of the Decision Maker®
Decision Maker® Belief Process
Decision Maker®Belief Process
Description of the Decision
Stimulus and Sense Processes
Maker®Change Perspective Process
Maker® Sense Process
DESCRIPTION OF THE
DECISION MAKER® BELIEF PROCESS
Based on material in
Re-Create Your Life:
Transforming Yourself and Your World
Stuart Mills, a 19th century philosopher, observed that "No great
improvements in the lot of mankind are possible until a great change takes
place in their mode of thought."
Why? What is there about our "mode[s] of thought" that keep
us stuck? How could a new "mode of thought" open up possibilities
for significant and worthwhile improvements?
In this short excerpt from my book, Re-Create Your Life: Transforming
Yourself and Your World, I will describe the Decision Maker®
Belief Process, which is one way to assist people to achieve the new "mode[s]
of thought" that Mills called for.
This abbreviated description of the Decision Maker®
Belief Process is, of necessity, vastly oversimplified and in many cases
raises as many questions as it answers. It does, however, clearly state
the principles of the DMBP and how and why it facilitates us to eliminate
the beliefs that determine our patterns of behavior and emotions.
Creates New Possibilities
Description of the DM Process
Difference Between the DM Process and Cognitive Therapies
Brief Analysis of the DM Process
What do we mean when we say we believe something? ... That it's true.
A belief is nothing more or less than a statement about reality that we
think is "the truth".
Each of our beliefs (which usually are unconscious, but not always) serves
as a box that limits and determines the behavior that is possible for
As an illustrations of how our beliefs determine our behavior, assume
we believed that The way to succeed in life is not to make mistakes,
that being caught making mistakes would keep us from becoming successful.
Although this belief does not necessitate any specific behavior,
can you see that it would limit our behavior to that which is consistent
with that belief, for example,
- not taking any
chances at all;
- going "by
the book" or doing exactly what we did yesterday;
- usually asking
our boss what to do, so if something goes wrong it will be possible
to blame our boss;
- being more concerned
with assigning blame for a mistake that in getting to and correcting
its source; or
- being very defensive
when a mistake is pointed out and not acknowledging it?
it also clear that behavior that is inconsistent with that belief--such
as, being open to and welcoming correction, taking risks, challenging
the prevailing wisdom about anything, expressing (or even having) your
own opinions--would be inhibited and highly unlikely to occur?
Much of the the time we can deal successfully with life by utilizing the
behavior that is consistent with our beliefs. For example, in many areas
of life it is possible to be successful and experience well-being even
if we "go by the book" and never take chances.
From time to time, however, the behavior that is required to solve a problem
or get what we want from life literally does not exist in the box in which
we are operating. For example, consider a business executive who believed
that making mistakes would be inimical to her success. If she suddenly
was facing a period of significant change, where most of what used to
be effective wasn't effective anymore, the behavior available to her that
was consistent with her belief (namely, tried and true, conservative,
acceptable behavior) might not be sufficient to manage her organization
If she did not recognize that she had a belief that was limiting her,
however, all that would be left for her would be to keep trying harder
and harder to find a solution using behavior that was consistent with
her beliefs, that is, inside the box--even though none of such
behavior would lead to a solution.
During a research study with incarcerated felons, several subjects reported
the following behavior pattern: They hung out with people who used guns,
were part of a gang, and got into trouble. During several Decision Maker®
sessions the subjects discovered the beliefs they had that determined
who they "hung" with and why it was almost impossible to stop
that behavior: I'm not important. I'm alone in the world. What makes
me important and safe is to be popular with others. The way to be popular
is to hang out with the popular crowd and do what they're doing. In
their neighborhoods, the popular crowd carried guns, were part of gangs,
and got into trouble. Can you see that given these beliefs, their behavior
was virtually inevitable?
Beliefs Creates New Possibilities
How can we take desirable and appropriate action if it lies outside the
box that determines our possible behavior? Obviously we can't. In fact,
the only way to be able to exhibit this necessary behavior consistently
over time is to eliminate the existing beliefs that inhibit the behavior.
The elimination of a belief creates new possibilities for action that
literally didn't exist prior to the elimination of the belief. The new
possibilities that are created by disappearing a belief are not merely
different or better ways of doing what was possible before; they literally
are possibilities for entirely different behavior that is not possible
until the old belief is eliminated.
