Topic 7: Core Beliefs {by 10/24}

Watch MDD-16: Core Beliefs – Evaluating [Identifying 2 in text] – Core Belief Flowchart-Part A.  Answer the following: (1) In what way was the CBF-A effective in understanding how the clients’ core belief developed? (2) What additional historical information could have been obtained to understand the development of the client’s core belief?  Your original post should be posted by the beginning of class 10/24.  Have your two replies posted no later than 10/10/26.  *Please remember to click the “reply” button when posting a reply.  This makes it easier for the reader to follow the blog postings.

28 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Zacharie Duvarney
    Oct 18, 2019 @ 15:56:39


    Mark’s completion of the CBT-A highlights several key features regarding the development of his core belief. Specifically, we learn that Mark’s internalizing behavior is the primary force behind his core belief.
    It is learned that Mark’s core belief was not developed due to a significant or traumatic life event. He states that he cannot recall an event where someone acted maliciously towards him, or purposefully made him feel unlikeable. Rather, Mark’s core belief is an amalgamation of many small and distressing transactions. These transactions are all events in which Mark felt that his interpersonal relationships had become strained.

    Through his accounts of past relationships, there is an obvious theme. Mark has internalized every relationship that has ended. He provides various accounts of past friendships, most of which have ended. Rather than attributing the end of these relationships to a variety of factors, he believes he is responsible. In fact, Mark states that anytime a relationship has faded out of his life, he attempted to “fill in the gaps”. In other words, Mark attempted to decipher what he had done wrong that caused the relationship to end. Even when Mark provides external reasons for why someone faded out of his life (e.g. “he was too popular”), the reasoning still centers around deficits in Mark’s character. Thus, completion of the CBT-A revealed that Mark’s core belief is primarily the result of internalizing. This information is critical, as it will assist the therapist in selecting effective techniques for core belief modification.


    During the session, Mark mentions how his parents held high expectations for him growing up. Apparently, Mark struggled to meet these expectations. This information is only briefly discussed before moving on. However, further investigation of this information is warranted. If Mark struggled to meet his parents’ expectations, this could be a significant factor in the development of his core belief. We do not know how long Mark struggled with this. As stated by Beck (2011) and Volungis (2019), core beliefs are typically developed throughout the entire life span. If one were to begin investigating historical information regarding the development of Mark’s core belief, this seems like the logical place to start. Parental influence has dominion over psychological development. Thus, the difficulties surrounding Mark’s relationship with his parents should be further explored.

    Aside from his relationship with his parents, it would also be advantageous to explore Mark’s early school experiences. Mark may be unaware of how experiences before high school have shaped his core belief. Children do not often have the capacity to understand the impact of social experiences in this way. Therefore, Mark likely experienced distress regarding interpersonal relationships before high school but does not understand how these experiences contributed to his core belief, given he was so young.


    • Anthony Mastrocola
      Oct 26, 2019 @ 01:07:05

      Hi Zack,

      You make a really interesting point about how Mark’s parents held high expectations for him, which could have influenced the development of his core belief. I’m glad you mentioned how this topic deserved further exploration, because I actually didn’t even notice it the first time I watched. As I referred back I noticed how beneficial it could have been to further discuss Mark’s former interactions with his parents.


    • Katrina Piangerelli
      Oct 26, 2019 @ 18:31:08

      Zach, I agree with you that Mark’s internalizing behavior is what is supporting his core beliefs. I think that this becomes important when we look deeper into his internalizing behavior and try to find the route of his distress. Mark seems to internalize every relationship that has ended, as you discuss in your blog post. It seems as though Mark still holds onto every relationship that has ended from an early age until now. He also tends to react to people not being able to spend time with him or canceling plans as if they do not want to spend time with him or want to end the friendship. I think that you have good insight on what would be beneficial to get more detail about Mark. I think that learning more about his parents and the relationship he had with them could be beneficial in understanding how Mark is feeling and his feelings of being unlikable. I think that it would also be important to understand the relationships that he had prior to the ones he spoke about in the session. Mark shares that he believes his relationships from adolescence may have had an effect, but I wonder if this started even earlier? You also seem to think this would be beneficial.


