This fed into his core belief that people don’t want to spend time with him. Understanding this chain is helpful for the clinician to see where the automatic thoughts and core beliefs come from.

    (2) What would be effective Socratic techniques to modify his negative automatic thought?
    An effective Socratic technique that could modify his negative automatic thought could be exploring possible alternative explanations. Mark assumed that Jeff did not want to have lunch with him because people don’t want to spend time with him. Exploring other reasons why Jeff wouldn’t want to have lunch with him would be helpful to Mark. Having Mark list possible other explanations may allow him to view the event in a less negative and personal way. Jeff could have had previous plans or commitments for lunch with another person, or he could have wanted to use his lunch time to catch up on work that has been fallen behind. Allowing Mark to explore these alternatives could help him with deconstructing his personalization and belief that people don’t want to spend time with him.

    (1) What are core beliefs?
    Core beliefs are negative beliefs that people hold onto about themselves, others, or the world. They act as the core of a disturbance. They begin early in development and are based off of individual experiences. Core beliefs are rigid, global, overgeneralized, and are assumed to be objective truths. Automatic thoughts are based off of core beliefs. Situations trigger automatic thoughts, which stem from core beliefs. Automatic thoughts about situations also confirm and strengthen core beliefs.

    (2) What are the therapeutic gains that come from modifying core beliefs?
    There are therapeutic gains that come from modifying core beliefs. Once when core beliefs are modified from self-deprecation or other negative beliefs, automatic thoughts and behaviors begin to improve as well. Due to reciprocal determinism, thoughts, behaviors, and the environment interact with each other. Once when a thought is changed, then behaviors will change as well. Improving one aspect of the triad will in turn improve the other factors. Breaking down solid, negative core beliefs will improve rational thinking as well. This will allow the client to think realistically rather than emotionally or personally.

    Reply

    • Madison Armstrong
      Mar 06, 2020 @ 07:43:35

      Hi Renee,
      I agree that exploring alternative explanations would be a beneficial Socratic technique to use to modify Mark’s negative automatic thought. I think that it would be important for Mark to consider other explanations for why Jeff could not have lunch with him when he asked. Using this technique may allow Mark to depersonalize this event and hopefully decrease his distress. Another Socratic technique you could consider is separating himself from the negative automatic thought by asking him what he would say if someone else was telling him this. This could allow Mark to have a more adaptive thoughts surrounding this event.

      Reply

    • Taylor O'Rourke
      Mar 06, 2020 @ 21:57:32

      Hi Renee!

      I really like how you mentioned triggers in your response. Although this is definitely a term that is thrown around a lot (unnecessarily) in today’s society, it is an extremely important concept when it comes to clients’ negative automatic thoughts. I think that it would be very beneficial for the therapist to work with Mark to determine what triggers his negative automatic thoughts (which seems to be any rejection by his friend at work) to see if eventually there is a negative core belief that can and should be modified. I think Mark should focus on examining the evidence and maybe determining any positive core beliefs that he has, that way he and his therapist could attempt to modify these triggers, or at least their outcomes.

      Reply

  3. Jessica Costello
    Mar 02, 2020 @ 15:08:18

    Automatic Thoughts
    1. Mark reported feeling bad about himself and that other people didn’t like him after Jeff turned down his invitation to lunch. Identifying how Mark felt in the moments immediately following the triggering event can help him and the therapist identify and modify the negative automatic thoughts that arise without his conscious awareness. The thought that he is unlikeable could point to some significant core beliefs for further exploration and can guide future interventions geared towards changing that thought to something more realistic and adaptive.

    2. One Socratic technique that could be effective in examining Mark’s negative automatic thought is examining the evidence. In regard to this particular triggering event with Jeff, the therapist could ask for evidence that Jeff really turned down Mark’s invitation because Jeff doesn’t enjoy spending time with Mark, as well as evidence against this belief, such as any other time they had gotten lunch together. Similarly, to work on modifying other scenarios in which this negative automatic thought that “people don’t listen to me” came into play, the therapist could ask for scenarios that support the idea that people don’t like spending time with Mark, as well as evidence that they do. This would ideally help Mark see the irrationality of his negative automatic thought.

    Another potential path is looking for possible alternative explanations for Jeff’s rejection. Perhaps he just had a lot of work to do or couldn’t afford eating out that week. Whatever his reasons, it might be helpful for the therapist and Mark to work together brainstorming some possible explanations that have nothing to do with Mark. This will attack his negative pattern of personalization of other people’s rejections and help him develop a more accurate sense of self-worth.

    A Socratic technique that would lead well into the discussion of Mark’s potential core beliefs is examining the impact of that negative automatic thought on his daily functioning. This could point to some more significant, deep beliefs he holds about himself or others.

    Core Beliefs
    1. Core beliefs are deeply held beliefs about oneself, others, or the world that give rise to automatic thoughts, which are the expressions of the content of core beliefs applied to specific situations. Whereas automatic thoughts relate to a specific situation, core beliefs are broader evaluations of the person’s worth.
    Core beliefs usually develop in childhood based on one’s early experiences with caregivers and learning to navigate the external world. They are typically categorized as relating to one’s unlovability, worthlessness, or helplessness.

    2. Identifying core beliefs can bring both the clinician and the client closer to understanding the cause of the client’s psychological distress. As they work together on modifying a deeply held belief that affects the client’s perceptions of himself or herself, the client’s thoughts and behaviors will also begin to improve, leading to and reinforcing a more realistic or positive self-evaluation. Ideally, the client will be able to realize both the negative impact of his or her negative core beliefs and how to change them to lead to a more fulfilling life and better therapeutic outcomes. Clients may also be able to work on modifying their negative core beliefs after therapy ends, leading to generalization of skills that they learned with the clinician.

    Reply

    • Monica K Teeven
      Mar 03, 2020 @ 13:37:49

      Hi Jess! Great job on your blog post this week! In regard to your answer to question 2 of automatic thoughts, you stated that in Mark’s case that the counselor should use the Socratic technique of examining the impact of the negative automatic thought had on Mark’s daily functioning. This was great insight Jess, especially since Mark mentioned how the rest of the day was affected by the unlikeable negative automatic thought he had that appeared after Jeff declined Mark’s offer of eating lunch together.
      In regard to your answer to question 1 of core beliefs, your description of what a core belief is, was great! However, I think it is important to remember how negative core beliefs are maintained by the self and can be altered or replaced with more true/adaptive beliefs.

