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  • Writer's pictureDeric Hollings

Cheating Yourself

 

To cheat implies acting dishonestly or unfairly in order to gain an advantage. In my practice of Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT), I’ve learned of how some clients cheat themselves when using this psychotherapeutic intervention.

 

In particular, when working through the ABC model, I ask what goal a client has regarding the consequences of beliefs. Per the model, irrational beliefs produce unpleasant consequences such as emotions, bodily sensations, and behavior.

 

By disputing these unhelpful beliefs, an individual can consider and implement effective new beliefs which may better serve one’s interests and goals. When using this model, I invite clients to select practical outcomes rather than aiming for lofty goals.

 

For instance, if client X’s boss is overly critical (Activating event) and client X assumes, “I must be a terrible employee who has little to offer this world” (Beliefs), this set of attitudes result in client X becoming sad, feeling as though his body is heavy, and he then sulks in his cubicle (Consequence).

 

It isn’t the action that produces the consequence, forming an Action-Consequence connection. Rather, it’s what client X truly believes about himself that causes the unpleasant consequence, forming a Belief-Consequence connection.

 

I would ask client X what consequence he’d rather experience when his boss is overly critical. Feeling happy isn’t likely to occur, because I suspect the average person isn’t prone to experience bliss with a hyper-critical boss.

 

Therefore, client X may determine that when his boss behaves in such a manner the experience of annoyance would be preferable to sorrow, bodily discomfort, and sulking. This is a pragmatic objective for disputation that produces an effective new belief.

 

Nevertheless, I’ve found that some clients cheat themselves by foregoing the uncomfortable process of disputation and they instead profess to have achieved the aim of a session within a relatively short period of time. Client X may quickly claim to be annoyed in place of sorrowful when I challenge his unproductive beliefs.

 

This sort of behavior isn’t representative of actual processing, though it’s a form of cheating. However, with cheating a person may achieve desired results, though with misuse of terms indicative of one’s goals an individual doesn’t actually achieve the objective.

 

Cheating yourself by claiming to be mildly frustrated, slightly annoyed, or acceptably displeased rather than furiously angry, sulkily sorrowful, or nauseously disgusted may help you feel better in a session. After all, lying so that you no longer have to participate in disputation is easy to do.

 

Still, the overarching goal of REBT isn’t to help people feel better. Rather, the aim is to help people get better. As such, discomfort may be expected.

 

Then again, you’re a self-determined and autonomous individual. So, perhaps you’ll cheat your way to self-disturbed agony on the inside while smiling on the outside. The choice is yours to make.

 

If you’re looking for a provider who works to help you understand how thinking impacts physical, mental, emotional, and behavioral elements of your life—helping you to sharpen your critical thinking skills, I invite you to reach out today by using the contact widget on my website.

 

As a psychotherapist, I’m pleased to help people with an assortment of issues ranging from anger (hostility, rage, and aggression) to relational issues, adjustment matters, trauma experience, justice involvement, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, anxiety and depression, and other mood or personality-related matters.

 

At Hollings Therapy, LLC, serving all of Texas, I aim to treat clients with dignity and respect while offering a multi-lensed approach to the practice of psychotherapy and life coaching. My mission includes: Prioritizing the cognitive and emotive needs of clients, an overall reduction in client suffering, and supporting sustainable growth for the clients I serve. Rather than simply helping you to feel better, I want to help you get better!

 

 

Deric Hollings, LPC, LCSW

 

 

References:

 

Hollings, D. (n.d.). Blog – Categories: Disputation. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/blog/categories/disputation

Hollings, D. (2022, March 15). Disclaimer. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/disclaimer

Hollings, D. (2023, September 8). Fair use. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/fair-use

Hollings, D. (2023, October 12). Get better. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/get-better

Hollings, D. (2023, September 13). Global evaluations. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/global-evaluations

Hollings, D. (n.d.). Hollings Therapy, LLC [Official website]. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/

Hollings, D. (2024, January 2). Interests and goals. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/interests-and-goals

Hollings, D. (2023, May 18). Irrational beliefs. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/irrational-beliefs

Hollings, D. (2023, September 19). Life coaching. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/life-coaching

Hollings, D. (2022, March 25). Rational emotive behavior therapy (REBT). Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/rational-emotive-behavior-therapy-rebt

Hollings, D. (2022, November 1). Self-disturbance. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/self-disturbance

Hollings, D. (2022, October 7). Should, must, and ought. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/should-must-and-ought

Hollings, D. (2022, November 9). The ABC model. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/the-abc-model

Hollings, D. (2022, December 23). The A-C connection. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/the-a-c-connection

Hollings, D. (2022, December 25). The B-C connection. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/the-b-c-connection

Hollings, D. (2022, November 15). To don a hat. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/to-don-a-hat

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