Some Questions about Core Beliefs
Developing a Longitudinal Conceptualisation
Copyright © Donald Robertson, 2011. All rights reserved.
Your core beliefs about yourself are like a mirror in which you observe your concept of yourself. However, do they reflect the real you or a distorted self-image? These questions are designed to help you begin conceptualising the developmental history of a negative core belief about yourself and re-evaluating the evidence for that belief. They presuppose some initial work has already been done to help you identify your personal core beliefs about yourself, e.g., deep-seated negative beliefs such as “I am worthless”, “I am stupid” or “I am boring”, etc.
1. What’s your most important negative core belief about yourself?
2. How strong is that belief currently (0-100%)?
3. How do you actually feel, emotionally, when the core belief seems true to you?
4. When was the first time you recall having a similar feeling? What was happening at the time? What made you feel that way?
5. If you remember: Before that time, prior to adopting that negative belief, how was your life different?
6. Can you recall any other times the belief may have been particularly strong? What specific things made you think and feel that way at those times?
7. Can you recall anyone else seeming to hold a similar belief about you? What evidence is there for and against thinking that was their real view of you?
8. Can you recall anyone who may have held a similar belief about themself? What evidence is there for and against their negative belief about themself being correct?
9. Can you recall anyone who might have held a similar belief about anyone else? What evidence is there for and against their belief about that person being correct?
10. What specific evidence is there for your negative core belief about yourself currently being true? Name each piece of evidence separately, like a list of bullet points.
11. Now question each of those reasons for holding your negative core belief: why might it be weak or flawed evidence? List alternative interpretations of each piece of evidence above.
12. What other evidence is there against your negative core belief being true? What other evidence is there that it’s currently false?
13. In summary, what would be a more realistic, balanced, and constructive way to view yourself currently, as you are now (alternative core belief)?
14. Now with all of that in mind, re-rate the strength of your original negative core belief (0-100%). Also rate your belief in the new alternative core belief (0-100%).
15. Finally, if appropriate, why did you rate the strength of your new alternative core belief more than o%? If it’s not there already, how could you actually increase the strength of your new alternative belief closer to 100%?