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Core Beliefs Info Sheet

Core beliefs are a person’s most central ideas about themselves, others, and the world. These beliefs act like a lens through which every situation and life experience is seen. In cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), core beliefs are thought to underlie automatic thoughts.

The Core Beliefs Info Sheet includes a simple definition of core beliefs, along with examples showing how they affect thoughts, behaviors, and feelings. To further illustrate the concept of core beliefs, this worksheet includes lists of common core beliefs, consequences of core beliefs, and other important facts.

In this handout we assume that clients have a basic understanding of CBT, and they have already spent time exploring their automatic thoughts.

To help clients explore their core beliefs, try the Core Beliefs: Examining the Evidence worksheet.

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References

1. Beck, J. S. (2011). Cognitive behavior therapy: Basics and beyond (2nd ed.). New York, NY: Guilford Press.

2. Boden, M. T., John, O. P., Goldin, P. R., Werner, K., Heimberg, R. G., & Gross, J. J. (2012). The role of maladaptive beliefs in cognitive-behavioral therapy: Evidence from social anxiety disorder. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 50(5), 287-291.

3. Fennell, M. J. (2005). Low self-esteem. In Encyclopedia of cognitive behavior therapy (pp. 236-240). Springer, Boston, MA.

4. James, I. A., & Barton, S. (2004). Changing core beliefs with the continuum technique. Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapy, 32(4), 431-442.

5. Keefe, J. R., Webb, C. A., & DeRubeis, R. J. (2016). In cognitive therapy for depression, early focus on maladaptive beliefs may be especially efficacious for patients with personality disorders. Journal of consulting and clinical psychology, 84(4), 353.

6. Lemmens, L. H., Roefs, A., Arntz, A., van Teeseling, H. C., Peeters, F., & Huibers, M. J. (2014). The value of an implicit self-associative measure specific to core beliefs of depression. Journal of behavior therapy and experimental psychiatry, 45(1), 196-202.

7. Wenzel, A. (2012). Modification of core beliefs in cognitive therapy. In Standard and innovative strategies in Cognitive Behavior Therapy. IntechOpen.

8. Wright, F. D., Beck, A. T., Newman, C. F., & Liese, B. S. (1993). Cognitive therapy of substance abuse: theoretical rationale. NIDA research monograph, 137, 123-123.

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