Help Your Clients Discover Their Personality Style

Free CBT-based Worksheets

Leslie Sokol, Ph.D., Marci Fox, Ph.D.

Everyone reacts differently to situations and events, as how we react is influenced by the underlying beliefs we have about ourselves. When we encounter a situation, we develop subsequent automatic thoughts about that situation—but those thoughts don’t develop out of thin air. Rather, they arise from a set of core beliefs that we hold about ourselves as a person, which have developed throughout our entire life starting from when we were very young.

Many of our clients’ core beliefs are characterized by self-doubt, and it can lead them to interpret situations from a negative lens. When this happens, it causes them to react in distressing ways. Self-doubt typically revolves around two themes: desirability or competency. When a client doubts their desirability, they might think of themselves as unattractive, unlikeable, bad, unwanted, or unworthy. When they doubt their competence, they may think of themselves as a failure, inadequate, helpless, useless, or incapable.

In order for our clients to identify the core beliefs that underlie their thoughts, feelings, and behaviors, it is imperative that they—and we as their therapist—first understand their personality style and what they value. Personality develops from a combination of nature and nurture, and it falls somewhere along a continuum of sociotropy and autonomy. Clients with a sociotropic, or socially-oriented, personality value interpersonal relationships over everything else; these people long to be liked, accepted, valued, and desired. In contrast, clients with an autonomous, or achievement-oriented, personality value accomplishments, mobility, and independence. They desire to be thought of as competent, capable, and strong.

The following are examples of events that can bother socially-oriented (sociotropic) people:
  • Disagreeing with others
  • Feeling rejected or insulted, whether real or imagined
  • Being left out or not included
  • Having someone upset with them
  • Feeling awkward in social situations
  • Not being called or texted back
  • Being judged or insulted, especially because of their character
The following are examples of events that can bother achievement-oriented (autonomous) people:
  • Being criticized regarding their performance, whether real or imagined
  • Feeling as though they have no control
  • Losing their independence
  • Feelings of being smothered
  • Having difficulty achieving—or failing to reach—a goal
  • Being told to do something, not asked
  • Not living up to their own expectations
  • Giving up control
So why is it so important that our clients understand their own personality? It affects what they value most in life—when their most important values are compromised or thwarted, it is likely to activate self-doubt within them. It’s important that clients identify these doubt labels, which are the nasty names they call themselves when insecurity takes over. Once we can help them to identify their doubt labels, our clients can learn to question them so that their faulty beliefs aren’t always getting in the way and causing them to needlessly overreact.

Help your clients to figure out their own personality styles with these FREE personality worksheets. The more True answers your client marks, the more sociotropic (or autonomous) they are in nature. The scale for scoring is as follows:

0 to 2 True answers – Mildly sociotropic (or autonomous)
3 to 6 True answers – Moderately sociotropic (or autonomous)
7 to 12 True answers – Extremely sociotropic (or autonomous)

If a client takes both quizzes, the worksheet with the higher number of True answers may show a lean towards one side of the personality continuum. In fact, it is common for people to lie somewhere in the middle.

Remember to remind clients that neither a sociotropic or autonomous personality is “right” or “wrong.” Instead, knowing more about their personality, regardless of what it may be, will assist them in figuring out their values, questioning faulty beliefs, and taking control of self-doubt.

You can find more than 50 exercises and worksheets like this in our new, go-to resource, The Ultimate Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Workbook. This book includes valuable materials to help your clients restructure their thinking, face their fears, curb their anger, resist unhelpful urges, and grow the most positive and accurate view of themselves.
Take Control of Your Mental Health
The Ultimate Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Workbook
Grounded within the basic principles of CBT, The Ultimate Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Workbook is your go-to resource for taking healing into your own hands. Filled with over 50 practical exercises and worksheets, it will help you restructure your thinking, face your fears, curb your anger, resist unhelpful urges, and grow the most positive and accurate view of yourself.

You can use it in conjunction with a chosen therapist or as a stand-alone guide to manage life’s challenges with confidence and resolve. With this workbook at your side, you’ll have the tools you need to act as your own therapist and face any difficulties that life throws your way.

Meet the Experts:

Leslie Sokol, PhD, is a licensed psychologist and internationally recognized leader in the field of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), with almost 40 years of experience in practice, teaching and research. She was a past Director of Education and one of the principal instructors at the internationally acclaimed Beck Institute for Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. She is one of the leading CBT speakers in the world, providing teaching and training to professional and paraprofessional groups, both nationally and internationally, on a multitude of CBT topics.

Dr. Sokol is a distinguished founding fellow of the Academy of Cognitive and Behavioral Therapies, was a past president, and is currently Chairman of its Credentialing Committee. She is a fellow of the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies (ABCT) and the President Elect of the International Association of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (IACBT). Dr. Sokol also served as Chairman of Behavioral Science for the Mercy Suburban Hospital and Family Practice Training Program for over 20 years. Her private practice is in Lansdale, Pennsylvania.

Learn more about her educational products, including upcoming live seminars, by clicking here.

Marci G. Fox, PhD, is a licensed psychologist who specializes in CBT with teens and adults. She has been in private practice for over 25 years and worked with the Beck Institute for Cognitive Behavior Therapy for almost the same amount of time. As an adjunct faculty member at the Beck Institute, she trains individuals in CBT both nationally and internationally, and helps mental health professionals improve their clinical skills and pinpoint specific areas of remediation.

Learn more about her educational products, including upcoming live seminars, by clicking here.

Topic: Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

Tags: Free Resources | Therapy Tools

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