Core beliefs CBT worksheet

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What is the theory behind the worksheet? 

  This worksheet is based on a Cognitive Behavior Therapy approach. It’s an approach designated to help individuals with psychological problems, like depression and anxiety, to understand their maladaptive thoughts, which are often the source of their problems (Rush & Beck, 1978).

 How will the worksheet help

The following worksheet will help you bring your beliefs into awareness in order to challenge and make them more flexible and manageable.

How to use the worksheet

From a CBT point of view, core beliefs are limiting and maladaptive beliefs. They are very strongly held negative ideas connected to the self and/or others and tend to be learned as children. They fall into multiple domains, such as responsibility (e.g., “I am bad”), self-defectiveness (e.g., “I am flawed”), safety (e.g., “Others can’t be trusted”), power and control (e.g., “I am weak”). Additionally, they have the capacity to hold back self-growth; they are unconditional and inflexible. They feel factual no matter how much evidence there is to the contrary, since they are experienced when people have a strong emotional reaction, stronger than most people might expect in that given situation (David, Lynn & Ellis, 2010).

Even though core beliefs are difficult to challenge, this process is not impossible through CBT exercises. See the following belief-challenging exercise and try to replicate it for your own thoughts.

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David, D., Lynn, S., & Ellis, A. (Eds.). (2010). Rational and irrational beliefs: Research, theory, and clinical practice. Oxford University Press.


Rush, A. J., & Beck, A. T. (1978). Cognitive Therapy of Depression and Suicide. American Journal of Psychotherapy, 32(2), 201–219.