by Morty Lefkoe

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Many of you have used the Lefkoe Belief Process and found that permanently getting rid of beliefs has made a profound difference in your life. Did you know that The Lefkoe Method includes eight other processes you can use to make significant changes in your life?

Depending on the problem you are trying to get rid of and what you are trying to accomplish, some of these other processes might be required.

Because recently readers have asked me to describe the difference between each process and explain how each is used, I’ve decided to use my blog posts over the next few weeks to do just that. I’ll provide a short description of each process, explain how it works, and tell you how it can be used to help you get rid of problems you face in your life daily.

This week I’ll discuss the Lefkoe Belief Process and the Lefkoe Stimulus Process. In future weeks I’ll write about the others.

To the best of my knowledge there isn’t another belief-elimination process out there that is guaranteed to eliminate fundamental beliefs permanently. Moreover, I am quite confident that no one offers as complete an arsenal of processes to help you make any change you want in your life … and have it stick. In fact, I’m not aware of any other process that produces the results that each of these processes achieve.

Here is a list of the processes that comprise The Lefkoe Method:

  • Lefkoe Belief Process
  • Lefkoe Stimulus Process
  • Lefkoe Sense Process
  • Lefkoe Expectation Process
  • Lefkoe De-conditioning Process
  • Lefkoe Occurring Process
  • Lefkoe Belief Process—Possibilities
  • Lefkoe Belief Process—Organizations
  • Who am I really?

The Lefkoe Belief Process

The Lefkoe Belief Process (LBP), which I developed in 1975, was the first of the processes and still is the most important. Most of our undesirable behavior and feelings ultimately can be traced to our beliefs, so being able to get rid of beliefs will make the biggest long-term difference in your life.

A belief, as I use the term, is a statement about reality that is the truth for us. It is experienced emotionally as the truth, because it is possible to intellectually disagree with something we believe.

For example, you may believe that I’m not good enough, even though you know intellectually that that is not true. So the way to know you have a belief is to say the words of the belief out loud and then ask yourself: Do the words feel true? Do they resonate even a little bit? Do they feel even a little uncomfortable?

Most of our core beliefs about ourselves, people, and life are formed in the first six years of life as a result of interactions with our parents. Beliefs about other areas of life—such as work, politics, relationships, and aspects of society—usually are formed when we encounter them.

The steps of LBP consist mainly of questions that enable you to discover that something you thought was “the truth,” something you thought you “saw” in the world, is really only “a truth,” that exists only in your mind. When you make that distinction, the belief is transformed into merely one interpretation you gave a meaningless series of events, and the belief disappears.

Typical common negative beliefs include I’m not good enough, I’m not important, I’m powerless, People can’t be trusted, and Life is difficult.

Many day-to-day problems that we face—such as procrastination, selling ourselves short, and trying to impress others—can usually be resolved by eliminating the beliefs that cause them.

The Lefkoe Stimulus Process

Many emotions are caused by beliefs, for example, the belief that Dogs are dangerous will result in an emotion of fear when confronting a dog. The belief People can’t be trusted will result in the feeling of suspicion around people. When the beliefs are eliminated, the emotions usually will be also. There are many adults, however, who experience emotions that appear to not depend on beliefs.

Very often we experience negative feelings in our life on a recurring basis, such as fear, anger, guilt, anxiety, and sadness. We experience these feelings every time specific events or circumstances occur, such as fear whenever we make a mistake or someone gets angry at us, or guilt whenever we are asked to do something. In many cases the events that stimulate the feeling in us do not produce the same feeling in others, and vice versa. Why, for example, does an event that is not inherently fearful produce fear in some people and not in others?

What appears to have happened is anything that occurs repeatedly (or even once if the incident is traumatic enough) at the same time that something else is causing an emotion will itself get conditioned to produce the same emotion.

That’s how making mistakes, being criticized, not meeting expectations, being rejected, and a host of other non-scary situations get conditioned to produce anxiety (or some other emotion, such as anger).

The classic example of this was an experiment a psychologist named Pavlov conducted with dogs. When presented with food, the dogs salivated. Then a bell was rung just prior to presenting the dogs with food. After numerous presentations of the food with the bell, the bell was rung and no food was delivered. The dogs salivated anyway, because they had associated the bell with the food. In other words, a stimulus that normally would not produce a response does so because it gets associated with a stimulus that does produce a response. In other words, the stimulus gets conditioned.

Here’s an example I use with my clients that will make this very clear. Imagine that I handed you an ice cream cone with one hand and made a fist with my other hand and drew it back as if to hit you. What would you probably feel? … Some level of anxiety if you thought you might get hit. Now imagine that the next few times someone handed you an ice cream cone, the same thing happened and you felt anxious each time.

What do you think you would feel the next time you were handed an ice cream cone, even if there was no menacing fist? … Probably anxious. And yet it’s clear that ice cream cones are not inherently scary. If this next time there was no fist, only ice cream, why would you feel anxious? Because the ice cream cone got conditioned to produce fear when it became associated with the fist. Something was scaring you (the fist) and ice cream just happened to be there every time you got scared by the fist.

Here is a real life example: Consider someone who experiences fear whenever he is asked to do something. When did he first experience fear associated with being asked to do something? Assume the original source of the fear was a father who always yelled, threatened, and terrified the client as a child. No matter what the client did, the father was not satisfied.

When the client reviews the cause of his feeling of fear, he discovers that the fear was not inherent in being asked to do something. What caused the fear was the meaning he unconsciously attributed to his father’s behavior: The person he depended on for his very survival was withdrawing his love. No love, no care; no care, no survival. That is what caused the fear. Can you see that fear is not inherent in not doing things perfectly or, in fact, any other specific thing you do or do not do?

In order to help people get rid of these emotional problems I developed a new process in 1997 that I call the Lefkoe Stimulus Process (LStimP). It is simpler to use than the LBP and usually takes only five to ten minutes to completely de-condition the stimuli that cause such emotions as fear, anxiety, anger and guilt.

The Lefkoe Stimulus Process works by helping you to realize that initially “being asked to do something” never produced fear. The original cause of the fear was the meaning you attributed to the way you were asked to do something (the anger that accompanied the request), by someone whose survival you depended on (your father). You associated “being asked to do something” with a loss of love, which ultimately you experienced as “a threat to your survival.”

When the association is broken, when you realize that you made this arbitrary association, the events that got associated (being asked to do something) will no longer cause fear. When you consciously make a distinction between what really caused the feeling initially and the events that happened to be associated with it, the associated events (current stimuli for the feeling) will no longer cause the feeling.

It is important to realize that most of our emotional problems—such as anxiety, depression, anger, and sadness—cannot be eliminated totally merely by eliminating beliefs. You also have to use the Lefkoe Stimulus Process.

Next week’s post will describe additional processes of The Lefkoe Method that you might need to eliminate all your barriers to having the life you’ve always wanted.

Please share below any comments you have on the Lefkoe Belief Process and the Lefkoe Stimulus Process.

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copyright © 2010 Morty Lefkoe