People are often surprised that REBT considers “need” to be an irrational belief (IB) in-and-of-itself . . . except at the level of basic survival needs such as food and shelter, and I would speculate appropriate attachment between mother and infant.
Click the link to watch a video about Harlow’s famous Monkey Experiment (may be disturbing to some) followed by Dr. Ellis’s wonderful lecture about the “Dire Need for Love and Approval”
How to Stubbornly Refuse to Make Yourself Miserable… by Albert Ellis
Most so called “needs” fall into what I call “disguised shoulds.” It is difficult to recognize these as such because “I need what I need” seems so reasonable and like common sense.. I NEED love. I NEED this job I NEED success. I NEED people to cooperate and act kindly toward me. I NEED to have a family, spouse, kids, significant other. True, threats to our economic and social survival can indeed seem like threats to our actual survival. Fortunately, they are not, and while needs seem, well, necessary, they are in fact not in most cases. So, once again, it may be a bummer, a big, nasty, hairy bummer when I do not get what I claim to need . . . but in reality, I only strongly (maybe very strongly) prefer it. It is not the end of the world if I don’t get what I need, even though I may “enjoy” carrying on, complaining about it and insisting that I can’t stand it.
Rare video by Dr. Ellis: Conquering The Dire Need for Love and Approval
UPDATE Tue 21 Jan 2020, 6:43 pm
This subject never fails to provoke controversy. However, I think I can help solve it, however inelegantly. I recommend that people strive to operate primarily in the zone of preferences rather than needs, and limit the concept of need to those things where actual survival is dependent, such as the need for food, water, air, shelter. However, some people find that extremely challenging and off putting. This controversy blocks an intelligent discussion of this important topic. Perhaps it would help if I introduce the idea of two different types of needs:
(1) Needs which are demands and
(2) Needs which are not demands.
So, then we can say, OK, you can keep your needs (if you must, hehehehe…) However, stubbornly and courageously differentiate between when your “needs” are demands and when they are strong (possibly very strong) preferences.
Then you can honestly and courageously declare: “Although I need this thing, there is no reason why I absolutely must have it!
That will liberate you to go about doing what you can do, can achieve, can have, rather than depressing or enraging yourself over what you can’t.
Aim for success, not perfection. Never give up your right to be wrong, because then you will lose the ability to learn new things and move forward with your life. Remember that fear always lurks behind perfectionism. Confronting your fears and allowing yourself the right to be human can, paradoxically, make yourself a happier and more productive person.David D. Burns CBT pioneer and popularizer. Author "Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy"… (next quote)
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