      Reply

    • renee gaumond
      Mar 05, 2020 @ 18:31:18

      Hi, Jessica,
      I agree with you that examining the evidence is a good technique to challenge Mark’s automatic thoughts and core belief about people not wanting to be around him. Mark’s personalization distortion is something to look into more and having him explore evidence or lack of evidence for his belief would help him realize that he might be taking the event too personally. Listing evidence would help validate his feelings and listing the lack of evidence would allow him to look at his thoughts rationally.

      Reply

  4. Melanie Sergel
    Mar 02, 2020 @ 16:00:45

    Automatic Thoughts
    (1) The client’s response to the outcome is helpful to understand his distress. As a therapist we can learn from the client’s responses what types of events and situations causes certain emotion and thought outcomes. It is important to know the client’s response to an outcome because we can get a better understanding of what the client’s negative automatic thoughts are. If responses are similar for a lot of outcomes it can show some repetition of negative automatic thoughts that lead a therapist to gather insight of what the client’s core beliefs are. This helps the therapist because we cannot modify negative automatic thoughts and core beliefs without knowing what they are first. For Mark we can see a repetition of similar negative automatic thoughts that he thinks his friends do not want to spend time with him. This shows that he can experience core beliefs that he believes he is unlikeable.

    (2) An effective Socratic technique to modify Mark’s negative automatic thought is exploring possible alternative explanations. Mark’s negative automatic thought was that “Jeff does not want to spend time with me” when Jeff said that he could not go out to lunch with him. Asking Mark “is there another explanation for what happened other than thinking Jeff does not want to spend time with you?”. By exploring if there is an alternate explanation, it can help modify that negative thought by seeing other realistic reasons why Jeff could not make it. Asking Mark “did you ask Jeff to go out with you to lunch last minute or an hour before?” could show that this was possibly a timing issue for Jeff, or it was too late of a notice. There are several other explanations that could explain why Jeff could not go to lunch with Mark and it is important to have Mark list some reasons and explore this. This can show Mark to not believe or ruminate on that quick thought that pops up in his mind. He can also learn from this to not personalize situations in the future.

    Core Beliefs
    (1) Core beliefs are beliefs that people develop early in childhood about oneself, others, and of the world. The way individuals process information is influenced by the model that their core beliefs provide. Individuals views these beliefs or ideas as the valid truth. One of the most central ideas about oneself is core beliefs. Most people have positive and realistic core beliefs but those who do not can have core beliefs that are viewed in terms of helplessness, worthlessness, and unlovability. Some examples of negative core beliefs are “I am unlovable”, “I am not good enough”, or “I don’t deserve to live”. Some factors that play a role in the development of core beliefs are interactions with significant others, life events, and genetics. Individuals who have negative core beliefs believe them to be true and have a hard time seeing that the falseness of them. There are six key elements to core beliefs. The six elements are that they usually develop during childhood into adolescence, negative core beliefs are biased, core beliefs fit into one of three categories (unlovable, worthlessness, and helplessness), negative core beliefs can be modified and replaced by more accurate/adaptive core beliefs, and lastly, positive core beliefs often get overlooked due to presenting distress.

    (2) There are several therapeutic gains that come from modifying core beliefs. First, modifying negative core beliefs will reduce distress that the client is experiencing. It not only reduces distress, but it can also help prevent future stressors. It can do this because the clients will learn how to recognize negative automatic thoughts and how to modify them on their own. Another therapeutic gain that comes from modifying core beliefs is that it could help the client change the way they view themselves, how they interact with others, and how they view the world. Also, it is important to look at the client’s positive core beliefs because these will useful when modifying their negative ones.

    Reply

    • Jessica Costello
      Mar 03, 2020 @ 12:37:18

      Hi Mel! I liked your point that noticing the client’s reaction to the outcome of events can help the therapist identify possible particular negative automatic thoughts. This can also help plan interventions, homework assignments, and ways to change that automatic thought as the client progresses through treatment.

      I also liked how you described core beliefs as both all-or-nothing yet very concrete to the individual as they get further reinforced through different life events. This helped me gain a better understanding of how core beliefs become so pervasive, deeply ingrained and difficult to change. The client recognizing that they are making progress as the negative core belief becomes invalidated and replaced with a more positive or realistic one can also help change the negative automatic thoughts that were fed by the old core belief, leading to ideally more positive mood and daily functioning.

      Reply

    • Renee Gaumond
      Mar 05, 2020 @ 18:45:19

      Hi Melanie,
      I like how you mentioned that modifying negative core beliefs can help prevent future stressors. Clients who do have these beliefs have automatic thoughts that get triggered in reference to them. Once the core beliefs are modified, the negative automatic thoughts of self-deprecation will decrease, leading to less negative emotional responses. This shows a positive chain of influence once when the negative core beliefs are modified.

      Reply

  5. Shelby Piekarczyk
    Mar 02, 2020 @ 16:54:42

    1. The client’s response to an outcome is extremely helpful to understanding their distress because it gives the therapist a better understanding of how they react to situations and automatic thoughts that surface within these situations. Additionally, the therapist can identify which specific events trigger these automatic thoughts. The more the therapist sees the client’s responses to outcomes (emotional and cognitive) they will be able to see more of their automatic thoughts and develop an understanding of the client’s core beliefs. Mark states that people do not like him because of his friend turning him down for lunch. These automatic thoughts will help the therapist understand Mark better and how he handles situations that arise. Because of these thoughts Marks therapist could develop a conclusion as to what Marks core beliefs are.

    2. When speaking about Mark, I think that there are two Socratic techniques that could be helpful: examining the evidence and exploring possible alternative explanations. When examining the evidence, the therapist could ask Mark the questions “what is the evidence that supports your thought?” When asking Mark this question it allows him to explore his own thoughts and possibly develop a different solution about the situation. This can also help Mark to realize that there are no facts to back up his negative automatic thought. Next, exploring possible alternative explanations can help Mark to view the other reasons his friends did not want to get lunch instead of just concluding this friend does not like him. By doing this Mark can come up with different scenarios as to why his friend could not go to lunch with him, helping to diminish the negative automatic thought that his friend does not like him.

