Albert Ellis’s Core Beliefs

Today in Group we worked on Core Beliefs. They are deep values that drive our emotions and then our behaviours. We talked about our Automatic Negative Thoughts, Cognitive Distortions all leading to behaviour. I thought it would be good to share Ellis’s Core Beliefs that he has identified, the Common Resulting Behaviour and the Alternative Statement that one can frame about that negative core belief.

1 I must be loved or liked and approved of by every person in my life.
Common Resulting Behaviours
Seldom express own opinion, desires, preferences, always does things for others.
Counter Statement
I want to be loved or liked ad approved by some of the people in my life. I will feel disappointed or lonely when that doesn’t happen, but I can cope with those feelings, and I can take constructive steps to make and keep better relationships.

2 I must be completely competent, make no mistakes and achieve all the time if I am to be considered worthwhile
Common Resulting Behaviours
Strives always for perfection, won’t try new things for fear of failure, hard to accept criticism, believes shouldn’t make mistakes.
Counter Statement
I want to do some things well, most of the time. Like everybody, I will occasionally fail or make a mistake. Then I will feel bad, but I can cope with that, and I can take constructive steps to do better next time.

3 Some people are bad, wicked or evil, and they should be punished for this.
Common Result Behaviours
Constantly criticises others, lack of sensitivity to others, often is not only judgemental of others but also of self.
Counter Statement
It is sad that most of us do some bad things from time to time, and some people do a lot of bad things. But making myself upset about it won’t change it.

4 It is dreadful, near the end of the world, when things aren’t how I want them to be.
Resulting Behaviour
Makes mountains out of molehills, catastrophises.
Counter Statement
It is disappointing when things aren’t how I would like them to be, but I can cope with that. Usually I can take constructive steps to make things more as I would like them to be, if I can’t, it doesn’t help me to exaggerate the situation.

5 My bad feelings are caused by things outside my control, so I can’t do anything about them.
Resulting Behaviours
Tendency to blame others for present feelings and situations in life.
Counter Statement
My problems may be influenced by factors outside my control, but my thoughts and actions also influence my problems and they are under my control.

6 If something might be dangerous, unpleasant or frightening I should worry about it a lot.
Resulting Behaviours
Unrealistic Anxiety instead of reasonable fear and concern, leading to pre-occupation that interferes with clear thinking, allowing us to solve the problem, avoidance procrastination.
Counter Statement
Worrying about something that might go wrong won’t stop it from happening; it just makes me unhappy now. I can take constructive steps to prepare for possible problems, and that’s as much as anyone can do. So I won’t dwell on the future now.

7 It’s easier to put off something difficult of unpleasant than it is to face up to it.
Resulting Behaviours
Procrastinate, put off things, look for short term relief and avoid situations.
Counter Statement
Facing difficult situations will make me feel bad at the time, but I can cope with that. Putting off problems doesn’t make them easier

8 I need to depend on someone stronger than myself
Resulting Behaviours
Overly dependent on others, unwilling to be responsible for self.
Counter Statement
It’s good to get support from others when I want it, but the only person I need to rely on is myself.

9 My problems were caused by events in my past and that’s why I have them now.
Resulting Behaviours
Focus on the past, reluctant to take responsibility for self, blame others, don’t set goals.
Counter Statement
My problems may have started in some past events, but what keeps it (them) going now is my thoughts and actions, and they are under my control.

10 Happiness can be achieved by inaction passivity and endless leisure.
Resulting Behaviours
Will not be motivated to work at changing one’s life, or doing things to be happy.
Counter Statement
To achieve happiness I need to be proactive. I need to work at being happy. It is a skill and goal like everything else in my life. I accept that what effort I put into something is what I will receive and that the only person who can ultimately do that is me.

For more information on CPTSD and other issues visit our YouTube Channel

If you need support or would like to connect with like-minded people join our Private and Closed online Facebook Group for Child Abuse Survivors and those with CPTSD. Click here to join

The Memoir You Will Bear Witness is available on Amazon in Kindle and Paperback



I would love to hear from you so please leave a comment. All feedback is much appreciated. Thank you. Erin

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.