  2. Paola Gutierrez
    Oct 21, 2019 @ 12:48:12

    1. In what way was the CBF-A effective in understanding how the client’s core belief developed?

    The CBF-A clarified relevant situations in which the client’s interactions with others developed his “unlikeable” core belief. In the CBF-A, we learn that the client’s core belief was primarily influenced by his friendships with peers in school during his adolescence and college years. His parents and family did not seem to play a major role in the development of his core belief, other than their high expectations of him. Furthermore, Mark clarifies that he does not recall any significant or particularly memorable single event that led to his core belief, but that the core belief developed over a number of relatively minor interactions in which he questioned whether his friends liked him and wanted to spend time with him.

    It is important to note that Mark’s core belief developed as a result of his tendency to personalize external events and situations. Instead of considering alternative explanations for certain situations or events with his friends, he attributes such situations to a flaw in his character that makes him unlikeable. Mark recognized that even though he was clearly hurt and disappointed by the end of some of his friendships, he had a group of friends that were supportive of him. I saw this as a manifestation of knowing something on an intellectual level, but not on an emotional level. He also commented that, in his experience with his college roommate, that he had an idealistic view of his friendship with his college roommate that didn’t pan out. Perhaps Mark has developed an unrealistic standard for how friendships work.

    Mark has a long history of personalizing and internalizing his friendships with others, which likely contributed to his core belief of being unlikeable. Furthermore, it seems that Mark’s core belief is strongly activated during this depressive episode, as it seems that in the past, Mark did not necessarily feel this way about himself as he knew he had friends who liked him. Having a firmer understanding of where this core belief came from will facilitate the modification of the core belief.

    2. What additional information could have been obtained to understand the development of the client’s core belief?

    Although core beliefs can develop during adolescence, core beliefs often have a foundation in early childhood experiences. I would question Mark about some of those early experiences and ask about his friendships as a child and his relationships with school peers. Even though it may be difficult to recall certain events from childhood, such experiences can be particularly meaningful for children and contribute to a particular understanding of self, others, and the world, even though the child may not be aware of it. I wonder if Mark had any issues making friends in elementary school, or if he had friends if there were any situations in which he felt disliked or excluded.

    I would also ask Mark whether the situation with his high school friend was the first time he ever thought that his friends didn’t like him. If it wasn’t, I’d ask Mark to try to remember the first time he felt this way.

    With regard to Mark’s family, Mark mentioned that his parents had divorced. Mark doesn’t mention when the divorce happened, but I’d also ask Mark about that experience and determine whether it contributed to the core belief. If either of Mark’s parents had remarried, it’s possible that a step-parent may have contributed to his core belief of unlikeability. However, this is only speculation, and we’d need more information from Mark to determine its relevance. Considering that Mark mentioned that his parents had high expectations of him, I’d ask if Mark had any siblings that his parents may have compared him to (whether directly or indirectly) and if Mark perceived such comparisons. If Mark was told (or if he thought that) a sibling was “better” than him, Mark may have felt unlikeable as a result.

    In general, more information about Mark’s relationship with his parents and family members during his childhood and adolescence as well as his early school years is needed to piece together a firm understanding of the development of his core belief.


    • Zacharie Duvarney
      Oct 23, 2019 @ 13:09:54


      It seems that you and I arrived at similar conclusions regarding what additional information would be helpful in understanding Mark’s negative core belief. Early childhood experiences typically have a strong effect on the shaping of core beliefs. Although it can be difficult for clients to recognize how such events are relevant to their current distress, it is important for us to convey to them how core beliefs are developed across the lifespan.

      Despite the importance of childhood experience, I wonder how viable it would be to explore these experiences, given the time constraints inherent to therapy within a managed care environment.

      Nice work!


    • Adam Rene
      Oct 24, 2019 @ 11:45:01

      Paola –

      Thank you for your post. There was one particular thing that you pointed out that really stuck out to me – “…that he had an IDEALISTIC view of his friendship with his college roommate that didn’t pan out. Perhaps Mark has developed an unrealistic standard for how friendships work.” I had not even considered that Mark’s expectation for a friendship with his roommate could be considered idealistic and I completely agree with you. For all those who live on campus in college, the relationship with a roommate is certainly an easy place to develop a friendship but it is not necessary in order to co-habitate. For me, this is something I would store away and as Mark comes around to understanding his core belief and begin the process of modifying it, I would explore it again. This could be an interesting place to evaluate how Mark appraises his relationships with others and the hurt he experiences when his actions are not reciprocated or understood. It could be that he has an idealistic view of how these social interactions pan out and does not always consider what the other person is bringing to the table in this manner.