    1. Core beliefs are guidelines that provide rules for our information processing. These are all-or-nothing statements that are overgeneralized and rigid. Core beliefs are views about oneself, others, and ultimately how the world works. Three factors impact core beliefs, an individual’s interactions (e.g. parents), significant life events, and genetic and biological vulnerabilities. When these core beliefs are reinforced and validated, they become more engraved in an individual thought processing. Most individuals have positive core beliefs, however negative core beliefs can become more severe when experiencing psychological distress.

    1. There are many therapeutic gains that come from modifying a client’s core beliefs. When modifying a core belief, the individual develops a better thought pattern which in turn will help/change their emotions and behaviors. Because all three (thoughts, emotions, and behaviors) interact with one another, changing a core belief will ultimately have a positive impact on the client’s emotions and behaviors that were linked to that negative core belief. Modifying core beliefs will also be extremely effective for the client because they will be able to see this negative thought and develop coping skills to change it. When developing positive coping skills, the client can then use these skills outside of therapy, ultimately being their own therapist. This will help the client continue these positive coping skills throughout their life, and be able to use it for multiple situations when they are experiencing negative core beliefs and automatic thoughts.

    Reply

    • Melanie Sergel
      Mar 04, 2020 @ 13:00:57

      Hi Shelby! I agree with you that the client’s response to an outcome can help a therapist identify which events trigger certain automatic thoughts. It is important for therapists to understand which events cause these triggers because then the therapist can gain a better understanding of what the client’s core beliefs are. You did a great job explaining how examining the evidence and exploring possible alternative explanations would be very useful to modifying Mark’s negative automatic thoughts. I think by asking Mark “what is the evidence that supports your thoughts” would test Mark’s negative automatic thoughts and possibly see some falseness in them. Like you said, he could develop different solutions about the situation. I think it is important for Mark to explore alternative explanations because there are possibly several other reasons why Jeff could not make it to lunch with him other than Mark just thinking Jeff does not want to be friends with him. Great job!

      Reply

    • Erin Wilbur
      Mar 04, 2020 @ 22:39:35

      Hi Shelby!
      I like that you pointed out that understanding Mark’s responses can help the therapist identify triggers for his automatic thoughts, as I hadn’t thought of that. For example, was Mark already feeling down or insecure when he invited Jeff to lunch? Maybe that increased the emotional response he had when Jeff said no and caused his thought that Jeff doesn’t want to spend time with him. Understanding Mark’s previous emotional state before the event that caused the automatic thought would definitely be helpful as a therapist for modifying this thought and the underlying core belief.

      Reply

  6. Jenna Nikolopoulos
    Mar 02, 2020 @ 17:50:09

    Automatic thoughts

    1. The client’s response to the outcome is helpful in understanding his distress because a strong negative reaction will indicate that there is more going on underneath the surface. How the client describes his thoughts and emotions surrounding that event will allow his/her counselor to understand why he had the reaction he did, which allows the counselor to learn how the client may act, feel, and think in future similar situations. It’s important for counselors to know the negative automatic thoughts that surround certain situations for clients because they provide a better understanding of the distress that clients experience, which is why the client’s response to the outcome is helpful in understanding his distress because counselors can’t fully understand their clients’ distress without evaluating the negative automatic thoughts that surrounded the event. Because negative automatic thoughts aren’t completely specific for certain situations, but can be similar for different situations, counselors may be able to recognize a pattern to their clients’ negative automatic thoughts, which will help counselors to identify potential negative core beliefs held by their clients that need to be modified. For Mark, having Jeff decline his invitation to have lunch together causes Mark to think that Jeff doesn’t want to spend time with him or maybe that Jeff doesn’t like him, which seems to be a recurring theme in other situations, and causes Mark to feel bad, sad, guilty, and alone. By having Mark explain his feelings and thoughts surrounding that event, we can better understand the distress he feels over Jeff not having lunch with him.

    2. One Socratic technique that would be effective to modify Mark’s negative automatic thought is to examine the evidence. It’s important to see if Mark has asked Jeff out to lunch before to see if this event has been repeated in the past. If Jeff said no in the past, why? If Jess said yes in the past, how did it go? Picking apart the interaction will help Mark see if there is indeed truth to Jeff not wanting to spend time with him or not liking him because it is causing him to look at the whole picture. If there isn’t any evidence to suggest that Jeff doesn’t like Mark (i.e. Jeff declined the invitation because he was busy) then Mark and his counselor can work through this irrational thought together to get Mark to also see that it is irrational. However, if the opposite is true and Jeff actually declined Mark’s invitation due to not liking him/not wanting to spend time with him, then Mark’s counselor can teach him some coping skills to deal with the distress of this event, which will also help Mark in the future as these coping skills can be applied to other situations. Another Socratic technique that I think would be effective is exploring possible alternative explanations. There are many reasons as to why Jeff declined Mark’s lunch invitation other than because he doesn’t like Mark or doesn’t want to spend time with Mark. By exploring other explanations, this can help Mark see other more realistic explanations as to why Jeff didn’t eat lunch with him, which will help Mark to recognize the invalidity of his negative automatic thought. However, it’s possible that this this negative automatic thought could be true, which, in that case, Mark’s counselor can help him learn to accept this truth of this thought and how to cope with it.

    Core beliefs

    1. Core beliefs are the models that supply rules for an individual’s information processing. They are all-or-nothing affirmations that are usually fixed and overgeneralized ideas about oneself, others, and how the world functions. Core beliefs begin to develop in childhood to adolescence and are usually based on interactions with important and influential individuals (e.g., parents/guardians, teachers, and peers), significant life events (e.g., successes and trauma), and genetics and biological vulnerability (e.g., intelligence and temperament). These factors are all reciprocal with one another and the more a core belief gets reinforced, the more concrete it becomes to the individual. Core beliefs also generally fall into three categories and can overlap into more than one of these categories: helplessness, worthlessness, and unlovability.

