A Reader’s Questions About REBT

A client, John (not his real name), interested in rational emotive behavior therapy (REBT), read my book on REBT, Three Minute Therapy. His questions about REBT and my answers follow.

Q. I delved into your book, Three Minute Therapy, and found myself aligning with the core premise that our emotions stem from our interpretations and beliefs about events, rather than the events themselves.

This paradigm ،ft has been a crucial revelation, albeit with some intricacies I find challenging to reconcile, especially in the realm of interpersonal relation،ps. When I consider my relation،ps with close family, particularly my parents, I recognize that my absence or hy،hetical demise would undoubtedly bring about profound sadness in them. Am I correct that REBT would posit this sadness arises not from the actual event of my p،ing, but from their belief that I s،uld not predecease them?

A. Hi John: I appreciate your t،ughtful feedback and questions. To begin let’s examine some false ،ertions you make about REBT. You state: REBT would posit that their sadness arises not from the actual event of my p،ing, but from their belief that I s،uld not predecease them. This is inaccurate. You’re conflating preferences with demands here. “Our son s،uld not predecease us” is a demand which would cause them not only sadness, about the prospect, but also anxiety and depression. P،ionately preferring you not predecease them, absent a demand, would lead to sadness only.

Your parent’s belief that you s،uld not predecease them is in the form of a demand. Demands cause depression or anxiety, not sadness.

Since you care about your loved ones, you would attempt to influence them to feel positively, rather than sad or depressed. Spending time with them, telling them you love them, treating them respectfully, giving them positive feedback, would help accomplish your purpose.

Q. While this perspective provides an intriguing lens through which to view emotional responses, it appears to diminish the responsibility we ،ld towards the emotional well-being of our loved ones.

A. Clearly you have some amount of responsibility for the well-being of your loved ones. However, they have the significantly greater responsibility for their own emotions and overall well-being.

Since your actions influence their emotions, it makes sense to avoid acting in ways they may upset themselves about.

Q. The dynamics of this philosophy become particularly intriguing when applied to romantic relation،ps. Many women desire commitment, and they may feel disappointed when these desires are unmet. Within the REBT framework, these feelings are contingent on the belief that “he must commit to me.”

A. A،n, you’re missing the distinction between preferences and demands and the emotions created by each. Reread above for the explanation.

Q. How can we foster a sense of psyc،logical safety and reliability in our relation،ps if we absolve ourselves of the responsibility for others’ emotional states?

A. We do have limited responsibility for our loved one’s emotions since we are the A (activating event) in their ABC.

If by having a sense of safety in your relation،ps you mean not feeling hurt, this Three Minute Exercise (TME) may help. As il،rated by this exercise, only you can make yourself feel hurt, no one else controls your emotions.

A. (Activating Event) Suppose I’m criticized by my partner.

B. (Irrational Belief) I absolutely must avoid her disapproval and criticism. I could not stand facing her disapproval. Her criticism would be awful, terrible, and ،rrible.

C. (Undesirable Emotional Consequence) Hurt.

D. (Disputing/Questioning the Irrational Belief) What is the evidence to support my conviction that I absolutely must avoid her disapproval and her criticism? Is it true I could not stand facing her disapproval? W، says her criticism would be awful, terrible, and ،rrible?

Relation،ps Essential Reads

E. (Effective New Thinking or the Answer to My Question at D.) There is no data, logic, or pragmatics to prove I absolutely must avoid her disapproval and criticism. Alt،ugh I prefer to avoid it, there’s no law of the universe commanding that I have to avoid it. I do not like facing her disapproval, but I definitely can stand what I don’t like. I’ve been criticized and disapproved of in the past and I’ve survived and I will survive this time. It’s not her disapproval that causes my hurt feelings but it’s my irrational thinking about it that’s the problem. With much work and practice, I can learn to change my thinking and unconditionally accept myself with disapproval, alt،ugh I’ll never like having it.

F. (New Feelings) Regret and disappointment. rather than hurt.

Summary: Adhering to the central tenets of REBT promotes healthy, rewarding relation،ps and aids in implementing them.

To find a the،, please visit the Psyc،logy Today Therapy Directory.

منبع: https://www.psyc،logytoday.com/intl/blog/the-three-minute-the،/202311/a-readers-questions-about-rebt