Topic 6: The Practice of CBT – Core Beliefs {by 3/22}

There are multiple readings due over the past two weeks (J. Beck – 2 Chapters; Wright et al. – 1 Chapter).  For this discussion, share at least two main thoughts: (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 3/22. Have your two replies posted no later than 3/24.  *Please remember to click the “reply” button when posting a reply.  This makes it easier for the reader to follow the blog postings.

29 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Teresa DiTommaso
    Mar 19, 2018 @ 16:19:52

    1. Core beliefs are the large cognitive schemas, or structures, from which automatic thoughts originate. Unlike automatic thoughts, that are specific to a particular event, core beliefs are generalized, global beliefs an individual holds that are so rigid they are often seen as a finite truth rather than a flexible belief. Core beliefs serve as filters for incoming information and drives decision-making and general behavior patterns. It is from these generalized, global beliefs that elicit automatic thoughts are triggered by specific situations. Core beliefs are often developed early on in someone’s life and sometimes are not always present. Some negative core beliefs may only be engaged during psychological distress (Beck, 2011). The three main categories of core beliefs are those related to worthlessness, helplessness, and unlovability.
    2. Although modifying negative automatic thoughts is seen as the cornerstone of cognitive behavioral therapy, modifying core beliefs also supports the idea of wellness and therapeutic improvement. It is important to note that there are some cases in which the automatic thought cannot be modified until the core belief is modified. The first step to modification of core beliefs is recognition of them, which can be often deduced from major themes of the client’s automatic thoughts (Beck, 2011). Due to the fact that core beliefs are directly connected to automatic thoughts, a therapist can modify difficult automatic thoughts if he or she modifies the core belief. That is one therapeutic use for modifying core beliefs.
    Even before modification can begin, recognition of these beliefs is necessary, and that begins with educating the client. This education provides clients with a platform that they can use to realize what their core belief is, why it is that way, and what are the necessary steps to modify if the core beliefs are not valid. The education piece serves not only to fulfill the tenant of collaborative empiricism, but also gives the clients a foundation to work from when they are dealing with other core beliefs. It is through this recognition that most clients will see that their core belief is not valid. From there, the client and clinician can work together to develop a new and realistic core belief, while strengthening it. This strengthening process provides an opportunity for clients to talk about their strengths and positive experiences. This can bring hope back into their lives and remind them that they are not defined only by their “weaknesses.” I see this encouragement as another therapeutic gain to modifying core beliefs.
    Regardless of the specific tool a clinician uses to modify a core belief, it is the general process that provides opportunities for therapeutic gains, such as education, recognition, strengthening, and developing a new core belief. These core beliefs are at the heart and soul of every human, and negative ones can be responsible for the manifestation of mental disorders. By modification, clients can change the way they look at the world and how they interact with the world as well. By taking a more positive and realistic approach, those core beliefs that once enabled negative automatic thoughts no longer exist. Therefore, the persistence of those negative automatic thoughts cease to exist as well.

    Reply

    • Aleksa Golloshi
      Mar 24, 2018 @ 06:23:47

      Hi Teresa!

      I really like how you made the distinction that in certain circumstances automatic thoughts cannot be modified until the core belief is modified. Core beliefs develop throughout an individual’s early life and persist into their later years, therefore I think the main two ways you listed to altering these beliefs are very important to consider when attempting to modify automatic thoughts. Recognition, as you mentioned, is crucial to altering one’s core beliefs; it allows the client to identify what areas of their thinking have negatively impacted them and would best benefit to explore. I also like how you mentioned modifying core beliefs would help clients take a more realistic approach in their interactions with the world. This will help clients understand that their negative automatic thoughts can be altered or even cease to exist, as you also discussed.

      Reply

    • Allexys Burbo
      Mar 24, 2018 @ 22:41:41

      Hey Teresa,

      Your discussion around the importance of modifying automatic thoughts at their core is a significant detail, especially within the realm of CBT. While modifying negative automatic thoughts is central to the therapeutic process, it is through the modification of core beliefs that lasting change may occur. If through the therapeutic exchange the client is able to gain the insight necessary for identifying the negative, maladaptive patterns of thinking that perpetuate behavior, they may in turn find it easier to make the changes necessary for lasting success outcomes. Recognizing automatic thoughts is an integral step in identifying core beliefs and while the modification process can occur at the level of automatic thinking, significant and lasting change may be better attained if challenges to core beliefs follow. Additionally, in helping the client realize they possess the ability to modify maladaptive core beliefs, they may also identify positive ones. In strengthening positive core beliefs, while challenging negative ones, the client is reminded that they possess the qualities necessary for positive change – that they are not simply a product of their negative experiences, but also that of positive ones which may strengthen their self-efficacy (a therapeutic gain).