    2. One benefit that comes from modifying negative core beliefs is that it will reduce an individual’s distress as they have learned to manage their emotions, cognitions, and behaviors that result from that core belief being triggered, which allows the individual to not be affected by that core belief, and the automatic thoughts that surrounded that core belief, as it has been invalidated and replaced by a more positive core belief. Positive core beliefs not only help individuals to modify their negative core beliefs, but also contribute to helpful coping mechanisms. This can also help clients begin to see themselves, others, and the world in a new perspective. Additionally, modifying negative core beliefs acts as an “immunization”, which helps individuals to resist other stressors to come in the future. Another therapeutic gain is that it allows the client to see that they are making progress. Core beliefs are very real to clients as they are something that they have internalized and believe to be true. If a client’s negative core belief can be modified, he/she will begin to realize the adaptive changes that occur in his/her life as a result of this modification and recognize the progress that he/she is making in treatment. Seeing these changes materialize will motivate the client to continue to put in the work to make more positive changes to better his/her life. Lastly, modifying negative core beliefs helps treatment in general. If counselors have an extensive understanding of their clients’ core beliefs along with the negative automatic thoughts and behaviors that preserve and strengthen those core beliefs, counselors will have a more complete case formulation, which enables interventions to be more effective for clients.

    Reply

    • Jessica Costello
      Mar 03, 2020 @ 13:16:03

      Hey Jenna! I agree that Mark’s fears that other people don’t like him is a common theme that shows up in other situations in his life beyond Jeff turning down his lunch invitation. Noticing this pattern is a good way for counselors to identify particular negative automatic thoughts their client may be experiencing, as you pointed out.

      I also liked how you emphasized that core beliefs are very real to clients, regardless of how irrational or maladaptive they may be. This can make them very difficult to modify but also reinforces why negative core beliefs are so important to target in treatment. Good job!

      Reply

    • Monica K Teeven
      Mar 03, 2020 @ 13:51:15

      Hi Jenna! Great job on your blog post this week! I honestly have no additional comments to your responses, except for your description of core beliefs. What you said about core beliefs is correct. However, there are a few things that I believe are important to mention such as how core beliefs that are positive usually go unnoticed because of distress. In addition, it important to remember that negative core beliefs are maintained by the individual and can be changed or substituted with more adaptive core beliefs.

      Reply

    • Melanie Sergel
      Mar 04, 2020 @ 12:50:02

      Hi Jenna! You did a great job explaining how understanding the client’s response to the outcome shows what the client is experiencing on the inside. I like that you make the point that it helps the therapist learn how the client may act, feel, and think in further similar situations. Also, like you said, it is important for the counselor to know this because counselors can’t completely understand a client’s distress without examining the client’s negative automatic thoughts that occur with certain situations. You did a good job explaining how this connects with the recurrent theme of Mark thinking he is unlikeable. I think that examining the evidence would be a useful Socratic technique for Mark’s negative automatic thoughts because we do not know what else is happening besides that his friend said he couldn’t go to lunch. Looking further into the evidence would be very useful in modifying his negative thoughts, especially if his friend has hung out with him in the past and is not always saying he cannot hang out with him. Great job on your post this week!

      Reply

    • Ashley Foster
      Mar 07, 2020 @ 11:43:47

      Hey Jenna!
      I like how you talked on breaking down and evaluating the evaluating the evidence and if Mark’s automatic thought are true or not. I agree that this process in best in aiding Mark in coping skills in his distress. I used for socratic techniques separating self from negative thought, but I like your thoughts on exploring other explanations as well. I think with socratic techniques, they are so interchangeable, that there are many correct methods. Great job with the post!

      Reply

    • Mariah Fraser
      Mar 07, 2020 @ 17:24:04

      Hi, Jenna!

      Mark seems to believe that his friends just don’t want to see him. But, as you said with examining the evidence, Mark would likely see that this is not a pattern for Jeff, and that taking this one circumstance as a generalization that Jeff doesn’t want to spend time with him may seem silly. There is another good point that you made though, that there may be validity to this thought in which case emotion-focused coping may be best to start out. Referring back to your initial suggestion of socratic questioning, Mark would realize that this thought holds no validity.

      Reply

  7. Robert Salvucci
    Mar 04, 2020 @ 12:19:45

    Automatic Images:

    1. Much of Mark’s emotional distress following Jeff turning down his lunch invite can be attributable to Mark’s automatic thoughts following the event and the relevant core beliefs that are triggered. Having a friend turn down lunch plans will bring some level of disappointment to anyone. Mark experiences increased distress because he has thoughts running through his mind about how Jeff doesn’t want to spend time with him generally and how he as a person is globally unlikeable. In an ideal situation, Mark would be able to feel the emotion of disappointment, accept it, and then decide to eat lunch on his own and focus on relaxing in the park while enjoying his lunch, without believing and running through a narrative of his unlikableness or worry about Jeff not wanting to be his friend. This demonstrates how thoughts can trigger emotions or maintain emotional distress.

    2. Many Socratic techniques could potentially be beneficial here

    Examining the evidence could help Mark assess his relationship with Jeff as well as his relationships with other people. He may be able to generate evidence of positive interactions he has with Jeff, as well as Melissa and other significant people in his life. This could diffuse some of his negative automatic thoughts and slowly strengthen a more reasonable core belief related to his likeability.

    De-catastrophizing would help Mark recognize that he is playing out a worst-case scenario in his head.

    Alternative explanation are related to the previous two, and Mark could think of other reasonable explanations for why Jeff couldn’t make lunch that day

    Separating self – Mark may think of how Melissa may respond to Jeff turning him down or what he might say to a friend who interpret his situation in the same wat he does. This could be beneficial to decrease the frequency at which Mark personalizes situations.

    Core Visuals:

    1. Core beliefs are filters through which we perceive the world, which can often be boiled down into concise statements, such as “I’m unlikeable” or “I’m incompetent”. These beliefs are often related to childhood experiences, and for much of our life we hold them unconsciously and are not aware of the impact they have on our thoughts, emotions or behaviors. Many automatic thoughts are generated from these core beliefs being activated. If one believes that they are unlikeable, they will primarily focus on and retain information that confirms this belief. They will also discount information that contradicts this belief. Ambiguous social situations will likely be interpreted as negative or reflective of their personal shortcomings.