  3. Adam Rene
    Oct 22, 2019 @ 13:47:02

    1. The CBF-A was helpful in exploring and understanding how Mark’s core belief developed in several ways. Overall, I felt that the amount of examples and evidence from Mark’s life at this point in therapy was helpful for the understanding of Mark’s core belief – Dr. V and Mark were able to consistently make connections to other events or situations throughout the session. I can see how saving this activity for this point in therapy is the best call, so that the foundation that was already developed can be called back into the moment. I feel that Mark explaining his experience with a friend in high school was helpful for his understanding of his core belief, as he noted himself that he hadn’t thought about it in a long time but could see how it tied into this core belief. Mark noted that his feelings of unlovability seem to stem more from his tendency to ‘fill in the holes’ rather than any malicious intent of people close to him. Mark also noted that he ‘ignored the evidence’ in college that he did have friends when he was feeling upset about him and his roommate growing apart during his second semester. Mark acknowledged at one point that he was ‘okay with ambiguity’ with regard to his tendency to fill in the holes with social interactions, which I felt was important for him to remember and acknowledge when it comes time to modify his core belief. At one point, Dr. V helped Mark look at the environmental/things out of his control factors with regard to his stress at work and how this could be contributing to how he’s interacting with his coworkers and vice versa. Overall, I felt that the activity did a nice job of shifting from current to past experiences/stressors to show a ‘golden thread’ between how Mark’s core belief developed and how it’s impacting him now.

    2. For additional historical information, there were two points in particular that I’d be interested in exploring. First, Mark made a comment when discussing significant individuals and events from his past in relation to his core belief of feeling unlovable Mark noted that when he had feeling similar to what he feels now “it was easier to get through [those feelings] in college.” For me, I’d love to explore that comment more with Mark – maybe there are some protective factors that Mark could tap into again? What about his time in college made it easier for him to deal with these feelings? I know that towards the end of the session Mark and Dr. V made a connection to current work stress, which could be a new contributing stressor that he did not have back in college. Second, Mark stated that his favorite part of his job is ‘connecting with people,’ I’d definitely want to explore this with him as a way of discussing his strengths. Personally I would think that if you were truly unlovable than connecting with people would be difficult – but Mark loves it and is good at it. This could be a space to explore that a bit.


    • Zacharie Duvarney
      Oct 23, 2019 @ 13:14:14


      I hadn’t even considered the fact Mark’s statement that “it was easier to deal with these feelings in college” as being a protective factor. I thought your analysis of this fact was insightful. It is often more difficult to identify client strengths (relative to client weaknesses). Within the context of Mark, perhaps he has already developed some effective coping strategies that we are unaware of. Consequently, it would be advantageous for us to play to Mark’s strengths and reinforce his competencies.

      Overall, nice work. I appreciate that you identified something I hadn’t considered in my initial analysis.


    • Paola Gutierrez
      Oct 24, 2019 @ 11:59:29

      Adam — I appreciated how you discussed that Mark’s core belief seemed to develop from his tendency to make assumptions and jump to conclusions without knowing all of the facts, as opposed to any actual malicious or ill-willed event. Your comments tie back nicely into how cognitive appraisal can lead to emotional distress, especially that the event/situation itself doesn’t directly result in distress, but our appraisal of these situations mediates that relationship.

      I also thought it was helpful to speculate how his work stressors may factor into the amplification or activation of his core belief. Furthermore, there seems to be a big discrepancy in his core belief of unlikeability and his recognition that he has friends and there are people who clearly like him, such as Melissa. Maybe, going back again to my comment, that Mark has unrealistic expectations for friendships or is looking for something in particular that he may feel he’s not getting out of his friendships.


    • Tricia Flores
      Oct 24, 2019 @ 12:22:00

      Adam- Mark identifying connecting with people as something he enjoys as part of his job is a helpful insight. Using that as a strength is smart. I wonder if Mark could develop another social avenue with this to feel socially fulfilled. Perhaps if Mark volunteered with people who needed to develop employment readiness skills he could extend that feeling of fulfillment and assist him in decreasing his core belief of unlikeability.