      Reply

  2. Abbey Lake
    Mar 21, 2018 @ 15:03:41

    1.) Core beliefs develop from a young age into adolescence through interactions, important life events, and/or genetic and biological vulnerability. They may have a significant influence on the way an individual views him/herself, others, and the world. They are the beliefs that an individual holds and may be expressed or even reinforced by patterns of negative automatic thoughts or maladaptive behaviors, as negative core beliefs are often self perpetuating, especially when an individual is under psychological distress. Core beliefs can be either positive or negative and have a significant impact on the ways that an individual processes information. Negative core beliefs may be modified or replaced by core beliefs that are more accurate and adaptive. Three common categories of negative core beliefs that may cause patients to process information in a maladaptive way include helplessness, worthlessness, and unloveability. Core beliefs tend to be both overgeneralized and rigid (Beck, 2011). Strengthening positive core beliefs may help an individual to cope with stressful situations and reduce psychological distress.

    2.) Many therapeutic gains may come from modifying core beliefs that may be negatively impacting a client. As I previously mentioned, strengthening positive core beliefs may help an individual to productively cope with stressful situations and reduce psychological distress. The same holds truth for changing maladaptive negative core beliefs. Importantly, modifying negative core beliefs will prepare an individual to function in a more adaptive and realistic way and to cope more successfully during future stressful situations. It is also a way for the therapist to gain insight regarding the client’s current vulnerabilities and help the therapist to understand what lead to these vulnerabilities and what type of situations the client may struggle with. Modifying negative core beliefs may help to change how an individual perceives him/herself into a more realistic and positive way. It can also benefit the client by helping him/her to view the world in a more functional way that may have a significant positive impact on the individual’s social interactions. Changing core beliefs may ultimately aid in alleviating symptoms by helping to eliminate negative automatic thoughts that may be causing an individual distress and leading to maladaptive behaviors.
    Paying attention to a client’s positive core beliefs and working to strengthen these beliefs may aid in strengthening the therapeutic relationship by creating an opportunity for the therapist to acknowledge the client’s strengths which may be a great opportunity to help the client feel more optimistic and hopeful regarding his/her future and treatment in therapy.

    Reply

    • Lexie Ford-Clottey
      Mar 22, 2018 @ 13:57:17

      Hey Abbey,
      In your discussion of the therapeutic gains that come from modifying core beliefs, I appreciate your focus on strengthening the positive core beliefs of clients, considering such qualities are often overlooked or minimized. Although CBT is primarily based on changing or reframing the thoughts of clients, it is also important for clinicians to point out client strengths by using these opportunities to foster hope, optimism, and recognition. In regards to core beliefs, this strengthening process allows clients to take on a new perspective, where they view themselves as more than their difficulties, in which such “weaknesses” do not dictate who they are. Essentially, by focusing on positive core beliefs, clients gain insight to all the other great qualities they may possess and how this leads to effective coping. I also like how you mention that the modification of a negative core belief can change how a client may perceive him/ herself, indicating a boost in self-esteem or self-efficacy. By adopting a more realistic core belief this enhances motivation, the sense of “I can do things”, and positive behavioral change. When clients feel good about themselves they are able to take control of their lives in a more positive and appropriate manner.

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    • Cassie McGrath
      Mar 24, 2018 @ 18:47:27

      Hey Abbey,

      I liked your explanation of what a core belief is and I think that you did a good job of explaining the development of core beliefs. I also think the it is important that you identified the three most common negative core beliefs. As a clinician it is important that we look for patterns and by identifying these and being aware of them a clinician may have a better chance of being able to identify these patterns which brings us to your second response. If there is an ability to identify the core belief and it is determined that it is negative then the client and the clinician can work to change the negative core belief. I think that two important parts of the changing of core beliefs that you brought up is that the changing of these negative core beliefs can not only allow for the individual to have a more positive image of him or herself but also to allow for overall more adaptive functioning. Both of these factors can act as motivators for change in the individual and the clinician.

      Reply

    • Tori Bryant
      Mar 24, 2018 @ 19:15:56

      Hi Abbey,
      I liked how you pointed out how positive core beliefs are useful and can assist in modifying negative core beliefs in therapy with our clients. It seems most of our class discussions and readings focus on negative core beliefs, understandably so as we are typically discussing those who are functioning in a maladaptive way, but it can be easy to forget that positive core beliefs must exist as well and could be beneficial in the treatment setting. It is important to instill hope in clients and reminding them of their strengths, pointing out how they function adaptively, and providing them with healthier perspectives are crucial to the building optimism that they are capable of making change. Positive core beliefs can be used as good examples of how to modify negative core beliefs and therapists can refer back to them often as gentle reminders of how the client has been successful in the past and can channel that success in different parts of his or her life.

