Is seeing a CBT therapist while still strongly disturbed the right thing to do?

Posted by Rex Alexander on Sat 23 Mar 24 in Basics, Guest Author Posts, Rational Thinking, REBT & Other therapies compared |

Is seeing a CBT therapist while still strongly disturbed the right thing to do?


Is seeing a CBT therapist while still strongly disturbed the right thing to do?

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Bob, a long-time member of our REBT-CBT Forum Yahoogroup http://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/REBT-CBT-FORUM/info had some very sound things to say about the question “Is seeing a CBT therapist while still strongly disturbed the right thing do to?” and also more general comments about REBT as an educational as well as a therapeutic process.  He was kind enough to allow us to reprint his post here.  Thanks, Bob!


Is seeing a CBT therapist while still strongly disturbed the right thing to do?

This interesting question has brought me out of the shadows, where I have been lurking, although I am likely to think my contribution to be unworthy after further consideration.

I was trained as an educator not a therapist and for most of my life I have been working directly supporting people with major mental illnesses.  I have given much time to the work of Ellis, and even more time to books by David Burns, and Martin Seligman.  However, most of the Curricula that I present as well much of my practical counseling is framed around the REBT model.


The reasons I prefer REBT are that it seems that once it is understood, Ellis’s system gets more to the core of what disturbs us.  As I see it, our Automatic Negative Thoughts are generated by Cognitive Distortions, which are generated by the core Irrational Beliefs – that Ellis identified.  Furthermore, although in some ways REBT may be critical of humanistic psychology, it maintains perhaps most fundamental core rational belief “unconditional acceptance of self and others.”  (or as I sometimes say:  “What is, is.”)


How to Stubbornly Refuse to Make Yourself Miserable… by Albert Ellis


The qualities I would look for in a therapist are:

1. Humility.  Not all human problems can be solved by REBT and the depths of the human heart are fathomless.  It is good to gain understanding but there is no wisdom without awe and humility.  If we think we have all the answers we are stifled people who cannot grow.

2.  Desire to know more.  I am convinced that the best counselors and teachers are the best listeners and the first to admit that they don’t know much.  I have now been a widower for 367 days.  So many of my well meaning friends have given cliche advice, some have told me what I should feel.  But those who said they did not presume to understand what I was going through are the friend who have understood and comforted me the best.

3.  Good listening skills.  People do indeed learn much from processing. Reflective listening is good therapy.

4.  REBT.  Added to the above qualities I have found REBT to be a very effective tool for helping people with a wide variety of disturbances.

5.  Motivational Interviewing.  In spite of diligent effort I have not yet mastered this.  However I hope to continue studying it and to us it to help others.

A humble, reflective listening, REBT, therapist (or a pastoral counselor who understands REBT) who seeks first to understand, and uses motivational interviewing is what I would always seek.

We should also consider whether the therapist understands the type of problems that the person seeking help faces.  Some by training and experience better understand neurosis, other psychosis, some relate better to people of different ages or cultures, etc.





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Originally posted 2013-11-28 04:12:30.

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