• Uncovering Core Beliefs

    A core belief is the lens through which we look at things. It is the essence of
    how we come to understand ourselves, the world, and the future. Core beliefs are
    responsible for producing automatic thoughts. They are often hidden from the
    individual’s awareness, and are triggered by certain activating or stressful life events.

    For example, a core belief could be “I’m not lovable, or I’m not good
    enough.” Where does this core belief come from?…

    The underlying assumption influences this core belief or “schema.” An underlying assumption is usually in the form of an  “if”, “then” statement. Underlying assumptions are taken as facts, they are believed to be true by the individual.

    > Example of an underlying assumption:  “If everyone would just love and accept
    me, then that would mean I’m worthy as a person and then I would feel ok about

    > But it is impossible to be loved by all the people all the time! Thus one bad
    review by a critic, for instance, could be interpreted as I’m not accepted,
    therefore on some level not a good enough person.

    >  A person who is in a depressed frame of mind will overlook the positive, and
    zero in on only the negative “evidence” that confirms the core belief of being
    inadequate. And it can take many positive thoughts/affirmations on a daily
    basis to successfully challenge a deeply rooted negative belief.

    It’s not easy to live with these negative core beliefs. Some seek comfort in substances. The substance can provide a  temporary escape. And for some, this maladaptive coping strategy can turn into a full blown addiction.  Core beliefs can impact every day behaviors and major life choices.  Learning to identify negative core beliefs and then challenging the assumptions that they are based on I believe is an important component of the recovery process.

    I welcome any and all thoughts you may have on this topic.


    Author: Dr. Masha Godkin,Psy.D, MFT  is a professor of counseling psychology, a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in the state of Ca. with an Online Therapy Practice, as well as a former child actor. One of her specialties is in addictive behavior and counseling those in the performing art professions. Visit  http://www.onlinetherapywith-dr-masha.com to learn about the Online Therapy service options that are available.

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