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  3. Tori Bryant
    Mar 21, 2018 @ 16:16:50

    1) What are core beliefs? Core beliefs can be described as the content of cognitive structures, known as schemas. Core beliefs and schemas begin developing in childhood and continue to develop in various ways depending on experiences throughout life and genetic dispositions. All people, whether they are functioning in an adaptive way or maladaptive way, have positive and negative core beliefs. Negative core beliefs typically fit into three categories: helplessness, worthlessness, and unlovability. These particular categories of core beliefs can have a great negative influence on day-to-day functioning for clients. On average, clients tend to generalize their core beliefs globally and in a very fixed way that does not allow for flexibility.
    Core beliefs are often able to be summarized with one or two words; whereas, automatic thoughts are often phrases and lengthier. Core beliefs that the client finds to be valid, are not articulated easily; therefore, effort and exploration through collaborative empiricism between client and therapist is required to fully understand and delve into the core belief.
    2) What are the therapeutic gains that come from modifying core beliefs? It is therapeutically beneficial to modify core beliefs so that clients can have a more adaptive, realistic perspective on themselves and how they interact with their various environments. Core beliefs tend to be overgeneralized and rigid; therefore, they are applied in contexts they may not necessarily need to be. Negative core beliefs may prevent clients from performing well in their environment and even if they do perform well, they may not believe they did. For example, if an individual whose core belief pertains to being unlikeable does well in a social situation, he or she may walk away from the interaction thinking maladaptively that he or she did not do well, and they are unable to be liked. If a therapist works with him or her to modify this core belief, this individual would hopefully see his or her social performance in a more realistic way and give him or herself some credit or understand what to work on in the future without finding extreme fault with him or herself personally.
    Understanding that a core belief is an idea and not an exact truth can be very powerful for clients because ideas can be examined and critiqued; whereas truths seem more concrete and not able to be modified. Viewing core beliefs as a truth does not instill a large amount of hope or possibility for change, but when core beliefs are viewed as ideas clients may feel more optimistic about examining and modifying them. Gently and empathetically challenging clients’ core beliefs can open their eyes to where there may be inconsistencies in evidence against the core belief and buying into their core belief. It is important to recognize that clients do commonly have some evidence for the core belief and that evidence can be discussed and validated so that the client does not feel completely shut down or not believed. Once evidence has been examined, the therapist and client can work together within their solid therapeutic relationship to modify the core belief and/or how to cope with the truths it does bring. Modifying, coping, and accepting will assist the client in a more realistic worldview and view of themselves, which will help them functioning more adaptively.

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    • Lexie Ford-Clottey
      Mar 23, 2018 @ 01:05:19

      Hey Tori,
      In describing the therapeutic gains that come from modifying core beliefs, I think it was important to focus on the environment, and more specifically how negative and positive core beliefs influence client interactions with his/he social world. As mentioned in your post, client beliefs often dictate how he/she interprets the world around them and more importantly the relationships formed with others. In regards to negative core beliefs, I agree that individuals who believe they are unlikeable or unable to do anything right will view their transactions/interactions with their environment through a negative lens, which often leads to distress and dichotomous thinking. It is not until such beliefs are modified that clients are able to adopt a more realistic outlook on the influence they have on the environment and vice versa. I also like your perspective regarding how clients should view their core beliefs, in which such beliefs should be seen as an idea rather than a truth. I think viewing a core belief as an idea allows for flexibility, indicating clients are more likely to consider other perspectives and appear optimistic towards change. When core beliefs are viewed as a truth clients may feel that such beliefs cannot be restructured because they tend to interfere with the framework that has governed their ideas, values, and beliefs.

      Reply

    • Allexys Burbo
      Mar 24, 2018 @ 23:03:05

      Hey Tori,

      I agree with your idea that in modifying core beliefs the client has the ability to create a more adaptive, realistic perspective of self in relation to their role in the environment. While negative core beliefs often find themselves in various contexts, they tend to be so overgeneralized that they become virtually invalid. In helping the client to identify this tendency (pattern), they may reevaluate the faulty patterns of thinking and behaving that have prevented them from attaining success (in various contexts). The idea is to help them recognize that their negative core beliefs inhibit their ability to perceive the world realistically in a number of environments and in numerous circumstances. In identifying the thought as separate from self, and in understanding that the client possesses the ability to assert control over his/her own thinking by modifying negative core beliefs, they may create a more accurate account of their experience and have a greater chance of asserting control over their life – especially in the presence of distress.

      Reply

  4. Stephanie Mourad
    Mar 21, 2018 @ 21:14:03

    What are core beliefs?
    Core beliefs are typically all or nothing statements that are rigid, global, and overgeneralized view about the self, others, and how the world works. If patterns of thinking are previous in nature, then there is a good chance the negative automatic thoughts are an external representation of internal negative core beliefs. There are three components to core beliefs. Helplessness is the feeling of being ineffective, vulnerable low achievement. Worthlessness is the feeling of bad, unworthy, and the feeling of being dangerous to other people. Unloveability is the defectiveness in character so as to preclude gaining the sustained love and caring of others. Core beliefs are viewed in three lenses, self, others, and the world.

