Disputing those pesky irrational thoughts
Just because you think it, DOES NOT make it true!
The therapeutic technique REBT, as I mentioned in Part A of this blog, is all about tapping into your irrational thoughts and beliefs and breaking them down. It attempts to show you that (1) events do not automatically create your thoughts, (2) events do not cause your emotions, and (3) by changing your thinking, you will see things differently, and then your thoughts and emotions will aid you instead of interfering with your actions.
Why do it? By disputing your irrational beliefs, you will be better able to “unblock” your emotions about your problems. It can also help you gain greater clarity about the issue, and be more productive in tackling the problem in a more productive manner. When you challenge an irrational thought, it helps reduce the guilt — often sub-consciously — we carry about the thought or behaviour. A great article I have found very useful that carries a list of questions you can ask yourself in order to break down the issue at hand can be found here: http://psychcentral.com/lib/answer-your-irrational-thoughts/
People observe their behaviour, and evaluate it in terms of how well they like it. If we did not do this, we would have no way of improving how we act. When people seek help in therapy, in self-help groups, or by reading self-help books, they are not merely observing their behaviours and deciding how to make adjustments. Typically, their thinking interferes with their ability to change and often they’re mainly aware of their unhappiness.
I often use the form attached with my clients, with good effect. In order to really challenge those irrational thoughts it is important to invest energy and time into this...there is no quick fix but the results are worth it!
You can increase your rationality and reduce your irrational beliefs, by spending several minutes each day asking yourself the following questions. To get the best results, give careful thought to each question, and avoid relying on well-rehearsed answers.