    • Bianca Thomas
      Oct 24, 2019 @ 13:03:46

      Adam, I also agree that Mark gave a wide variety of great examples that helped shed light in understanding Mark’s core beliefs. I like how you pointed out that Mark would ignore the evidence of having friends when he was sad, since he still currently does this in the present, along with withdrawing. I also was intrigued by his comment of “it was easier to get through those feelings in college. I’m curious if he maybe just was better at ignoring those feelings or if he actually was not as bothered by them, and what might have instigated the current distress from them.


  4. Katrina Piangerelli
    Oct 23, 2019 @ 20:49:50

    (1) In what way was the CBF-A effective in understanding how the clients’ core belief developed?

    The CBF-A begins with events that make Mark feel unlikeable and highlights the common theme of all of these events, which is the core belief that Mark feels unlikeable. It then specifies when these feelings began in Mark’s adolescence and what happened during this time that made him feel unlikeable. This chart also looks at the different relationships that have been affected by these feelings, including several friends and family members. This chart also goes into detail about the events in which the client may have felt belittled, events that made the client change or feel differently about the world, and attitudes or beliefs that the client have that may be a result of their experiences. These things can give us some background into where this began, the type of event this was, how it made the client feel. Going through relationships from the past that may have made the client feel unlikeable can help the therapist recognize any themes involved in these relationships. The next part of the chart talks about the ways in which the client copes with these situations, and in the example of Mark, one way that he copes is by withdrawing. Mark then talks about what he likes about himself, which can be viewed as strengths.
    One aspect of the CBF-A that is important is to recognize where these core beliefs came from or developed. Mark shares that there was no significant or traumatic event that impacted his life that caused this core belief. Mark attributed this core belief of being unlikable to many small events that took place throughout his adolescence. As Mark explores the relationships that he has struggled with, it becomes clear that Mark internalizes the friendships that have ended and feels as though they are his fault. This is a common theme for Mark as he tends to “fill in the gaps” that are missing when someone does not want to spend time with him, cancels plans, or is no longer a part of his life. It is important to recognize that Mark continuously internalizes the things that happen in his life. This not only helps us to understand how the clients’ core belief developed, but also how he or she might behave in the future.

    (2) What additional historical information could have been obtained to understand the development of the client’s core belief?

    I think that some historical information that may be helpful would be the relationship Mark had with his parents. I am interested to know about the relationship he had with his parents and how he would describe this, because I think it might help to understand where Mark is coming from. I also think that it would be beneficial to learn more about his childhood experiences with classmates prior to his adolescence. Were there any significant friendships he made during elementary school or middle school; and if so, what happened to these relationships? I believe it could also be helpful to look deeper into Mark’s college years. He briefly discusses this in the session and mentions that this seemed to be an easier time for him. I am wondering what his relationships looked like throughout college and how those are different from the relationships he has now.


    • Adam Rene
      Oct 24, 2019 @ 11:35:14

      Katrina –

      Thank you for your post. I appreciated your overview of the flow and significance of the CBF-A – the way you broke it down helped me understand it a bit better. It is interesting that you mentioned Mark’s middle school/elementary school relationships – this isn’t something I had considered. Middle school is sometimes a person’s first dive into being a true teenager, so it could be interesting to explore that time for Mark to see if there’s any other instances of the beginnings of his core belief. I see that we both came to a similar conclusion with Mark’s comment on him being able to deal with the feelings he has now better in college. I certainly want to explore that as well to see if Mark can tap back into or modify whatever strategy he used back in college.


    • Paola Gutierrez
      Oct 24, 2019 @ 11:51:19

      Katrina – I hadn’t even considered the relationships that Mark had in college and how he thought that the feelings he was experiencing currently were easier to handle in college. It’s so easy to miss important details like that! But perhaps the more accessible social environment in college was one reason why Mark was better able to cope with his emotions then. It’s rather difficult to isolate yourself in college when you live in student residential housing, have a roommate, go to classes, and have lots of opportunities to socialize. Maybe it’s possible for Mark to tap into a similar environment that promotes that sort of support.


  5. Anthony Mastrocola
    Oct 24, 2019 @ 10:58:36

    (1) In what way was the CBF-A effective in understanding how the clients’ core belief developed?