    What are the therapeutic gains that come from modifying core beliefs?
    The first is to determine if your client’s negative core beliefs have therapeutic relevance and are appropriate for medication, not all negative core beliefs are worth exploring. It is also good to keep in mind that it is neither possible nor practical to fully reduce the believability of a core belief to nothing. Therapeutic work on modifying core beliefs can lead to important gains in self-esteem and behavioral effectiveness. These core beliefs are deeply embedded basic rules of thinking, the therapist may need to show ingenuity and persistence in brining them to the surface. When clients no longer believe their negative core beliefs strongly, they will be able to interpret their experiences in a more realistic, functional way. This could be helpful for anxiety disorders, altering the client’s thoughts could help with gaining self-esteem and confidence. This could result in less worry and less panic attacks that may be caused by negative automatic thoughts.

    Reply

    • Aleksa Golloshi
      Mar 24, 2018 @ 06:38:41

      Hey Steph!

      I like how you mentioned that not all core beliefs are worth exploring, because as we discussed in class some core beliefs might be true and in this case we might need to learn how to cope with the beliefs, rather than modifying them. I also enjoy how you discussed that modifying core beliefs leads to gains in self-esteem. I think this is vital to successful sessions with our clients. If a client modifies a core belief that was really upsetting to them and impacting their way of viewing the world then their attitudes will alter and become more positive. I also like how you discuss that core beliefs are deeply embedded in our ways of thinking, which could lead the therapist to be persistent and challenge the client’s thinking in order to resurface automatic thoughts and core beliefs.

      Reply

    • Cassie McGrath
      Mar 24, 2018 @ 19:05:15

      Hey Steph,

      I think you did a really good job of talking about the needier lack of need to change a core belief. You bring up a good point that not all core beliefs need to be changed and that there is a good amount of clinical judgment that has to be used to determine the necessity as well as the client’s willingness to change.I also think that your point about not erasing a core belief is important to understand as a clinician. There is a possibility for change in core beliefs but to completely remove an idea from an individual is not possible. I think that remembering this is important so that realistic goals can be set but also so that the client is able to feel that he or she is achieving these goals. I like that you bring up a practical application when explaining this as well, by mentioning how the changing of negative core beliefs can aid in the decrease in symptoms of anxiety.

      Reply

  5. Sarah Mombourquette
    Mar 21, 2018 @ 21:39:04

    1) What are core beliefs?
    Core beliefs can be described as a person’s central ideas about himself or herself. Core beliefs can be relate to ideas of helplessness, unlovability, and worthlessness. Core beliefs are more generalizable than automatic thoughts. Therefore, they relate to global concepts rather than specific events. Negative core beliefs are regarded by the individual as absolute truths. However, negative core beliefs are ideas rather than truths and can therefore be false. Core beliefs are often formed in early childhood. As an individual has more experiences, the core beliefs can be continuously maintained. Even if experiences that contradict the core belief occur, the individual will still regard the core belief as true. This shows that core beliefs are not only global, but they are also rigid. Although an individual might not be aware of these core beliefs, the beliefs still have a great amount of influence over the individual.
    2) What are the therapeutic gains that come from modifying core beliefs?
    Core beliefs can be considered the foundation of an individual’s self-esteem and self-concept. This will also influence the individual’s behavior. Positive core beliefs that promote a positive self-concept have the potential to lead to adaptive behavior whereas negative core beliefs that promote a negative self-concept have the potential to lead to maladaptive behavior. Therefore, modifying core beliefs will help to increase the individual’s self-esteem and enhance his or her self-concept. Similarly, an individual’s core beliefs will be a tool for how he or she filters information from the environment. If an individual is using a negative core belief to understand what is happening around him or her, it could lead to further self-deprecation. Modifying core beliefs will help the individual to filter information from the environment in a more realistic way. Both of the previous examples further explain why a core belief would impact behavior. If an individual interprets something based on a negative self-view or unrealistic understanding, he or she will not behave in the way that is realistically appropriate for that situation. Therefore, modifying core beliefs can set the foundation for positive behavioral change. Another gain from modifying core beliefs is that it could lead to the relief of current symptoms. A client who enters therapy is often related to how he or she is feeling or behaving. By modifying negative core beliefs, the clinician is able to help the client to feel better about himself or herself as well as find ways to enact behavioral modification. Both of these benefits will further influence the current symptoms. Helping a client to modify his or her negative core beliefs will also help the client to resist stressors in the future. Because CBT is not meant to be long-term, the client will learn through the modification of core beliefs how to cope with negative thought patterns in the future when the clinician is no longer there.