    2. Modifying core beliefs can have enormous therapeutic benefit.
    An obvious benefit is the reduced distress that comes from adopting a less negative and more realistic core belief. Developing a fundamentally different assumption about one’s competence or likeability will have enormous implications on motivation, automatic thoughts, emotions, and subsequently behaviors. The difference between operating in the world firmly believing “I’m unlovable” and “There are many people who love me, I have admirable qualities and manageable weaknesses, as does everyone” can be enormous. A shift at this level can transform relationships and confidence in most situations, and even impact what a person is thinking and feeling when they are alone in their room.

    A more subtle but equally important benefit is building the capacity to test the validity of thoughts and see nuance in the world. Many of the examples of core beliefs presented in our textbooks are very black and white. Depressed and anxious individuals may think of themselves, others, and the world as fundamentally bad, untrustworthy, and dangerous. Someone may think “I’m incompetent and unlikable”, when the reality of their likeability and competency is enormously complex. A more accurate conception, just to start, might look something like “I generally struggle with planning, talking to new people, managing finances, and keeping my belongings organized, although I am making progress by practicing these things. I am also a skilled musician, good at writing, cook yummy food, have many close friends who appreciate my time, insight, and humor, etc.”.

    I think that practicing viewing life with more nuance creates a skillset and habit of thinking more broadly about one’s situation, and approach things from a flexible and balanced perspectives. This allows us to draw on a variety of emotion or problem focused skills when necessary. Rather than narrowly fixating on a stressor, it becomes easier to keep in mind things we are grateful for, people that we can go to for support, skillsets we have demonstrated, and behaviors that have been effective in solving problems or changing our emotional state.

    Reply

    • Jenna Nikolopoulos
      Mar 05, 2020 @ 11:14:51

      Hi Bobby! I like how you applied the de-catastrophizing and separating self Socratic techniques as effective ways to help Mark modify his negative automatic thought. De-catastrophizing would be beneficial as, like you said, it allows Mark to recognize that he is thinking of the worst-case scenario. By having Mark think of the best, worst, and most realistic cases and having him speculate the worst thing that could happen if his thoughts were true, Mark will be able to acknowledge that worst-case scenarios don’t usually happen and if they do, it’s not as bad it seems and can use coping skills to help him deal with the validity of his thoughts. Also, separating self would be beneficial as it allows Mark to view the situation from a different perspective, which will help him depersonalize the situation, like you said, because he’s able to view the situation from a more objective manner.

      Reply

    • Tim Keir
      Mar 07, 2020 @ 22:02:39

      Hey Bobby!

      I want a copy of your first book when it’s written. Your descriptions of core beliefs and relevant examples of the value in changing them are both easily digestible and entertaining. Your positive yet rational approach to the core beliefs I’m sure will be beneficial to all lucky enough to work with you. Also, spot on with Mark’s fixation on the negative event. Any one of those techniques would likely help Mark move on far quicker than he did in the moment.

      Reply

  8. Erin Wilbur
    Mar 04, 2020 @ 22:20:06

    1. Mark’s response to the outcome of the situation is helpful for understanding his distress because it helps the counselor to identify the automatic thoughts and, eventually, core beliefs that arise. By understanding the different thoughts and emotions that Mark has in response to his experiences, he and the therapist can identify the core beliefs that they stem from. Understanding this distress is key for helping Mark with psychoeducation surrounding his different automatic thoughts and core beliefs because it gives the therapist insight into possible patterns in Mark’s thinking. Identifying these patterns is important for future techniques and interventions that the therapist may want to implement.
    2. Effective Socratic techniques to help modify Mark’s negative automatic thoughts would be examining the evidence and exploring possible alternative solutions. The therapist should examine the evidence supporting and against Mark’s thought that Jeff doesn’t want to spend time with him, such as that he’s turned Mark down before. This will help Mark and the therapist determine the validity of the thought. Then, Mark should explore possible alternative solutions to why Jeff may have said no to lunch. It could be things like Mark had other lunch plans already, he was too busy at work to take a lunch break, or he didn’t have the budget to buy lunch. Exploring these other options could be extremely helpful for modifying Mark’s automatic thought by helping him see that he personalized the event, and there could be a logical explanation for why Jeff said no.
    1. Core beliefs are all-or-nothing statements involving the self, others, and how the world works. These views are rigid and overgeneralized and fall into three categories: worthlessness, helplessness, and unlovability. These beliefs typically develop in childhood and are biased, in that the individual believes all supporting evidence for them and disregards anything contrary.
    2. There are many therapeutic gains that come from modifying core beliefs. Modifying these negative views reduces the client’s distress but also prepares them for future negative core beliefs so that they can hopefully resist these stressors. Modifying these core beliefs can also help the client to identify the positive beliefs they hold as well which is helpful in reducing distress while in therapy and in the future. Identifying and understanding core beliefs as a therapist also helps with effective case formulation which leads to more effective treatments. Overall, modifying these negative core beliefs will lead to a higher level of self-efficacy for the client, which will be beneficial during and after therapy for reaching goals and resisting stressors.

    Reply

    • Shelby Piekarczyk
      Mar 05, 2020 @ 18:42:36

      Hi Erin!

      I agree completely that identifying Marks automatic thoughts will help the therapist to identify and pin point his core beliefs in each given situation. This will ultimately also help the therapist to see any patterns on his thinking, like you had mentioned. By finding these patterns the therapist and Mark can work together to find more adaptive thought patterns. I also agree that by identifying these thought patterns the therapist can use this information to help with future techniques that will be implemented in therapy. Great job!

      Reply

    • Tim Keir
      Mar 07, 2020 @ 22:21:22

      Hey Erin!

      You are straight to the point on your descriptions of Mark’s thoughts and core beliefs! I like your style. Your examples of the concrete ways Mark could have reinterpreted the scenario all could have been effective. It would be interesting to see which ones he would have come up with on his own. As for core beliefs, it’s good you related it to the client’s self-efficacy. The client can eventually handle these sorts of emotional pitfalls on their own once they recognize how their beliefs impact their actions. Nice work!

