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  • Writer's pictureDeric Hollings

Disconfirmation


 

Have you ever questioned whether or not people like you? For instance, if you’re a person of ample resources (e.g., money), do you ever contemplate whether or not people genuinely care about you? Or is it rather what you can provide for them that matters?

 

Maybe you’re relatively attractive. Do you wonder about whether or not people truly like you? Or are they only friendly in hopes of one day dating you? In addition to curiosity of this sort, what might you tell yourself about your self-worth if it were true that maybe people really don’t like you at all?

 

In my professional practice of Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT) I’ve worked with people regarding this very issue. Client X may disturb himself with the irrational belief that people ought to value him as an individual and not for what he can provide them.

 

Client Y may also upset herself when unhelpfully believing people shouldn’t interact with her solely because they want to form a romantic relationship. What might underlie the demandingness of clients X and Y?

 

Perhaps on a deeper level these clients unproductively believe that people really don’t like them. Moreover, they probably use low frustration tolerance by unnecessarily believing that they couldn’t stand to be valued for anything other than their character or personality.

 

For a psychotherapist, it may be tempting to validate our clients’ worth by saying something along the lines of, “Don’t be silly, you’re perfect just the way you are!” After all, disconfirmation of a person’s underlying belief may help the client feel better.

 

By “disconfirmation,” I’m referring to offered evidence that suggests one’s belief isn’t true or which weakens the trustworthiness of a belief. If a therapist—who’s perhaps perceived as an expert in the mental health field—says you have worth, then surely you should be esteemed, right?

 

From an REBT practitioner’s point of view, this isn’t entirely accurate. I’m less concerned with helping people feel better and more interested in helping people get better.

 

Therefore, with my clients I focus less on self-esteem and more on unconditional self-acceptance (USA). Maybe people really don’t like you. Can you tolerate and accept it if this were true?

 

Using this approach, I’m neither confirming nor disconfirming a person’s beliefs. Per page 32 of The REBT Therapist’s Pocket Companion, I remain mindful not to unwittingly reinforce a client’s irrational beliefs.

 

Rather, I advocate USA so that my clients can learn to accept themselves without use of unhelpful stipulations such as, “I’ll like myself only if others like me.” Who says you must like or love yourself in the first place?

 

Throughout my life, I’ve heard, “You can’t love someone until you love yourself,” and I’ve rarely stopped to question this proclamation. Now, with practice of REBT, I understand that we can love others without loving ourselves, as well as loving ourselves without loving others.

 

In fact, love has very little to do with the matter. This is why I promote USA versus self-love. On page 33 of The REBT Therapist’s Pocket Companion, REBT practitioners are invited to engage clients in the “therapeutic arena or arenas” likely to be most productive for our clients (e.g., individual sessions).

 

I meet my clients on the psychotherapeutic arena floor and help them to metaphorically battle disobliging beliefs which lead to unpleasant cognitive, emotive, bodily sensation, and behavioral consequences. Arming people with USA, they can engage in a clash of healthy versus unhealthy beliefs.

 

By facing discomfort and performing the difficult task of letting go of needless notions about oneself or self-love, you can learn to use USA in your favor. After all, have you ever considered that maybe people really don’t like you? If so, now consider that it doesn’t matter, because you accept yourself unconditionally.

 

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:

 

Dryden, W. and Neenan, M. (2003). The REBT Therapist’s Pocket Companion. Albert Ellis Institute. ISBN 0-917476-26-3. Library of Congress Control Number: 20031044378

Hollings, D. (2022, October 31). Demandingness. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/demandingness

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

Hollings, D. (2024, January 3). Expertise. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/expertise

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

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, December 9). Like it, love it, accept it. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/like-it-love-it-accept-it

Hollings, D. (2022, December 2). Low frustration tolerance. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/low-frustration-tolerance

Hollings, D. (2023, April 24). On truth. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/on-truth

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. (2023, February 16). Tna. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/tna

Hollings, D. (2023, March 1). Unconditional self-acceptance. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/unconditional-self-acceptance

Hollings, D. (2023, November 23). Validation. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/validation

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