    Reply

    • Teresa DiTommaso
      Mar 23, 2018 @ 18:12:53

      Hi Sarah,

      I just wanted to thank you for bringing up the aspect of self-esteem in reference to core beliefs. Although I thought about it as a filter system, I did not think to mention the affect the core beliefs have on self-esteem. The idea of it affecting self-concept is pretty obvious, but the extension of self-esteem was something I did not think about. Especially what you said about the negative filter that a person may hold because of their inappropriate view of a situation and how that could be generalized to other aspects of their life as well.

      Reply

    • Tori Bryant
      Mar 24, 2018 @ 19:21:40

      Hi Sarah,
      I think you do a great job of pointing out the fact that core beliefs are rigid. It is important as trainees for us to understand that our clients will have had these negative core beliefs about themselves and how they influence their various environments for a long time and have applied them to many aspects of their lives. With this understanding, we will not underestimate the work and empathy that needs to go into identifying and modifying negative core beliefs. It may seem obvious to us that a core belief is inaccurate or maladaptive, but because clients have held them as rigid, absolute truths it would be insensitive for us immediately discredit their line of thinking. Validating them appropriately in their feelings surrounding their negative core beliefs will be important to build up the therapeutic alliance so that modification of the negative core belief will be much more successful. Trust is an absolute necessity when we are challenging the rigidity of clients’ beliefs and that takes sensitivity and empathy.

      Reply

  6. Lexie Ford-Clottey
    Mar 21, 2018 @ 23:26:32

    1. Core beliefs, quite similar to schemas, are typically characterized by rigid all-or-nothing statements that are based on an individual’s most central ideas about the self, other people, and how the world “works.” While automatic thoughts tend to be specific to an event, core beliefs are global beliefs that are often hard to break away from since this is all an individual may know, leaving no room for flexibility. Through identifying automatic thoughts, it is possible to uncover the core beliefs that underlie personalities. Although it is rather common for core beliefs to go unnoticed, unchanged, or even present themselves later in life due to certain circumstances, such beliefs tend to develop in childhood. With this said, the contributing factors that solidify these strongly held beliefs as absolute truths include interactions with significant others (e.g., parents/guardians, peers), important life events, and genetic/biological vulnerabilities (e.g., intelligence, temperament). This shows that the development of these beliefs at an early age helps establish the basic framework for how individuals judge and evaluate others. It is important to keep in mind that all individuals hold positive and negative core beliefs, regardless of one’s psychological functioning. Negative core beliefs often present themselves during times of psychological distress and often revolve around themes concerning helplessness, unlovability, and worthlessness. However, most individuals maintain relatively positive and realistic core beliefs where he/she may believe “I am worthwhile” or “I am likable.” This shows that whether positive or negative, the core beliefs individuals hold tend to influence behavior patterns, the types of decisions made, and how one may respond to his/her environment.

    2. Clinicians utilize many tools and techniques (e.g., Socratic questioning, examining advantages and disadvantages, etc.) in order to modify the core beliefs of clients, often leading to significant and positive therapeutic gains. One therapeutic gain associated with the modification of core beliefs is the way therapists help clients recognize such beliefs, which is done most commonly by educating the client. Through psychoeducation clients are provided with the knowledge, resources, and tools to understanding what a core belief is, what their core belief may be, how it has impacted his/her life, and what can be done to modify it if necessary. Education is important to the modification of core beliefs considering most of these beliefs go unnoticed or unchanged. The more informed or knowledgeable a client is dictates how he/she may view the change process, in which educated clients are likely to take more responsibility and ownership within the therapeutic process. Educated clients are likely to recognize that their core belief is not accurate, and by working together with therapists are able to consider new perspectives by developing a more positive and realistic core belief. In many ways than one, psychoeducation also strengths the therapeutic relationship and facilitates collaboration. In the process of modifying a core belief, it is possible for the automatic thoughts of clients to become evident, which serves as a therapeutic gain. Automatic thoughts originate from core beliefs, indicating that automatic thoughts cannot be modified until the core belief is identified. Through identifying automatic thoughts, it is possible to uncover the main beliefs that underlie personalities, considering most core beliefs go unnoticed. When negative core beliefs are modified this enhances well-being, and more specifically how individuals view the self and the environment around them. When clients are able to form and adopt more adaptive core beliefs this allows them to take control over their lives in a healthier way. The modification of negative core beliefs also provides hope to clients, indicating change is possible and alternatives do exist. For clients who may have felt unlovable or worthless, a more positive core belief can facilitate an increase in self-esteem and self-efficacy, where clients are focused on strengths, accomplishments, and what they can do. Lastly, another therapeutic gain to modifying core beliefs is recognizing and strengthening the positive/adaptive core beliefs of clients that may contribute to helpful coping. Strengthening positive core beliefs not only helps to reduce current distress but also shows clients how they are more than their difficulties, which might be something they may have minimized in the past. With this said, the modification of core beliefs serves as a learning opportunity for clients, in which they learn how to become independent and aware of their thoughts and beliefs even after therapy has ended.