      Reply

  9. Tim Keir
    Mar 04, 2020 @ 23:12:29

    1. How is the client’s response to the outcome helpful to understanding his distress?

    It is clear from the client’s response that there are cognitions related to the event that are crucial in developing his emotional response of feeling dejected and worthless. By observing and further questioning this event, the clinician is able to piece together the automatic thought behind it, and is even able to perceive a possible core belief; a fundamental cognition that sets expectations on how to interpret all similar outcomes. The client’s distress is revealed through proper introspection not only of the event that transpired, but how the event was interpreted emotionally and cognitively by the client.

    2. What would be effective Socratic techniques to modify his negative automatic thought?

    To apply rational Socratic thinking to the issue of Mark’s ruined lunch, the clinician could have Mark gauge the thought on a continuum. By having him self-identify how much he truly was unlikable on a scale from 0-100%, Mark may come to realize that there are for more people who enjoy his presence than not. This may help Mark move away from a baseless need to have everyone like him, and be able to accept that some of his coworkers may not enjoy his presence without losing his own feeling of self-worth. If Mark rationally thinks out that there are people who do enjoy his presence, then that is something he can remind himself in moments where he feels rejected or excluded. The act of one small group of people not liking him would then not be interpreted as all people not liking him.

    3. What are core beliefs?
    Everything I know about psychology I learned from Inside Out. To that end, core beliefs can be loosely associated with the Core Memories from that film. They are deeply embedded lessons about how the world works based on significant life experiences. These beliefs are the base cognitions that form the automatic thoughts which shape our responses to stimuli. There are positive core beliefs which help the individual live a functional life. Alternatively, there are core beliefs that helped people manage extreme or unhealthy environments but impact their ability to function adaptively in other environments. Even worse, there are core beliefs that arise without any connected utility to the individual, but still persist due to a selective bias in perception. What I mean by that is that people tend to accept information that confirms their core beliefs, and often dismiss evidence to the contrary. They are deeply embedded in a person’s sense of self, and are often not consciously known. Recognizing and then changing core beliefs is pretty gosh darn hard. So let’s give it a shot!

    4. What are the therapeutic gains that come from modifying core beliefs?

    Are your core beliefs bringing you down? Are deeply held internal beliefs of being helplines, worthless, or unlovable impairing your ability to live a productive and fruitful lifestyle? Are these views skewing your perception of yourself, others, or the world at large? Well then I have the product for you: it’s cognitive restructuring of your core beliefs! That’s right, those cognitive rules that you use to perceive the world around you are not set in stone! If they’re bumming you out, just switch em out!

    Okay, so it’s not that simple. It would be cool if you could pop your core beliefs in an out like those marbles from Inside Out. While it is indeed far more complicated than that to modify core beliefs, there is great value in it. Beliefs that maladaptively impact the individual should be altered to better fit the client’s goals and environment. Such modification, even slight changes from an extreme stance to a more moderate stance, will heavily impact the content of a person’s automatic thoughts. When a person’s cognitive and emotional reaction to events is altered, so too will their behaviors change in turn. If done selectively and consciously, the modification of core beliefs can allow a person to change their actions and lifestyles. Patterns of behavior that caused the individual distress could be minimized, and replaced with more productive or rewarding behaviors. These in turn could create a positive feedback loop, reinforcing the validity of the new belief and further displacing the old. Thus, knowledge and practical tweaking of core beliefs can be instrumental in creating global changes in the person’s internal and external life.

    Reply

    • Jenna Nikolopoulos
      Mar 05, 2020 @ 11:40:21

      Hi Tim! I love your description of core beliefs and how you related it to the movie Inside Out. The memories in the movie, and whether they were sad or happy, are like core beliefs as they too give a basis for how one responds to situations in his/her environment because the individual’s past experiences has taught him/her how to react to certain stimuli that he/she encounters. Due to these processes happening unconsciously, the individual doesn’t realize that he/she is internalizing these beliefs and making them a part of who they are, which makes it really hard to try and change them in the future. I think you did a great job of describing how cognitive restructuring can help clients modify their core beliefs and can impact their life in a positive way by changing the way clients respond to certain stimuli, which will help them learn more adaptive behaviors to improve their overall functioning.

      Reply

  10. Mariah Fraser
    Mar 05, 2020 @ 11:17:30

    Automatic Thoughts
    1.Mark’s response to the outcome was feelings of sadness and guilt that he was sitting and eating lunch alone. This tie into his negative automatic thought that people don’t want to spend time with him, which stems from the core belief of being unlovable. This provides a lot of information because the therapist will be able to see how this is a pattern in Mark’s life, and they will collaboratively be able to modify those thoughts and core beliefs that will allow Mark to have fewer negative responses to similar situations in the future. This helps to identify what specific situations are generating these thoughts and emotions, as well as tendencies the client may have, which in this case is self-perpetuation in Mark. He feels badly about Jeff declining to get lunch, thinking it’s because Jeff doesn’t have time for him or doesn’t want to spend time with him; then he goes to lunch alone and starts ruminating on the situation which continues to generate negative emotions and thoughts; this further makes Mark feel badly because he begins thinking about how he is eating alone because no one wants to get lunch with him because he’s unlovable. All of this provides important information in determining how to help Mark identify, evaluate and modify these negative automatic thoughts.

    2.One technique that may be beneficial to Mark would be examining the evidence. Identifying evidence that supports and contradicts his thoughts would likely provide a different perspective. It is likely that if this is the first time Jeff has declined lunch, then Mark’s core belief that he is unlovable would not be supported because Jeff has gotten lunch with him in the past and they have had a good time. Another technique would be to explore possible alternative explanations. If Mark can think of other reasons why Jeff didn’t get lunch with him (e.g. he was really busy at work, he had a lot to catch up on) then this may again provide a different perspective that helps relieve some of Mark’s distress. A third technique could be to assess the impact of believing this negative automatic thought. Exploring the outcomes of Mark’s thought, (which in this example was that he felt guilty and sad that he was sitting alone because he believed that Jeff didn’t want to spend time with him) would help Mark understand why believing this thought creates more distress.

