What if you only understand your REBT process “intellectually”?
I am not as warm & fuzzy as Will is on this point. When you only understand your REBT process quote-unquote “intellectually,” my take on that is that you simply don’t believe what you are telling yourself. If you believed it, really believed it, you would feel it. There is no avoiding that conclusion. Now, in REBT we arrive at our new beliefs by reason, humility and self-honesty, not by faith, but a belief is a belief is a belief. If you believed you could fly, you might jump out the window. Possibly a less confrontational way of expressing the same idea is that at the end of your process, you may have two beliefs; the old, irrational one(s), and the new and improved rational ones. However, you may believe the old belief more strongly than the new one. You may be more emotionally attached to or invested in the old belief than the new one. My, how we resist relinquishing our “darling shoulds!”
One of the solutions to this stuck place is to bring more passion into your process. Do it as a role play or an “empty chair technique.” Or get someone to act it out with you. The Human Potential Movement does not prove to be wholly useless in REBT! Stop being overly-concerned about how nicely you are filling our your disputing form and how you dot your i’s and cross your t’s. I think some people believe that filling out a disputing form is like working out an ancient cryptogram or something: Just get all the tumblers to click in the right sequence, and like a scene from “Raiders of the Lost Ark,” Alakazam! The secret doors spring open and you get the diamonds! Not!
That is not what it is about! It is about convincing yourself, really convincing yourself, that your reaction is indeed drivdn by irrational thinking, and that your irrational thinking is really irrational. In our context, “irrational” may mean distorted, illogical, unreasonable, unhelpful or simply a pile of horse shit! It is very hard to continue to feed your reaction if you realize that what you are reacting to is a thought that is false: If you think that Lizzy stole your wallet, you get pissed. But then when you learn that you actually left the wallet in your car, your reaction simply stops. If it continues under those circumstances, possibly you have other issues with Lizzy, or possibly there is something deeper going on. But under most circumstances you would not continue to be angry when you realize your anger was provoked and driven by false belief.
Get up and walk around while you dispute aloud! Engage yourself emotionally. If you have a compulsion to dot those i’s and cross those t’s, they won’t escape and will be there for you to attend to later.
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© 2018, Rex Alexander. All rights reserved.
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Originally posted 2013-11-27 03:09:37.