    Reply

    • Abbey Lake
      Mar 22, 2018 @ 13:43:32

      Hi Lexie,
      You made a lot of important points in regards to core beliefs and the therapeutic benefit of modifying core beliefs. One point that specifically stood out to me was the distinction you made between automatic thoughts and core beliefs. Automatic thoughts are often related to a certain event as opposed to core beliefs, which are more broad, overarching ideas that develop in childhood into adolescence that an individual strongly believes to be true. I agree that core beliefs are therefore not as flexible, making the modification of core beliefs to be somewhat challenging. Identifying automatic thoughts helps to identify core beliefs. Modifying negative core beliefs may help to eliminate negative automatic thoughts and replace them with more realistic, positive thoughts that ultimately lead to more adaptive behaviors and aid in eliminating distress. I agree that psychoeducation is imperative to therapy and modification of core beliefs, because it helps a client to become more aware of his/her beliefs, which may otherwise be unrecognized. I like that you pointed out how educating a client may help him/her to take responsibility within the therapeutic process and recognize that there may be healthier perspectives than the current negative core beliefs that he/she may have. Learning about how to recognize and modify negative core beliefs may help the client to be able to function more adaptively and may even improve the client’s social interactions by helping the client to have a more positive and realistic outlook regarding him/herself, others, and the world.

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  7. Aleksa Golloshi
    Mar 22, 2018 @ 07:07:28

    1. Core beliefs can be described as global and absolute rules for interpreting environmental information related to an individual’s self-esteem. These rules can be viewed as overgeneralizations about how the world functions. Core beliefs begin during the childhood period; children try making sense of their environment at this young age by attempting to organize their experiences in a coherent way in order to adaptively function. These beliefs are so fundamental and deep that individuals don’t often talk about them to others or even to themselves. Core beliefs also have a significant influence on the development of an intermediate class of beliefs, which involves attitudes, assumptions, and rules. An individual’s attitude may be “it’s terrible to fail,” while a rule they’ve created for themselves is, “give up if a challenge appears too great.” An assumption related to this scenario is, “if I attempt to do something difficult I will fail but if I avoid doing it I will be okay.” The individual’s automatic thoughts have a subconscious influence, which develop into core beliefs that an individual forms over time.

    2. Modifying core beliefs can help an individual lead a healthy life. Patients can learn to alter these beliefs so that they are able to interpret future situations or problems in a more constructive way, rather than a negative way. Current stress will be reduced but the client will also form some sort of “immunization” to resist possible future stressors. Automatic thoughts should be identified so that patients can then modify their core beliefs. Modifying their beliefs will allow them to understand that just because they believe something does not necessarily mean that this is true. Their thinking needs to change so that it is more reality based and this will then cause a therapeutic advance that will help them feel better and progress toward their goals. By being repeatedly exposed to experiences in which they gain relief by working at a more superficial level of cognition, clients become more open to evaluating and modifying the beliefs. This allows the client’s thinking to be altered into cognitive thinking. When a client’s core beliefs are reevaluated their perceptions and conclusions about events change. This modification is important because it makes clients less likely to relapse and begin to think negatively again. It is also important to identify that the client will have some adaptive and positive core beliefs that are helpful when the client needs to cope. These specific beliefs should be strengthened so that the client understands that not all of their beliefs are negative, which will then provide encouragement to continue to uncover and modify negative core beliefs. The more a clinician understands their client’s core beliefs the more accurate and comprehensive the clinician’s case formulation will be, which in turn effects the interventions the pair creates to help the client life a more adaptive lifestyle.

    Reply

    • Abbey Lake
      Mar 22, 2018 @ 14:03:52

      Hi Aleksa,
      I enjoyed reading your post, because I found your perspective on the reading to be spot on and quite interesting to read. I specifically liked your point of how an individual’s automatic thoughts have a subconscious influence, which may develop into core beliefs that an individual forms over time. I think this is an important point to make because when trying to identify core beliefs it is helpful to first identify automatic thoughts. Modifying negative core beliefs may help an individual to look at the world in a more realistic manner. This can also aid in changing maladaptive behaviors and help to alleviate unnecessary distress that an individual may be facing. It is also important to acknowledge that core beliefs develop from a young age into adolescence making them quite rigid and sometimes hard for individuals to identify as they may not recognize or even speak of these beliefs. I like that you mentioned one of the major therapeutic benefits of modifying core beliefs, which is that doing so may act as an “immunization” to resist possible future stressors. I think that preparing an individual to be able to carry out what is learned in therapy after therapy has concluded is an important aspect of CBT and therefore this is an important aspect to mention in regards to modifying core beliefs. The more practice that a client has with recognizing and modifying negative core beliefs, the more they will find that their stress has decreased and they may be able to function in a more positive, realistic, and adaptive manner.

