Like Yourself, Believe in Yourself, and Work Hard to Reach Your Goals

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Re: REBT question

From: Gunars
Date: 13 Oct 2004
Time: 23:52:34 -0500
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Dear Jennifer,………… REBT helps people to change their feelings of shame, guilt, anxiety, and fear about stuttering. ,………… Theory of Change…………. The theory of change is based on the formulation that in any situation strong “Consequent” emotion is the result of the “Activating event” evoking a “Belief” about this “Activating event”. Together the Activating event and the Belief define how we Consequently feel e.g. A x B = C. The “Consequent” feeling drives us to take action or behave in a self-actualizing or self-destructive manner. The way we get into trouble is if our beliefs are such that they sabotage our goals. The main irrational beliefs are dogmatic demands, awfulizing, low frustration tolerance, and self/other rating. ………… The way to change these beliefs is to challenge and “Dispute” them using humor, asking for empirical evidence, subjecting the beliefs to logical analysis, and determining their pragmatic value. When this is done properly then the client arrives at “Effective” new philosophies, emotions, and behaviors. This is the A- B-C-D-E paradigm espoused by REBT (see appendix B for an example of a homework sheet). The objective of REBT is to change the central (and to lesser extent peripheral) nervous system which is reflected in how we think, feel, perceive, and behave. To really change, we must not only challenge our irrational beliefs but also act against them. For example, desensitization can best be accomplished by a consistent schedule of desensitizing behaviors. Ellis and Harper in “A guide to rational living” give three insights necessary for change: ………… 1) “knowledge that you have a problem and that certain events precede this problem” (p. 47), ………… 2) the reason you keep your maladaptive beliefs and behavior is that you keep re-indoctrinating yourself, reinforcing the beliefs and behaviors, and …………3) the only way to change is by repeatedly working at disputing the irrational beliefs and acting against your self-defeating behaviors. ………… Role of Unconditional Self-Acceptance………… One of the cornerstones of REBT is Unconditional Self Acceptance (USA). This is based on the existential and semantic view that a person is not merely his or her actions, deeds, or characteristics. Together with “other constructivist thinkers REBT teaches clients that they can choose to fully accept themselves in spite of all their all-too-human deficiencies and failings. It holds that serious self-denigration underlies much emotional disturbance and tries to have clients substitute, for self-damning, USA…” (Dryden, et al in “A Primer on Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy) ………… Humanistic Aspects………… REBT takes a humanistic-existential approach to therapy. It acknowledges that humans are by nature and upbringing constructivists. They both construct and can deconstruct their disturbances. REBT uses rationality and science in service to humans so they can achieve happiness, freedom, and the discipline that is necessary for both short and long range hedonism. ………… Gunars

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