    Core Beliefs
    1.Core beliefs are all-or-nothing statements that provide rules for information processing and influence views of the self, others and how the world works. These beliefs tend to be rigid, global, and overgeneralized. There are three categories of core beliefs: helplessness, worthlessness, unlovability. Core beliefs usually develop during childhood and into adolescence through significant life events and people, and are typically created to serve a functional purpose that is no longer valid as they continue to develop through life. These negative core beliefs are biased because they are reinforced only by supportive evidence, as contrary evidence is ignored. These beliefs are also self-perpetuating because they are reinforced and found to be valid through negative patterns of automatic thoughts, negative emotions, and maladaptive behaviors. These negative core beliefs can be replaced with more accurate ones using Socratic techniques. Finally, positive core beliefs tend to be overlooked when the individual is in distress.

    2.Adapting and modifying negative core beliefs will have a significant impact on negative automatic thoughts because when these thoughts occur, the client can immediately invalidate and modify their thoughts. Transforming core beliefs from negative and inaccurate to a more positive and accurate standpoint will undoubtedly decrease the client’s distress in situations that are challenging in some way. The relationship between thoughts, behaviors and the environment all have a significant impact on one another — so if the client can change core beliefs and thus change their thoughts, the behaviors and the environment will change as well.

    Reply

    • Shelby Piekarczyk
      Mar 05, 2020 @ 18:48:20

      Hi Mariah,

      I agree that exploring the evidence would be a good socratic technique to use with Mark because all of his evidence may not be valid. Because of this he could have negative automatic thoughts about the situation that have no validity. However, checking the evidence some of Marks facts could be true. This could ultimately help the therapist work through all of Marks thoughts, true or false and the validity with each. I also agree that looking at alternative explanations would help Mark because what his initial thoughts are may not be the reality of the situation. By looking at these alternative explanations Mark can gather different perspectives of why his coworker did not want to get lunch. Good job!

      Reply

  11. Ashley Foster
    Mar 05, 2020 @ 11:28:31

    Mark’s response to the outcome is helpful in understanding the distress he is enduring. As Mark is talking on Jeff saying “no” to going to lunch with him, the clinician can gain much insight on Mark’s emotions and cognitions. Some things that can examined are how he is coping with distress, what negative thoughts are coming from core beliefs, and other patterns of behavior. This will aid the clinician in what best treatments and interventions to implement to better help the client.

    With dealing his event of asking Jeff to lunch and the automatic thought of Jeff not wanting to spend time with him, I would use the Socratic technique separating self from negative automatic thought to modify his negative automotive thought. At this point, the worst that could happen in the case of Mark’s automatic thought has at this point come true. I believe because of this, pulling himself out of the negative thought and bringing in a different perspective of thinking about this problem in a less self-personalized way would be most helpful in showing the other side to this event. I would ask Mark, if your wife was in this situation and came to you for advice what would you say. Depending on his response, I would lead the conversation towards and examination of his thoughts and feelings in that moment and follow through with even though the worst possible outcome, of Jeff saying “no” has occurred, he can use the same advice he would have given to his wife and go on with session.

    Core beliefs are a set of rules and schemas that an individual hold true to oneself. These beliefs when negative can cause all or nothing thinking, rigid, global, and overgeneralized views about themselves and others. This is how also the individual can view and describe their informational processing of their surrounding world. There are three categories of core beliefs, helplessness, worthlessness, and unlovability. These three categories not only manifest in these domains, rather they take over thought, feelings, and views of others and their world.

    The therapeutic gains that come from modifying core beliefs can be positively influential for an individual. When tackling core beliefs, the clinician is also given the task to take on negative automatic thoughts as they go hand in hand. Modification will consequently decrease distress and will help in blocking and coping with similar future stressors.

    Reply

    • Madison Armstrong
      Mar 06, 2020 @ 07:44:21

      Hi Ashley,
      I agree that by looking at Mark’s response to the outcome of the event we can gain a lot of insight on his emotions and cognitions. I thought it was insightful to see that when Jeff said no to lunch with Mark, he then went to get lunch alone and instead of staying present, he was ruminating about the event. Also, I agree with what you said about core beliefs but in addition I think another therapeutic gain would be that the therapist is getting a better understanding of their client through this process which allows them to come up with an individualized case formulation and more effective interventions.

      Reply

  12. Madison Armstrong
    Mar 05, 2020 @ 13:27:16

    Automatic Thoughts
    (1) How is the client’s response to the outcome (emotionally and cognitively) helpful to understanding his distress?

    Understanding Mark’s response to the outcome of the event that his friend rejected his lunch invite can help understand his distress. Discussing what Mark did, thought and felt after this event can help the therapist understand his automatic thoughts better. Learning just what Mark did (go to the park and have lunch alone) would not be beneficial because you would not know what he was thinking or feeling. The real distress comes from within and how he was ruminating about his friend not wanting to spend time with him and that he was feeling hurt. Talking about this with your clients can make them more aware of the chain of events that unfold and the outcome of their automatic thoughts. Learning his automatic thoughts, the therapist can predict what his core beliefs might be and future implications for treatment.

    (2) What would be effective Socratic techniques to modify his negative automatic thought?

    Examining the evidence and exploring possible alternative explanations would be two effective Socratic techniques that could be used to modify Mark’s negative automatic thoughts. Examining the evidence can be beneficial because the thought “Jeff does not want to spend time with me” could be proven false. In this case, the validity of this automatic thought is in question because we do not have Jeff’s side of the story. In the event that this automatic thought becomes valid, it would be important for him to identify this and learn how to cope with this. However, by examining the evidence the therapist can ask Mark for specific examples of how his friend does not like spending time with him and what is the evidence that goes against this thought. Exploring possible alternative situations may be beneficial for Mark because he would come up with different explanations for why Jeff could not have lunch with him. In this case, Mark is “mind-reading” or predicting how his friend is thinking or feeling. Realistically, other explanations could make sense as well such as, he was procrastinating all day and now he really does need to get back to work and does not have time for lunch. Asking Mark is there are any alternative explanations for what could have happened will allow him to put himself in Jeff’s shoes and come up with reasons why he did not spend lunch with him.

    Core Beliefs
    (1) What are core beliefs?