To summarize what we have seen thus far: Given any specific belief, certain
behavior is consistent and capable of implementation; other behavior is
inconsistent and virtually impossible to exhibit (or at least to sustain
for long without considerable, unrelenting effort). If that is the case,
the obvious question is: How can long-held beliefs be eliminated?
of the DM Process
That question leads us to an examination of the Decision Maker®Process,
which facilitates people to do precisely that.
The DM Process, which usually takes from one to two hours to complete,
begins with the client describing an undesirable pattern of behavior or
emotions that he has been trying unsuccessfully to change. Emotional patterns
could include fear, hostility, shyness, anxiety, depression, or worrying
about what people think of us. Behavioral patterns could include phobias,
relationships that never seem to work, violence, procrastination, unwillingness
to confront people, an inability to express our feelings, sexual dysfunction,
or anti-social behavior.
One client presented the following undesirable pattern: "I can do
enough to get by, but I don't apply myself completely to one thing. I
always feel as though I haven't done enough, both at home and at work.
Wherever I am, I should be someplace else, doing something else. I never
do a good enough job. Sometimes I'm satisfied with what I do, but I never
have a sense of a real completion. Never any rest."
I responded by pointing out that people frequently explain their behavior
by pointing to a cause other than themselves, such as, their spouse, their
boss, the economy, or some other "circumstances." I requested
that the client "play a game," that he pretend that the source
of our behavior and feelings is our beliefs, not anything in reality.
Many clients already agree that their beliefs determine their behavior,
but agreement with the theory of the "game" is not required
for the DM Process to be effective. One must, however, be willing to play
the game for the duration of the Process.
Given that assumption, I asked the client what he believed, at the moment,
that logically could account for the current, undesirable pattern that
he just had just presented to me. This step is not the same as asking
the client "why" he acts as he does. Most people either will
say they have no idea why they do what they do, or they will come up with
a multitude of reasons. A client's "story," interpretations,
and analysis are not at all relevant in the DM Process. What this step
in the DM Process is designed to elicit is one or more things that the
client currently believes (that he probably was not conscious of before
the Process began) that logically would manifest as his undesirable pattern.
A belief that this client discovered is I'm not
good enough. Can you see that this belief would explain why he never
had a sense of doing a good job, of really being satisfied with whatever
he did? In other words, the pattern would be the result of the belief,
and it would be virtually impossible to permanently change the pattern
as long as the belief existed. (There were several other beliefs and all
of them had to be eliminated before the pattern disappeared totally.)
Once the belief is identified, the client is asked to look for the circumstances
or events that led him to form the belief. Fundamental beliefs about oneself
-- for example, self-esteem-type beliefs -- and about life usually are
formed before the age of six based on interactions with our parents and
other primary caretakers, if any. Beliefs in other areas of life, such
as, work and society, are formed at the time those areas of life are confronted.
Although the client sometimes can identify the relevant early events rather
quickly, more often than not he spends a half hour or so recalling various
events from his childhood. At some point he identifies a pattern of
events that led him to form the belief in question. My experience
with over 1,000 clients indicates that beliefs rarely are formed based
on only one or two events. Usually a great many similar events are required.
I asked this particular client the source of his belief, he described
a childhood in which his mother was always telling him what to do and
what not to do. Nothing he ever did was good enough for her. He never
received any praise and was criticized a lot. He wasn't allowed to do
most of the things he wanted to do and that his friends were doing.
The next step is to have the client see that his current belief was, in
fact, a reasonable interpretation of his childhood circumstances and that
most children probably would have reached a similar conclusion, given
their experience and knowledge at that time in their life. Our beliefs
are almost always a reasonable explanation for the events we observe.
The client then is asked to make up some additional interpretations of,
or explanations for, the same earlier circumstances, that he hadn't thought
of at the time. In other words, the client as a child observed his mother
doing and saying various things over a long period of time. He explained
or interpreted what he saw with the belief I'm not good enough.
What the client is being asked to do in the session is make up additional
explanations for or interpretations of his mother's behavior.
To continue the illustration we've been using, other
reasonable interpretations could include:
- My mother thought
I wasn't good enough, but she was wrong.
- I wasn't good enough
as a child, but I might be when I grow up.
- I wasn't good enough
by my mother's standards, but I might be by the standards of others.
- My mother is a
very critical person and would act that way with everyone, whether they
were good enough or not.
- My mother's behavior
with me had nothing to do with whether I was good enough or not; it
was a function of my mother's beliefs from her childhood.