    The CBF-A was effective in providing a better understanding of Mark’s history, as well as his overall thought processes. Through the CBF-A, we are able to draw connections between his behavioral and cognitive processes during his high school and college years, and how they relate to the present day. Understanding how Mark tends to personalize perceived slights by his peers helps provide a rationale for his core belief of unlovability. Mark describes a few meaningful events in his life, specifically in high school and college where he valued himself less than his peers. Mark used statements similar to not being cool enough to be included in plans or acknowledged. These feelings directly apply to his current reactions to distressing events, such as his friend cancelling dinner plans, and his coworkers going to lunch without him. Mark’s identification of influential individuals and events in his life help provide a timeframe and background to his core beliefs. Through Mark’s description, the development of core beliefs can now be understood. Of course Mark will personalize feelings of others not liking him if he has had multiple experiences in the past where his peers would exclude him. The CBF-A also allowed Mark to share information involving times when Mark has experienced self-fulfillment. Mark also identified a level of functioning that he would like to one day achieve once again. Mark would like to be able to go with the flow, and not be disrupted as much as he currently does by failed expectations.

    (2) What additional historical information could have been obtained to understand the development of the client’s core belief?

    Mark’s use of the word “popular” particularly stuck out to me. I believe further exploration into Mark’s understanding of what it means to be popular would be especially beneficial for understanding Mark’s core belief of unlovability. When Mark first spoke about not feeling popular in high school, and transitioning those feelings to college, I immediately thought of his relationship with Melissa. Throughout the semester as we have watched Mark, whenever he mentioned feelings of unlovability, I wanted to take a deeper look into his relationship with Melissa. It seems no matter how much he feels unlovable, Melissa continues to stick by his side, providing love or in the most basic sense contradictory evidence to the notion that no one likes him. I wonder if Mark’s identification of popularity indicates the importance of a network of peers that value him, rather than just a few people that really care about him. I believe that there is an important relationship between Mark’s early feelings of not being popular in school, and now his feelings of people either excluding him or cancelling plans. Although Mark is clearly loved by Melissa, is that not good enough? Is it important for Mark to be liked by multiple peers? If so, how many? Does Mark need to be liked by everyone? If it becomes clear that someone does not like Mark, could he accept that? I believe that it is not so much that Mark feels universally unlovable, but rather desires the ability to connect with a multitude of people.


    • Tricia Flores
      Oct 24, 2019 @ 12:17:02

      Anthony- Your insight of exploring Mark’s ideas of popularity is insightful. Mark may have unrealistic expectations of what he wants. I was struck by this when Mark commented in a previous session when his friend turned him down and he then saw him come back with other people whom he identified as work friends. This is an example of Mark’s ongoing concerns about popularity. Brainstorming reasons why Mark might not have been invited to help.


    • Bianca Thomas
      Oct 24, 2019 @ 12:59:49

      Anthony, I like how you started off by stating how Mark’s tendency to personalize slights by his peers provides a rationale for his core belief of being unlovable. I also liked how you mentioned that Mark wants to be able to achieve a certain level of functioning again, and not be as disrupted in the future as he currently is by perceived failed expectations. I also was struck by his persistent use of the word popular. He seemed to use that word a lot, and I agree that it would be beneficial to obtain what he means by that in order to help understand his core belief of unlovability.


    • Katrina Piangerelli
      Oct 26, 2019 @ 18:31:34

      Anthony, I think that you have great insight on the benefits of the CBF-A and how it can be utilized. You mention that it can be used to draw connections between behavioral and cognitive processes from his past to present, and I think that this is a great way to use the CBF-A. Your description of Mark’s core belief and where this may stem from is insightful and allows us to understand that Mark’s feelings of unlovability may stem from some issues in his past, where he did not value himself and felt as though others did not value him. I think that it is important for you to include the advantages of using the CBF-A, as it allowed Mark to recognize that he has had feelings of self-fulfillment.
      I think that your idea of looking further into Mark’s understanding of what popular means to him would be beneficial. This is something I did not consider, but may be important in understanding what Mark is feeling and how he perceives these situations. I also agree that we should take a deeper look at his relationship with Melissa. I think that we are all curious to know more about their relationship and also how he views this relationship in a deeper way than what he has said in the past. I also really like your follow up questions regarding what would make Mark happy. I think something else to look at would be whether he believes he has a good number of friendships and what his expectations are out of friendships.


