The Belief House of Cards

house of playing cards

“If you’ve ever built a house of cards, and then extracted one of the supporting cards from the bottom, how long does it take for it to collapse? Exactly. A second.”

Would you say – when wanting to disassemble a house of cards – that it’s easier to take it down from the top, or simply pull out a supporting card from the bottom? Again, exactly that, the simplest method, requiring the least amount of effort, will always be the better solution.

Think of a belief system in the same way. The support beliefs will be the ones established in the mind the longest: our earliest experience-learnings, and as such, the foundations for our house and belief system. When we question these beliefs, their origins, logic, usefulness etc. we begin the process of extraction. How far do we need to pull a card, within our belief house, before collapse? As you can imagine, not far at all. Let me give you an example:

Consider someone working within the sex industry who seeks change. What are the beliefs – from early learnings relating to sex and the self – likely to be, of an individual who has chosen to work within this trade? Would you estimate these early learning to have been positive or negative? Does a person who sells their body have a positive or negative self-image? Remember we’re looking slightly deeper than the obvious here.

“The obvious rationalisation, for why someone has chosen to be in the sex trade, is that they’ve fallen on hard times, or they’ve become addicted to drugs and so on, however, it’s the root of the problem that we’re interested in.”

The root cause often escapes the obvious, conscious rationalisation, as it resides deep within the mind of the sufferer. Turning to drugs, for example, is often the cure to the deep-seated, misplaced guilt, inflicted from childhood abuse (never neglecting to remember the abuse of neglect). The cause, that leads to the effect, lies deeper than the obvious.  

“So in terms of our ‘Belief House of Cards,’ the cards, (beliefs) we must extract – through judicious questioning – are the base, supporting ones.”

Our sex worker will have a minimum of two, negative limiting beliefs, relating to sex and the self, that all other beliefs will have been built on. In principle we only need find one of these, extract it, and the house comes tumbling down.

“How long does it take for a house of cards to collapse? Much less time than it takes to build it, that’s for sure.”



When a belief system – and therefore way of life – has taken years to establish itself, to suggest this can be changed overnight, is often met with incredulity, and dare I say it, disbelief. As such, simple metaphor helps in the process we work with, to prevent the self-sabotage of the therapeutic process that some therapist may experience.


The house, built on foundations and clear understandings of love, will always stand the test of time. Many abusers of our children do this under the guise of love. We must explain to the child-within, what love really is and what it really stands for. When we do, their limiting ‘Belief House of Cards,’ collapses into the dust from where it came.

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