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Stress Management for Health Course

The Downward Arrow Technique

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The Downward Arrow Technique


This is a process used to move through the cognitive layers to the 3rd level, where the core beliefs reside.  It brings the beliefs into the clients awareness, where they are accessible to the therapist.  The starting point in the process is a question from the therapist to elicit a NAT.  The therapist follows this with a series of economical questions that slowly move the awareness to the core belief.




Client: I was so nervous about sharing my ideas with my psychotherapy group.


Therapist:  Why did you feel this?


Client: I was so anxious that I would come across as intellectually inferior to the group members and the tutor.


Therapist:  And if you did come across like this?


Client:  I would be devastated.


Therapist: Why? What would this mean to you?


Client:  That I was simply not good enough.


Therapist:  And this would mean?


Client:  That I was not worthwhile as a human being I have no value!


(Ref: Stress News July 2002 Vol. 14 No. 3)

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