  6. Tricia Flores
    Oct 24, 2019 @ 12:12:21

    (1) In what way was the CBF-A effective in understanding how the clients’ core belief developed?
    The CBF-A was utilized to develop a better understanding of Mark’s core belief of unlikeability. I appreciated that Dr. V started the exercise as labeling it as a past core belief, explaining that they goal was to make it a past core belief. Identifying it this way helps to frame it as something that will be overcome.
    The exercise identified the impact of internalizing on the development of the core belief. Mark was able to identify situations back to high school where he filled in the gaps of friendships ending as solely his fault.
    Part of understanding the development of something is identifying where it did not come from, Mark stated there was not one specific event or traumatic occurrence that developed this core belief nor were there any cultural implications for the belief. Mark identified his parents having high expectations for him in high school and lack of popularity in high school as well. Mark did not discuss further back from high school.
    Mark was able to identify intellectually seeing his negative automatic thoughts that develop from the core belief of unlikability as likely false, but still felt strong emotions regarding with situations where he felt rejected and internalized other’s actions. Mark identified being able to cope better with instances in college. Mark was also able to identify a desire to focus on long-term goals, such as where he wanted to be in five years. He also was able to identify something he liked about his job, being able to have the positive interactions with people when he offered them a job.

    (2) What additional historical information could have been obtained to understand the development of the client’s core belief
    Additional historical information would be helpful in understanding the development of Mark’s core belief of being unlikeable. Family history, earlier memories of feeling unlikeable, and a history of other episodes of depression would all possibly be useful. Family history- Mark identified his parents’ high expectations as something that was a stressor on him in high school. How did that impact him? When did it start? Has he internalized unrealistic high expectations on himself? When did his parents divorce? Did this impact this core belief or other negative core beliefs? Does he have support from his family now? Can he increase that support and would he want to?
    Mark identified high school as a time he felt unlikeable. Does he remember earlier instances? How was middle school/elementary school? When does he remember first feeling this way? Spending a long time talking about the distant past may not be helpful, but a brief conversation could be fruitful in developing a deeper understanding.
    Depression- is this Mark’s first instance of depression? If not, when did it start? Has it looked different over time? If he had instances of depression in the past what started/ended them? Can he identify increased internalizing of negative social interactions with instances of depression? This could assist Mark in changing the narrative of his core belief, identifying it as something that increases with feelings of depression.


    • Kara Rene
      Oct 24, 2019 @ 14:09:58

      I enjoyed your point about how valuable the way Dr. V introduced the exercise was, and how his explanation of the goal being to make Mark’s current core belief a “past” belief helps to reframe it as something that can be overcome. I am sure that doing this helps to increase client hopefulness as they enter into this activity and implicitly explains why this exercise is valuable.
      I agree with you that it would be valuable to further explore his parents divorce. If I remember correctly, he did not mention how old he was when his parents divorced. I know that it is often a common theme for children to personalize their parents divorce when they are young, so I wonder if this happened with Mark and contributed to his core belief


  7. Bianca Thomas
    Oct 24, 2019 @ 12:55:12

    1. In what way was the CBF-A effective in understanding how the clients’ core belief developed?

    Initially in the discussion of the CBF-A, Mark agreed with the concept that his core belief is that he is unlovable, within the frame of others don’t like him. Mark then was able to recall that this feelings began during adolescence, and that he was not “the most popular” during adolescence, and that during this time he lost a lot of his close friends, one in particular being his friend Dave; due to this he began having thoughts of “what is so wrong with me that they don’t want to be friends with me,” which lead to emotions of sadness.

    Mark could not recall specific significant events in which these beliefs arose, but he did recall times when his friends would go do activities and not invite him, causing his negative automatic thoughts and core beliefs of unlovable. Mark recalled that his family had high expectations of him, which he believes is the cause of his feelings of needing everything to be perfect, especially when it comes to work. Mark noted that his beliefs of “not being popular” and others not wanting to be around him stemmed from the situations that occurred with his peers and being ousted.

    These situations that Mark was able to recall seem to still be issues he is facing in his life currently, especially with his beliefs of being unwanted, unlikeable and not good enough. The situations in his past seem to be the beginning of Mark’s tendency to internalize problems, mind-read and withdraw when sad or down.

