While, “re-framing” and “positive thinking” are a standard tools in REBT-CBT, I cannot over-emphasize how much I err on the side of rational, sensible, realistic re-framing, positive thinking and affirmations.
Personally, I tend to soft-peddle this stuff simply because people–usually misinformed people–dismiss REBT out-of-hand as just another positive thinking gimmick. Nothing could be further from the truth, but it is an ongoing struggle (labor of love, really) to teach people the important differences between REBT’s rational positive thinking and re-framing and the traditional Norman Vincent Peal-Dale Carnegie type of positive thinking. You can search this site for several posts exploring this subject in greater depth.
For now, let me just say that I am seriously “allergic” to teaching REBT concepts that in any supports naiveté, fantasy superstition, or anything that smacks of “woo” or that over-sells or over-promises the possibilities and benefits of REBT-CBT. Also, I am apprehensive about teaching “affirmations” (REBT calls them “Rational Coping Statements) as these can definitely stray into “woo” territory if we are not careful. While Dr. Ellis and others definitely include them in the REBT tool box, I am concerned that clients and students may be attracted to these techniques as an “easier, softer way” compared to the more difficult work of observing, identifying, uprooting, disputing and replacing IBs (Irrational Beliefs), as well as being distracted from the important and necessary follow-up behavioral experiments. Nonetheless, some approaches to positive thinking, re-framing and affirmations can be useful if kept as an adjunct to–definitely not a substitute for–the more rigorous disputing and behavioral homework activities central to REBT-CBT.
With that long-winded disclaimer in mind, I just came upon a lovely re-frame from Joeel & Natalie Rivera (Thanks, guys!) who have just published the excellent CBT Cognitive Behavioral Life Coach course on Udemy which is well worth a looksee.
THROW OUT YOUR OLD INTIMIDATING TODO LIST
IN FAVOR OF A BRIGHT, SHINY NEW
So, what’s the problem, exactly, with a todo list? Well, nothing . . . maybe. Afterall, that’s what most people call them and there are millions and millions of them in operation as I type this. However, if you are anything like me, doesn’t your blood pressure rise just a little when you think of your todo list? Doesn’t the damn thing seem just a little bit onerous? As it gets longer and longer and longer, doesn’t thinking about it prick you with guilt, just a little? Is it your friend or a mean task master? Be honest! Is it exhilarating or intimidating? Does it provide clarity or anxiety? Do you want to move toward it . . . or run away from it screaming like a little girl?
Ooops! Maybe it’s just me? Uh, oh! My slip is showing! But if it isn’t just me . . ..
Get rid of the damn thing and get a brand new, bright and shiny TA-DA list!
Every time you tick off an item, congratulate yourself! Sing it! “Ta-da”
Shout it to the world! Ta-da! Ta-da! Ta-da! Ta-da!
One good ta-da leads to another . . .
Now I don’t claim that this will cure cancer or solve the problem of world peace (hehehe…) but it just may help you beat your procrastination, at least some of the time, move forward rather than backward, tackle your tasks with anticipation rather than anxiety, and feel deservedly rewarded rather than merely relieved when you tick off a task.
Try it! You’ll like it.
And please come back and share your experiences with it. Give us a “thumbs up” on facebook and social media if you enjoyed this re-framing.
Khon Kaen, Thailand
Fri 6 Apr 2018
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