that someone must love you or that you must get an "A." But is the
client actually irrational, wrong, or stupid, when he/she insists that the
world must be different than it is? I think so (see next method).
The final problem is that many of us are not willing or able to do
the extensive work necessary to clear up our irrational thinking. It is
easy to say that professional help may be needed, but realistically if
we won't clean up our own thinking, are we likely to do the work and
pay for a therapist as well? So, what does this lack of motivation say
about the effectiveness of self-change?
Whatever is is right?
Can we easily question our own thoughts? Often not. Rational-
Emotive and Cognitive Therapies are professional techniques usually
utilized by well trained professional therapists. However, Rational-
Emotional professionals have written up their methods hundreds of
times as self-help techniques. The problem is that in their practice the
professional therapists can be quite directive and assertive, even
bluntly and repeatedly confronting and challenging the patients
irrational ideas. The Rational Emotional therapist may tell a specific
patient that his/her specific thought is an irrational idea, is the kind
of thinking that causes depression or anger, etc. The Cognitive
therapists are a bit gentler but just as specific and say now, how can
we test the validity of that idea, or lets collect some data to see how
you feel after you have such thoughts. In books these authors
present arguments and cases that illustrate the harmfulness of certain
general ideas but in bibliotherapy they cant zero in repeatedly on the
readers specific ideas that seem to be causing unwanted emotions.
Instead, they can suggest ways to question your own reasoning and
ways to look at the situation differently. But if you dont diligently
think about those questions over and over, your thinking and beliefs
may change very little.
For example, it is suggested that you ask yourself questions similar
to these: (1) Do my thoughts or beliefs help me or cause me problems
over time? (2) Do my beliefs fit with known facts and reality? (3) Is
this specific belief logicaldoes it make sense? For example, you
might want very badly to succeed, but does having that need mean
you must succeed? No. Rational ideas should be helpful, realistic, and
make sense. If your ideas (beliefs) arent rational, then one should
find ones that are.
A recent book, written by a person who claims to have had no
knowledge about Rational-Emotive or Cognitive therapy, provides
some techniques that challenge the kind of ideas that frequently lead
to unpleasant, disturbing emotions (Byron Katie, 2002). Most of her
case illustrations of applying these methods (questions to ask yourself)
come from a workshop or lecture circuit where she does public
interviews in which she rather assertively challenges the interviewees
beliefs and ideas, much like some therapists do. So, it is not known
how effectively text-based self-questioning corrects our trouble-