- My mother's behavior
with me had nothing to do with whether I was good enough or not; it
was a function of my mother's parenting style.
you see that each of these statements could explain or interpret his mother's
behavior just as well as the conclusion he reached as a child?
Next the client is asked if it is real for him that, when he formed the
belief as a child, it seemed as if he could see in the world that I'm
not good enough. Because it feels as if we "discovered"
or "viewed" our beliefs in the world, the answer is always,
yes. Then the client is asked: "Is it clear, right now, that you
never saw the belief in the world?" He realized that he never did
see that I'm not good enough. All he really saw was his mother's
statements and behaviors. I'm not good enough was only one interpretation
of what he actually did see. This step facilitates the client to literally
"disappear" his existing belief, because it enables him to see
that the belief is not the truth about himself and the world, but
merely a truth.
When we recreate an old belief, that is, create it in the present as only
one of several alternative interpretations rather than as the truth, and
when we realize that we never saw the belief in the world, it ceases to
exist as the truth and becomes a truth -- whereupon it ceases to exist
as a belief. It literally disappears.
When the belief disappears, there is usually an observable change in clients'
bodies and demeanor. They look (and usually report that they feel) lighter
and relieved of a heavy burden.
At this point I facilitate clients to discover that they are not the sum
total of their beliefs, along with the behavior and feelings that accompany
their beliefs -- they are the creator of those beliefs.
I assist them to discover that there had to be an "interpreter"
before there could be an "interpretation"; a belief creator
before there could be a belief. In other words, who you really are is
not your beliefs; you are that which generated the beliefs. You are not
your decisions; you are the "decision maker" -- which is why
I have named the Process the Decision Maker®
The final part of the Process is asking the client if he usually experiences
that there has been "something missing" in his experience of
life, even on those occasions in life that he would have considered to
be successes. The answer is usually, yes. I then ask if he experiences
anything missing "right now, as the decision maker." The answer
is almost always, no. When I ask what the experience is, right now, the
answer virtually every client gives is: calm, serene, peaceful, infinite
possibilities, no limitations, whole, complete, alive, powerful, and nothing
Although this clear experience of infinite possibilities and nothing missing
that clients report during DM sessions goes away following the session,
clients report it becomes increasingly real and becomes experienced as
a part of one's life following several DM sessions. They start to view
their life as, what the Buddhists call, a "silent witness."
They "have" upsets; they are not upset. They "have"
pain; they are not in pain. They observe barriers in their lives; they
are not stopped. In other words, they do not experience themselves as
the story of their lives; they experience themselves as the creator of
The Difference Between the DM Process and Cognitive
Cognitive therapies," as I understand them, have two major elements:
(1) changing beliefs by challenging the validity of the evidence that
the client gives to support them and (2) getting the client to agree to
act consistently with an alternative belief to test its possible validity.
Regarding point one, in the DM Process the current belief is not given
up because one comes to see that it's wrong, because it's not true, because
it's illogical, because it doesn't make sense, and/or because it's self
defeating. In other words, one does not get "talked out" of
the existing belief. The DM Process actually validates people for
forming the belief earlier in life by assisting them to realize that most
people probably would have made a similar decision under similar circumstances.
It insures that people realize that their belief actually is one valid
interpretation of their earlier circumstances.
Moreover, the "evidence" that you offer for a belief usually
is not the real reason you believe it. The evidence offered usually consists
of recent observations that appear to substantiate the belief.
The real source of your beliefs, however, is interpretations of circumstances
earlier in life. Fundamental beliefs about yourself and life usually are
formed before the age of six. After a belief has been formed, however,
you act consistently with it -- thereby producing "current evidence"
for the already-existing belief. In other words, life becomes a self-fulfilling
prophecy. Because the evidence you present to validate your beliefs usually
is a consequence of the beliefs, not their source, challenging
the validity of that evidence is not the most effective way to eliminate
Regarding the second element of cognitive-behavioral therapy, because
the current belief is totally eliminated when you do the DM Process, you
have no need to try to act differently when you go back "into
life." Your behavior changes naturally and effortlessly once the
belief is gone.
Another distinction between the DM Process and many cognitive approaches
is that the latter frequently are a tool for the subject, whereas the
former is a tool for the facilitator. In other words, the cognitive approaches
assist clients to think more rationally, in order to act more rationally,
in the face of such strong emotions as anger, depression, and hostility.
