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  • Writer's pictureDeric Hollings

LFT vs. HFT

 

Prior to attending United States Marine Corps recruit training, I disturbed myself with irrational beliefs about boot camp. In particular, undiagnosed acrophobia was a major concern for me. According to one source:

 

Acrophobia, also known as hipsophobia, is an extreme or irrational fear or phobia of heights, especially when one is not particularly high up. It belongs to a category of specific phobias, called space and motion discomfort, that share similar causes and options for treatment.

 

Before going to Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego, California, I was told of the requirement for Marine recruits to complete a series of tall obstacles in order to graduate from boot camp. Being yelled at wasn’t a concern of mine, though falling to my death was something I believed would be terrifying.

 

Although I entered under the old training regimen, prior to the 54-hour day and night test and endurance circuit known as the Crucible, Marine recruits were judged on their ability to endure challenges to various phobias. However, I was pleasantly surprised to learn that a holiday schedule disrupted usual training activities.

 

I entered boot camp in September 1996, prepared to face tall obstacles during the 13-week training regimen. However, when recruits would’ve rappelled and climbed the stairway to Heaven (30-foot ladder-like obstacle) my platoon forewent these endurance measures due to the Marine Corps Birthday and Thanksgiving. I was quite thankful!

 

On the day in which acrophobia would’ve been an issue, we watched Braveheart instead of climbing tall obstacles. I thought I was free and clear of heights until later during my first enlistment when I was required to rappel while attending Marine Security Guard (MSG) school.

 

Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT) identifies four major irrational beliefs which may have contributed to my fear of heights at MSG school:

 

·  Demandingness – I should stay alive, so I shouldn’t increase my chances of death by training associated with high places!

 

·  Awfulizing – It would be terrible, horrible, and awful to die, or even to be permanently injured, from heights training!

 

·  Low frustration tolerance (LFT) – I can’t stand the thought of dying from rappel training!

 

·  Global evaluations – MSG school is a total waste of my time, if I’m potentially required to die as a result of training!

 

Although demandingness and global evaluations were likely present during training, I think the majority of my self-disturbance stemmed from awfulizing and LFT. The unpleasant consequence of my unproductive beliefs was fear, dread, sweaty palms and a rapid heartrate, and racing thoughts about how I could avoid training.

 

Adding to my self-disturbed condition was the rumor of a Marine from the class prior to mine having apparently fallen from the rappel platform and having sustained serious injuries. I was distraught with what I believed about training associated with high places.

 

Regarding tragedy – and in my case, a perceived tragedy – pace 132 of The REBT Therapist’s Pocket Companion invites REBT practitioners to show sensitivity when working with clients experiencing tragedies. As well, we are encouraged to help clients understand that tragedies can be transcended.

 

Thus, disputing LFT narratives may be more effective than disputation of awfulizing beliefs, because it very well may be the case that some catastrophic events are perceived as terrible, horrible, or awful. As an example, consider a house fire which results in the loss of life for a client’s entire family.

 

In the case of a person losing children and an intimate partner to a flame-engulfed home, the target belief for one’s level of resilience, or high frustration tolerance (HFT), would likely be the unfavorable belief that the client can’t stand to go through life without one’s family.

 

Page 133 of The REBT Therapist’s Pocket Companion further invites REBT practitioners to help clients understand the three components of HFT:

 

·  “It’s difficult to tolerate.”

 

·  “I can tolerate it.”

 

·  “It’s worth tolerating.”

 

Whereas LFT narratives convince people that they literally can’t withstand tragic circumstances, HFT beliefs are more flexible and help people to tolerate and accept unpleasant – and even terrible, horrible, and awful – events. When in the Marine Corps, I didn’t know about this helpful distinction.

 

At around the time I was literally pushed from the ledge of the rappel platform, dangling high off the ground below, I had no choice other than to endure the frightening circumstance. Turns out, it wasn’t as awful an experience as I’d imagined.

 

Later, I told a fellow military police officer whom I’d met when serving in Okinawa, Japan, “SD,” about my experience at MSG school. After leaving the Marine Corps, she joined the Air Force and became a member of a special weapons & tactics team.

 

Hearing of my experience, she laughed and sent a photo of her conducting an inverted rappel maneuver. I was pushed from the rappel platform, because of fear associated with my beliefs, though she voluntarily rappelled upside down.


 

Together, SD and I laughed about my situation. Now that I understand the difference between LFT and HFT, I promote the strengthening of resilience when working with other people. If you think you may benefit from this sort of assistance, I’m here to help.

 

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 24). Chosen suffering. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/chosen-suffering

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, April 29). Embrace the suck. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/embrace-the-suck

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

Hollings, D. (2024, April 2). Four major irrational beliefs. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/four-major-irrational-beliefs

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, February 24). High frustration tolerance. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/high-frustration-tolerance

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

Hollings, D. (2024, April 22). On disputing. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/on-disputing

Hollings, D. (2022, March 24). 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. (2022, November 15). To don a hat. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/to-don-a-hat

Wikipedia. (n.d.). Acrophobia. Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Acrophobia

Wikipedia. (n.d.). Braveheart. Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Braveheart

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