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  • Writer's pictureDeric Hollings

Irrational Beliefs

When practicing Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT), I assist people with identifying unhelpful, unhealthy, unproductive, and unfavorable thoughts, assumptions, attitudes, and beliefs.

In general, this mental content is associated with irrational, illogical, or delusional thinking. What comes to mind when hearing these terms?

For clarity, it may be useful to briefly define these words. When discussing what “irrational” is, I’m referring to that which is lacking usual or typical mental clarity or coherence, or which is not endowed with reason or understanding.

“Illogical” references that which is lacking sense or clear, sound reasoning. Here, “reasoning” merely refers to the drawing of inferences or conclusions through the use of reason—a cause, explanation, or justification for an action or event.

When referring to “delusional,” I speaking of that which is characterized by or holding false beliefs or judgments about external reality that are held despite incontrovertible evidence to the contrary, or which is based on or has faulty judgment.

For the purpose of this blog entry, I’m blending each of these concepts into a single term: irrational beliefs.

Due to moralistic criticism associated with rational, logical, or reasonable thought processes, some people conclude that it is bad or wrong to think in an irrational manner. However, this is not the case.

As fallible humans, rational thinking isn’t necessarily our default setting. It takes work—lots of uncomfortable effort—in order to achieve a routinely rational approach to interfacing with the world.

For instance, when using the REBT ABC Model, I assist people with identifying irrational beliefs which lead to unpleasant consequences (i.e., emotions, bodily sensations, and behaviors). This isn’t always a fun, easy, or comfortable process.

I have irrational beliefs, you have them, and so do other people. All the same, by pushing through the discomfort of challenging the nonsense we tell ourselves, I’ve witnessed people achieve a higher level of functioning and an improved quality of life.

Additionally, it’s important to know that the originator of REBT, Albert Ellis, reportedly “believed that we can’t stop ourselves entirely from having irrational beliefs, but we can get better at disputing them.”

Therefore, when I discuss irrational beliefs throughout this blog, I’m not referring to that which is bad or wrong. Rather, I’m addressing only those self-disturbing thoughts, assumptions, attitudes, and beliefs which are unhelpful, unhealthy, unproductive, and unfavorable.

In conclusion, when practicing REBT, the goal isn’t to completely rid a person of nonsensical judgements about oneself, others, and the world. We aren’t performing miracles.

Alternatively, those who use this psychotherapeutic method learn to cope with, as well as tolerate and accept what is—rather than demanding what ought to be. As such, this is a sensible approach to living a purposeful and meaningful life.

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, 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


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