    Core beliefs are overgeneralized statements or rules that we make for ourselves about the world, others or ourselves that we believe to be true. They are the rules that we use to process the information we receive. For example, “I am unlovable” is a core belief that could affect how someone interacts with others, themselves and the world. These beliefs are usually developed during childhood and are influenced by interactions with significant individuals, life events, and genetic and biological vulnerabilities. Most core beliefs are positive, but when they become negative, they are more interfering and cause psychological distress. The three categories of core beliefs are helplessness, worthlessness, and unlovability. Core beliefs lead to automatic thoughts that have an impact on our behavior, emotions, and thoughts.
    (2) What are the therapeutic gains that come from modifying core beliefs?

    Modifying core beliefs has significant therapeutic gains for the individual’s daily functioning. If a core belief is correctly modified, then it will reduce the client’s current distress and also prepare them to better deal with stressors in the future and not allow that core belief to influence their thoughts, behaviors, and emotions. Becoming aware of their negative core beliefs may also bring to their conscience the positive core beliefs that they have of themselves. Being aware of these more adaptive core beliefs will allow them to use these to modify their negative core beliefs. Working on their negative core beliefs will also strengthen these positive core beliefs. Another benefit of modifying core beliefs with clients is that the therapist will get to know their client better and have a better understanding of the way their thought processes work. Having a better understanding of this will allow the therapist to come up with an individualized case formulation that allows the interventions to be mo

    Reply

    • Robert Salvucci
      Mar 06, 2020 @ 20:52:50

      Hey Maddie!

      It was insightful to point out that just noting Mark’s behavior of going to the park to each lunch is likely not too helpful in interpreting the situation. The behavior itself could potentially be a very positive experience if he was enjoying his drive, the nice weather, and mindfully eating his meal. Analyzing his thinking during the event allows the opportunity to learn about his experience and how he might mitigate some of his distress.

      I also liked how you pointed out that positive core beliefs can serve as reference points to modify negative core beliefs. These may include drawing on strengths that a client perceives or adopting a more balanced view of themselves from comparing their positive and negative beliefs.

      Reply

  13. Taylor O'Rourke
    Mar 05, 2020 @ 13:57:35

    1. How is the client’s response to the outcome (emotionally and cognitively) helpful to understanding his distress?

    The client’s response to the outcome is helpful to understanding his distress
    because it gets at the very important negative automatic thoughts that Mark is experiencing. For example, Mark has the negative automatic thought that maybe his friend does not want to be friends with him, so he feels unlikable. Although he still goes to lunch by himself, this is not as fulfilling as going to lunch with his friend. By looking at modifying any negative automatic thoughts that the client may be experiencing, the therapist can work towards getting at the even more important core beliefs that may be coming into play and causing distress. The thoughts themselves may be what is causing the distress, so any response that the client gives is helpful in determining what some of their negative automatic thoughts and core beliefs may be.

    2. What would be effective Socratic techniques to modify his negative automatic thought?

    There are many different Socratic techniques that could be effective in modifying
    Mark’s negative automatic thought. The first technique that may be beneficial is examining the evidence. By asking Mark what evidence he has to support his thoughts, this may help his realize that he truly has no evidence for why he thinks his friend does not want to hang out with him or have lunch. He could also discuss with the therapist what some evidence may be against his negative automatic thought. For example, his friend may have had to cancel for a family emergency or something to that extent—this does not mean that Mark is unlikable and should think his friend no longer wants to be friends. Another Socratic technique that could be used is descatastrophizing perceived negative outcomes. For example, in this video, Mark ended up going to lunch by himself and it was not all that bad. Talking about more situations like this is important because it shows Mark that he does not need to be dependent on other people (although it is more fun to enjoy lunch with friends). Mark should also try to separate himself from his negative automatic thoughts and shift any attributional biases.

    3. What are core beliefs?

    Core beliefs can be defined as templates for information processing. This set of
    rules includes all-or-nothing statements that are very rigid and can contain overgeneralized views about oneself, other people, and even the world. Core beliefs are also known as schemas; Beck thought of schemas as cognitive structures that were in the mind and one’s core beliefs are more specific content coming from the schemas. Because they are not exactly the same, it is more practical and better to use the term ‘core beliefs.’ There are three categories of core beliefs: helplessness, worthlessness, and unlovability. These are some of the most common feelings that individuals experience (e.g., “I am stuck,” “I am disgusting,” “I am unlovable”). Some of the key elements of core beliefs are that they typically develop during childhood and into adolescence, negative core beliefs are typically biased and self-perpetuating, and they can be modified if they are replaced with more accurate and adaptive core beliefs. In addition, positive core beliefs are typically overlooked when a person is in distress.

    4. What are the therapeutic gains that come from modifying core beliefs?

    There are many therapeutic gains that come from modifying core beliefs. By
    changing someone’s core beliefs, their distress will be reduced and they also have a type of “immunization” to any future stressors. In other words, by modifying their core beliefs, they are less likely to experience distress in the future by similar stressors. Clients do not just have negative core beliefs though; they have positive ones too. These positive core beliefs are helpful in learning to cope and can be increasingly strengthened and uncovered throughout therapy to counterbalance the negative core beliefs that are trying to be changed. People can use their positive core beliefs to help modify their negative core beliefs. Overall, the more the therapist understands about their client’s core beliefs and negative automatic thoughts, the better the CBT case formulation will be (so interventions will be more effective).

    Reply

    • Robert Salvucci
      Mar 06, 2020 @ 21:00:56

      Hi Taylor!

      I’m glad that you pointed out Mark’s interpretation of going to lunch by himself as inherently awful and mentioned the dependency on other’s that he was expressing. Mark could benefit from viewing lunch as an opportunity to take a break and enjoy a meal rather than as evidence of his unlikableness and a sad outing.

      It was also good to note that shifting core beliefs has a residual effect in the future of making clients more resilient. Changing the way that feel about themselves can lead to lasting changes in the response to stressors, self-confidence, and motivation.

      Reply

    • Ashley Foster
      Mar 07, 2020 @ 11:50:09

      Hey Taylor!
      I didn’t think about using descatastrophizing perceived negative outcomes for this post due to this being his worst case scenario, but I like how you examined this technique in your post. I think using this technique it bring the “looking at the bright side of things” approach, which could be helpful for Mark in tackling his negative automatic thoughts. Great job with the post!

      Reply

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Adam M. Volungis, PhD, LMHC

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