    2. What additional information could have been obtained to understand the development of the client’s core belief?

    Additional information that could have been obtained is more detail about the relationship with his parents and family. He touched upon the fact that his parents had gotten a divorce, and that they had very high expectations of him growing up, but I would want to know more about the effects of those situations and how he internalized them throughout adolescence. I would also want to know if there were any instances in childhood that he remembers, or more information as to how he felt about his childhood, because I feel as though that could shed some light into why during adolescence his initial thought after being “rejected” was that he was no good.


    • Anthony Mastrocola
      Oct 26, 2019 @ 01:15:18

      Hi Bianca,

      I agree with your point in the second question about how it could be beneficial to learn more about Mark’s reaction to his parents’ divorce, as well as how he internalized feelings about their high expectations. You made an interesting point about exploring childhood to possibly clarify any mystery surrounding his negative internalization of rejection. I hadn’t thought much about considering his childhood previous to the information about high school, but I also believe that this could be a beneficial avenue to take which would maybe further provide rationale for his constant negative internalization of rejection.


  8. Kelsey Finnegan
    Oct 24, 2019 @ 13:06:19

    1.) The CBF-A proved to be an effective tool for understanding how Mark’s “unlikable” core belief developed. Mark describes a few instances where he felt rejected by his friends in the past, and this provides us with some insight about his thoughts and behaviors in reaction to events where he previously dealt with feelings of rejection. In both instances, Mark did not have a conversation about the ending of his friendships, so he did not have the opportunity to hear his friends’ reasons for not wanting to spend as much time with him anymore. It appears Mark avoided having a discussion with Dave and his college roommate, and they simply stopped spending time together. This demonstrated Mark’s history of avoidance behaviors, and his tendency to personalize the ending of friendships.

    2.) Although the CBF-A effectively explored several historical events in Mark’s life, there are a couple areas where additional information could help us better understand his core beliefs. Mark discussed feeling rejected by his friend, Dave, in high school. I would like to challenge him to think further back, and see if he is able to come up with any similar experiences earlier on in his childhood. This might provide us with further insight into where his core belief of being unlikable originated. Based on Mark’s reaction to Dave, it appears this core belief of Mark’s may have already formed.

    Additional historical information about Mark’s relationship with his parents and their high expectations of him could help us further understand his core beliefs as well. This was briefly touched upon in the video, but further exploration about his family history could provide us with a lot of insight into Mark’s core belief. I suspect Mark’s relationship with his parents may have contributed to his core belief that he is “not good enough.” Although, I cannot be sure without more information.


    • Kara Rene
      Oct 24, 2019 @ 14:04:11

      You and I had similar ideas about the significance of Mark deciding not to ask the two friends he reflected on why they had grown apart. You raise a good point about his tendency to isolate himself and personalize things and how his decision not to discuss the ending relationships with his former friends highlights these tendencies.
      I agree that it would be helpful to challenge Mark to think further back into his past to see whether there were any earlier experiences that made him feel unlikable, and I enjoyed your point that his reaction to Dave makes it seem like he had already begun to develop a core belief about being unlikable.
      Your point about Mark’s parents makes me wonder whether his core beliefs about being unlikable and not being good enough are linked. Perhaps one spurred the creation of the other?


  9. Kara Rene
    Oct 24, 2019 @ 13:58:21

    (1) The CBF-A provided a helpful template to guide Dr. V and Mark’s discussion about past events that led to the development of his core belief that he is unlikable. Important relationships and past events are particularly important in the development of core beliefs. The guided discussion spurred by the CBF-A helped Mark to identify two particular events that stand out to him when he thinks about feeling unlikable. First, he spoke about his good friend Dave, who seemed to stop wanting to associate with him once they entered high school. Mark reflected how he wasn’t “popular”, although he did have friends, and how Mark had begun hanging out with a popular crowd. When he acted in a way that suggested that he did not want Mark to attend his hockey game, it left Mark feeling like Dave did not want him there and wondering, “Is there something wrong with me?” Mark also reflected that although he felt like he was able to bounce back from this event, it still hurts to reflect on now. Next, Mark talked about his college roommate, who also drifted away from Mark even though they had shared a close relationship.
    I thought that it was important to note that Mark said he was “too worried” about how each of these friends would react to ask them why they had drifted apart from him so suddenly. This is important because it foreshadows his tendency to “fill in holes”, which he developed later, and means that he never got any alternative evidence about why these friends may have been distancing themselves, allowing him to interpret the situations as “They don’t like me”/”There is something wrong with me.”
    The CBF-A was also instrumental in identifying when and how this core belief may have become “activated”. People have a mixture of positive and negative core beliefs, and often negative core beliefs come to the surface and override positive core beliefs when client pathology, such as Mark’s depression, arises. Mark identified that in the past, he had been able to “snap out of” feeling unliked and was better able to cope with these thoughts and feelings without “filling in the holes”. By delving deeper, Mark and Dr. V were able to discover that increased work at stress has caused Mark to bring his work stress home with him, negatively impacting his home life, relationships, and even sleep. It is likely that this stressor is partially responsible for “activating” his core belief that he is unlikable.