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    • Stephanie Mourad
      Mar 24, 2018 @ 13:40:06

      Hi Aleksa,
      I agree that modifying core beliefs lead to healthy life. I agree with that it helps patients interpret future situations in a more positive or constructive way rather than a negative way. This could be helpful with those with anxiety disorders, who only focus on the negative rather than the positive. Modifying core beliefs can help with self-esteem and confidence. The patients look at certain situations from many perspectives rather than looking at it in one negative way.

      Reply

  8. Allexys Burbo
    Mar 22, 2018 @ 14:27:48

    (1) Core beliefs often present themselves in the form of all-or-nothing statements – representative of dyadic thinking – that reflect a rigid, global, and overgeneralized view of self, others, and how the world functions. Core beliefs are essentially the foundation of automatic thinking which, when pervasive, demonstrate and external representation of internal beliefs. The persistent patterns of thinking exhibited by core beliefs often develop during childhood and persist through adolescence, emerging from the individual’s experience (i.e., significant life events, significant people, and genetic vulnerability). The development of core beliefs often emerges as the result of a number of significant interactions between the individual and their immediate experience. Although negative core beliefs are generally maladaptive in nature, they may serve a functional purpose for the individual – the issue, however, is that they prove no longer valid. Negative core beliefs are not only biased, but also self-perpetuating. As the individual uses supportive information to help reinforce their negative core beliefs, they often disregard information that is contrary and may in fact disprove their perception. In this instance, negative core beliefs are reinforced and validated by persistent patterns of negative automatic thoughts, negative emotions, and maladaptive behaviors. Core beliefs typically fit into three main categories (helplessness, worthlessness, and unloveability) and directly relate to the way the individual experiences self, others, and the world. While most people tend to possess relatively positive and realistic core beliefs, it is during the experience of psychological distress that negative core beliefs become overwhelmingly present. Reoccurring exposure to excessive psychological distress when matched with negative core beliefs may create an association that ultimately perpetuates the cycle of negative thinking and behaving. In turn, the negative core belief becomes akin to a coping mechanism that serves to relieve impending distress and validate the individual’s experience.

    (2) Modifying core beliefs can offer a number of positive therapeutic gains. For instance, if accomplished successfully, modifying negative core beliefs may not only reduce present distress for the individual, but also help them cope with future stressors that emerge. Clients who recognize the presence of these stressors whose negative core beliefs have been modified will find that their response to stressful events will change as a result. As the relationship between the client’s core beliefs and the lens through which they view self, others, and the world are so intrinsically interrelated, modification will significantly influence the individual’s perception of and response to each. While the focus is on modifying negative core beliefs, it is important to recognize that clients also possess positive and adaptive core beliefs. Through the collaborative process, the goal is to help the client both identify and strengthen these positive core beliefs as a means of uncovering their potential to create positive coping skills. In guiding the client through this modification process, the goal is to help them recognize that positive core beliefs are also intrinsic to the individual. If the client is able to recognize that in addition to negative core beliefs they also possess positive ones, they may subsequently realize their ability to make positive gains in their life – both within and outside the therapeutic setting.

    Reply

    • Allexys Burbo
      Mar 23, 2018 @ 00:09:52

      Correction: Dichotomous thinking*

      Reply

    • Teresa DiTommaso
      Mar 23, 2018 @ 18:02:37

      Hi Allexys,

      One of the really important points I think you made in your post is by including the role recognising and developing positive coping skills. In our classes and often in this line of work, the maladaptive patterns are often the focus because that is what is causing the distress. But, by explaining that focus needs to be on positive coping skills as well, you reminded me, and I am sure others, that focusing on the strengths of the client cannot be underestimated. The strengths can be a source of hope for the client and also a way to implement his or her strengths into the treatment plan.

      Reply

  9. Matthew L
    Mar 22, 2018 @ 14:32:35

    1. Core beliefs are a foundational concept in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). In the strictest definition core beliefs are board ideas about the world that a person has. These beliefs are formed during the early stages of a person’s life starting from infancy all the way up to adolescence. During these formative years core beliefs are shaped by several major factors. The first are the people that surround person. The second are the major life events that a person experiences. Meanwhile the third factor are the genetics of the individual. After this formative period core beliefs become rigid and resistant to immediate influence or change. They are also characterized as being overgeneralized ideas so that a single core belief can be applied to a variety of circumstances. Core beliefs can be sub divided into three categories. Those three categories are the self, others, and the world. Each category describes the focus of that particular belief. Beliefs focused on the self could describe the quality of that person. Beliefs attributed to others could describe what others think of that person. While beliefs about the world describe feelings on external events. Core beliefs can be either positive or negative. An example of a positive belief would be “I am great” versus a negative one such as “I am worthless”. As explained in CBT core beliefs give produce automatic thoughts that are seen as the source of physiological distress in an individual. A positive or negative core belief will go on to produce a corresponding automatic thought.

