How to Learn REBT-CBT




Sun 31 Aug 2014, 5:17 pm

Hi All,

Perhapos it is just a teeny bit immodest of me to title this page "How to Learn REBT-CBT" as if starting from a zero baseline, you will be able to practice REBT-CBT just by reading these few pages. Live workshops and face-to-face therapy/coaching/training are of course the best ways to learn, however  lots of people, including yours truly, can do very well and  go a very long way startng with "A Guide to Rational Living"  or "How to Stubbornly Refuse . . . " both by Dr. Ellis or "Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy" by Dr. Burns.  or "Three Minute Therapy" by Dr. Edelstein.  Reading  "What is REBT" by my friend Will Ross on this blog  is another excellent starting place.

I recommend  the following straegy  from time-to-time, but have no idea if anyone has taken (or has ever taken) it to hear and actually done the practice.  But I can tell you as a fact that Rex did, and does.  If you do it, it will take you a long way, fast.  I promise!   One of the important learning strategies and process I used  25 years ago was committing Dr. Burn's Ten Cognitive Distortions, and Dr. Ellis's Four Irrational Beliefs to memory.  At one time, I could recite them backwards and forwards from memory, and if you asked me What is distortion #5?" I could immediately respond "Jumping to Conclusions."  I could get back up to speed with that in 10 minutes. However, even if you have to do it the old-fashioned way by rote memory, it is not all that arduous, and will pay you dividends many times over.
Why would anyone who didn't have serious emotional disturbance be so anal?  Well, (1)  Because memory systems are one of my hobbies, and I find what I described very easy to do, and (2) Having internalized these concepts, I can quickly zero in on the distortions and IB's I see or read in the media or in literature or on blogs and e-mail lists, and of course when talking to people."  Soap  operas are great fun to practice on because the arc of my soap operas seem to revolved around the charachters efforts to manipulate one another with generous use of "musts" and "awfuls."
The process is simple.  Have your list of distortions and IBs at hand along with some text.  It can be any text, but one where a person is describing a problem or disturbance is a good bet.  Slowly read the text, sentence-by-sentence, and when you come upon one of the distortions/IB's, yellow highlight it.  When done, go back and dispute and replace each instance with thinking that is cooler, more rational and helpful.
Watching Fox "News" may ordinarily be hazardous to your emotional and mental health.  However if you are "inoculated" by the Ten Cognitive Distortions and Four IB's (if you know something about ePrime, that is even more helpful), Fox News and other media becomes your Rational University, allowing you to readily and easily decode all the manipulative crap that spews out 24/7.   When you understand what these people are really saying on the basis of General Semantics, it can be very amazing as well as quite entertaining.  Much more important, it liberates you from those people whose main goal is to control your mind.
Finally, using REBT-CBT in thinking about the media and other input reinforces your personal relationship with REBT-CBT that you will continue to use on your on problems and those of your clients.  As you get better working on your problems, you get better at working with clients, which makes you more adept at decoding what comes across in the media.  It is a "virtuous circle" which can change your life if you let it, if you work at it.
Khon Kaen, Thailand
Definitions of Cognitive Distortions

1.  ALL-OR-NOTHING THINKING: You see things in black and white categories.  If your performance falls short of perfect, you see yourself as a total failure.

2.  OVERGENERALIZATION: You see a single negative event as a never-ending pattern of defeat.

3.  MENTAL FILTER:  You pick out a single negative detail and dwell on it exclusively so that your vision of all reality become darkened, like the drop of ink that discolors the entire beaker of water.

4.  DISQUALIFYING THE POSITIVE: You reject positive experiences by
insisting they "don't count" for some reason or another.  In this way you can maintain a negative belief that is contradicted by your everyday experiences.

5.  JUMPING TO CONCLUSIONS:  You make a negative interpretation even though there are no definite facts that co nvincingly support your conclusion.

    a.  Mind Reading:  You arbitrarily conclude that someone is reacting negatively to you, and you don't bother to check this out.

    b.  The Fortune Teller Error:  You anticipate that things will turn out badly, and you feel convinced that your prediction is an already established fact.

6.  MAGNIFICATION (CATASTROPHIZING) OR MINIMIZATION: You exaggerate the importance of things (such as your goof-up or someone else's achievement) or you inappropriately shrink things until they appear tiny (your own desirable qualities or the other fellow's imperfections).  This is also called the "binocular trick."

7.  EMOTIONAL REASONING: You assume that your negative emotions
necessarily reflect the way things really are:  "I feel it, therefore it must be true."

8.  SHOULD STATEMENTS:  You try to moti vate you rself with shoulds and
shouldn'ts, as if you had to be whipped and punished before you could be expected to do anything.  "Musts" and "oughts" are also offenders.  The emotional consequence is guilt.  When you direct your should statements toward others, you feel anger, frustration, and resentment.

9.  LABELING AND MISLABELING: This is an extreme form of
over-generalization.  Instead of describing your error, you attach a
negative label to yourself:  "I'm a loser."  When someone else's behavior rubs you the wrong way, you attach a negative label to him: "He's a goddam louse."  Mislabeling involves describing an event with language that is highly colored and emotionally loaded.

10. PERSONALIZATION: You see yourself as the cause of some negative
external event which in fact you were not primarily responsible for.

Table 3-1, _Feeling Good_
            David D. Burns, MD

And Ellis reduces these Irrational Beliefs  to, as Micah calls them,

"The Big Four"

(1)  Demanding,
(2)  Awfulizing,
(3)  Low Frustration Tolerance, and
(4)  People Rating,


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