    (2) Although core beliefs can be developed in any life stage, they are often developed in early childhood. As such, it may have been valuable to delve deeper into Marks history and see whether he is able to identify any events predating high school that caused him to wonder if he is unlikable. I think it would be particularly interesting to find out whether his parent’s divorce led to any of these feelings, or whether he had any events with childhood friends that may have contributed to his core belief.
    I think it would also be helpful to further discuss possible activating events that brought the core belief of being unlikable to the forefront, as Mark said that in the past this belief did not impact him as much as it is now. He reflected that stress at work has been negatively impacting his home life, and Dr. V pointed out that there may be a reciprocal relationship between his and his coworkers stress at work and the recent events that have made him feel unlikable. I think it would be valuable to search for any additional events or circumstances that may have contributed to Mark’s depression or the bringing forward of this particular core belief.


    • Kelsey Finnegan
      Oct 26, 2019 @ 13:25:41


      I agree that Mark’s explanation of feeling “too worried” about how his friends would respond to confront them is significant. This leaves a lot of room for him to fill in the holes, and suggests Mark may have a tendency to avoid uncomfortable conversations. I also think it would be valuable to further explore Mark’s history prior to high school, and how his friendships earlier in childhood and his parents divorce affected him.


  10. Olivia Corfey
    Oct 24, 2019 @ 15:54:33

    In what way was the CBF-A effective in understanding how the clients’ core belief developed?

    A core belief flowchart is useful to see the perpetuation of negative core beliefs. The chart also helps to investigate how the core belief developed. Understanding the beginning or the root of a core belief may prove to be beneficial when attempting to modify the belief. In the case of Mark, he made several references to childhood experiences which could have been the trigger for the belief of being unlikable. Mark has a perpetual tendency to internalize and personalize situations and interactions with others. The flowchart helps to unravel the development of these tendencies, proving the counselor with a better understanding of the beliefs. The core belief flowchart also provides a tool for identifying multiple potential core beliefs.

    What additional historical information could have been obtained to understand the development of the client’s core belief?

    To obtain a better understanding of Mark’s core belief development, it may be beneficial to investigate areas that may provide more insight. Mark had mentioned he felt as though his parent’s expectations were high and he was possibly overwhelmed with these expectations. As these parental expectations could be impacting his personal expectations of his work at his current job. As Dr. V mentioned, this could be related to another core belief. Mark had also made several references to friendships. As Mark’s friendships have been inconsistent overtime. I would be curious to see whether Mark had ever been open to confrontation in the past. For example, Mark’s freshman roommate appeared to be doing okay until after Christmas break when Mark claims something changed. Mark internalized his roommates lack of involvement in their friendship. I would wonder if there is a patten of lack of confrontation or potentially difficult discussions due to the fear of Mark’s personalized beliefs being validated. This information would give insight into how the core beliefs of unlikable have perpetuated due to the lack of acknowledgment of contrary evidence and the tendency to fill in the holes with negative internalized reasonings.


  11. Kelsey Finnegan
    Oct 26, 2019 @ 13:12:25


    You make a good point about Mark’s tendency to internalize and personalize his interactions with others. This pattern became even more apparent during the CBT-A exercise, and it helped to understand where his tendency to personalize developed.

    I agree that Mark’s parents’ high expectations is a good area to further explore in session. I also agree with your hunch that his parental expectations may have an influence on his expectations for himself at his current job and his life in general. You raise a good point that there might be a pattern of lack of confrontation in Mark’s life. I suspected this as well after watching this video. This pattern coupled with his tendency to withdraw when he feels hurt suggest Mark tends to avoid having difficult conversations.


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Adam M. Volungis, PhD, LMHC

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