    2. When practicing CBT the primary goal is to help client address and manage their automatic thoughts. In order to do so it becomes necessary to address the very things that produce those thoughts. At this point it comes time to tackle the core beliefs of a client. Generally this is done through the changing of automatic thoughts but in some cases must be done more directly. There are many therapeutic benefits that come from modifying the core beliefs of a client. To start modifying core beliefs a therapist requires a strong understanding of them. In gaining that understanding a therapist also strengthens their therapeutic approach with the client making therapy more effective. Changing core beliefs also reduces distress within a client. As those beliefs begin to modify they will not longer produce the automatic thoughts that cause issues for the client. These new beliefs will also be rigid like the old ones and thus difficult to change back. As a result a client is made more resilient to future trouble or distress. Further more the new more positive core beliefs can assist a client in practicing proper coping mechanisms. Meaning that a change in core beliefs will not only make a client less likely to experience distress but more capable of handing it when they eventually do.

    Reply

    • Stephanie Mourad
      Mar 24, 2018 @ 13:47:50

      Hey Matt,
      I agree that it is important to get to the root of the core belief and address the reasons why the client is having these core beliefs in the first place. I also like how you mentioned that the new core belief helps clients practice proper coping mechanisms. This will help the client look at situations in different ways and not only the negatively. This will also help clients be more optimistic and becoming stronger, and as you said more resilient to future trouble or distress.

      Reply

    • Sarah Mombourquette
      Mar 24, 2018 @ 16:18:52

      Hi Matt, I like that you explained the varying factors that play into the development of core beliefs. I think that we often can become preoccupied by the idea that experiences are the only thing that affect core beliefs, but it is important to recognize that genetics and other individuals also play an important role. Similarly, I also think that your description of the overgeneralization of core beliefs was very helpful because it explains how a single thought can affect varying circumstances in similar ways. I also liked that you emphasized the importance of the therapist’s understanding of the client’s core beliefs. Without this understanding, the clinician might not be able to address automatic thoughts effectively or sufficiently. Lastly, your description of how modifying core beliefs can benefit a client when he or she is no longer in therapy is very important because it describes why and how CBT can be an effective therapeutic orientation without extensive years of therapy.

      Reply

  10. Cassie McGrath
    Mar 22, 2018 @ 15:28:29

    1) Core beliefs are a part of all of us. They are the center of what we think. These core beliefs are essential to the process of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. Core beliefs develop through life through one’s experiences and the things that they are exposed to. Through these experiences a child begins to develop thoughts that structure a lot of their other thoughts, this is what Core beliefs are. With these core beliefs an individuals life is structured. They can be negative or positive. Positive core beliefs can benefit an individual by working as a support and allowing the individual to feel that he or she is able to achieve goals. Negative core beliefs can act as barriers and aid in producing negative automatic thoughts. Automatic thoughts are immediate and automatic and they stem from one’s core beliefs. Automatic thoughts are life long and occur regularly. When considering this, it is important to understand that the way in which a child is raised and the experiences that they have to develop their core beliefs can have a long term lasting effect.

    2) There is a therapeutic benefit in modifying core beliefs, specifically negative ones. As stated prior core beliefs aid in the production of automatic thoughts which can present as a barrier for the individual. In CBT, the therapist can work with the individual to trace the patterns of automatic thoughts to determine the core belief that the individual is experiencing. By working on adapting and changing these core beliefs the clinician is able to better help the client to achieve their goals. If the core beliefs are negative and acting as a barrier for the client to achieve their goals then working on changing them is what may be best for them. In addition, providing a client with access to more positive core beliefs allows him or her to function more adaptively. Negative core beliefs are a function of maladaptive behavior. In addition, the negative core beliefs can cause distress in the individual and working to process first the automatic thoughts and then the core beliefs can help to alleviate stress from the client. Changing core beliefs to better benefit the client is extremely beneficial to work with a client.

    Reply

    • Sarah Mombourquette
      Mar 24, 2018 @ 16:10:05

      Hi Cassie, I liked how you emphasized that core beliefs can be both negative and positive. When we think about core beliefs, it can often be with a negative connotation. As you indicated, however, core beliefs can also be helpful in allowing an individual to pursue and achieve a goal. Positive core beliefs should therefore be appreciated as beneficial aids in adaptive behavior. It is also good that you pointed out the connection that negative core beliefs have to automatic thoughts. If you have a negative core belief, that means that it is a global idea. Therefore, an automatic thought will occur in response to a specific event but is still grounded in that core belief. This concept connects to your explanation of modifying core beliefs. I like that you showed how tracing patterns of automatic thoughts can help the client and the clinician to determine what the core belief actually is. This will further benefit the client in achieving his or her therapeutic goals.

      Reply

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Adam M. Volungis, PhD, LMHC

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