The DM Process, on the other hand, is used by the facilitator to assist
clients to eliminate the beliefs that produce such emotions. When these
emotions stop after the beliefs that give rise to them are eliminated,
there no longer is a need for a tool to deal with them more effectively.
Brief Analysis of the Decision Maker® Process
As a result of doing the DM Process we discover that the events and circumstances
of our lives, as such, have virtually no effect later in life on our behavior,
our attitudes, and our emotions. Our interpretation of what happens,
on the other hand, has a massive effect: The beliefs that we create virtually
dictate the possibilities for our behavior, attitudes, and emotions. Therefore,
by changing our interpretation of what happened, we can radically change
the effect of past events on our future life.
To sum up what occurs for us when we use the DM Process to change behavior
and beliefs: We "recreate" the belief that is responsible for
the current, undesirable behavioral or emotional pattern, thereby experiencing
that the belief is nothing more than one arbitrary, but valid, interpretation
of what actually was seen earlier in life. When it is clear that we never
saw the belief in the world, the belief becomes transformed into just
one of many arbitrary interpretations, at which point it literally disappears
as "the truth."
I want to stress that the essence of the Decision Maker® Process
is not merely understanding that our belief is an interpretation and having
it disappear. The essence and real value of the Process is creating ourselves
as the creator of our beliefs and -- because our beliefs determine our
behavior, emotions, and perceptions of reality -- as the creator of our
The DM Process ultimately is more spiritual than psychotherapeutic. By
spiritual I mean a sense of ourselves as beyond or distinct from who we
normally think we are, namely, our body, our beliefs, and the behavior
and feelings that stem from our beliefs. The DM Process appears to be
a cognitive gateway to an altered state of consciousness in which we create
and then experience ourselves as alright just the way we are, as whole
and complete, as calm and serene, with unlimited possibilities and no
restrictions outside of ourselves, and with nothing missing.
Since I created the Decision Maker® Process in 1985, my associates and I have had DM sessions
with at least a thousand clients. I also have worked with over ten thousand
employees at more than thirty organizations to assist the organizations
to change their cultures and the employees to change their beliefs about
The research study with incarcerated felons in 1994 was the first time
I used the DM Process with a control group and pre- and post-testing.
The results provided statistical significance to the anecdotal evidence
I had obtained from the thousand or so clients. As Dr. Lee Sechrest, Professor
of Psychology at the University of Arizona and my collaborator on the
study, concluded after examining the statistical results of the tests:
"The simplest, and we think fairly compelling conclusion, is that
the intervention resulted in generally favorable changes in self-concept
in the Experimental group and that without intervention, self-concepts
would likely have deteriorated during confinement....
"All in all, this little experiment has to be regarded as a fairly
remarkable success. Certainly it justifies efforts to carry out further
testing to determine whether the changes observed can be dependably produced.
If they can, the DM Process could have definite promise in helping young
male offenders mend their ways."
The book from which the above material is condensed describes the Decision
Maker® Process in detail. Re-create Your Life explains what
the Decision Maker® Process is, how it works, how it is different from psychotherapy,
its spiritual implications, and how its principles can be applied to business
and societal change, parenting, athletic competition, and health. It also
makes clear how the DM Process could be used both in prevention and the
treatment of people exhibiting drug and alcohol addiction, eating disorders,
and criminal behavior. The book provides a number of case histories involving
clients who have successfully eliminated a number of dysfunctional patterns.
It was published by Andrews and McMeel in May, 1997.
people to whom I've spoken about the DM Process, psychologists or nonprofessionals,
who have tried to change their own beliefs in therapy or on their own,
have said it is impossible to totally eliminate beliefs at all, much less
in a short time. One noted psychologist went so far as to tell me flatly:
"Anyone who claims to be able to totally eliminate a belief quickly
is a fraud." Given the experience of most therapists and others who
have tried to disappear beliefs and failed, that is a reasonable conclusion.
But let's play "Possibilities." Couldn't the evidence just as
easily be interpreted as meaning that using the interventions commonly
used, beliefs can't be totally disappeared? Or, thus far no one has been
able to totally eliminate beliefs? Or, it is impossible to eliminate beliefs
without having the subject realize that he never "saw" the belief,
which most interventions don't do? Etc. Has anyone actually "seen"
in the world that beliefs can't be quickly and totally eliminated? Or
is that belief merely one valid interpretation of the events that people
1985-1996 Morty Lefkoe