Logic and Reason
Logic and reason for REBT practice
I’m increasingly aware of how poorly logic and reason are taught within United States society. Thinking back to my youth, I don’t recall learning much about the use of these techniques at all. To be fair, I didn’t retain much of what I was taught back then.
Nonetheless, when speaking with clients about Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT), I typically find myself needing to briefly distinguish between these two elements. They are crucial to the style of therapy I provide.
Therefore, it may be useful to share the information with others, as well. Hopefully without oversimplifying the matter, I present the currently blog entry.
Though the study and application of logic and reason is quite expansive, I aim to present a layperson’s perspective of what these concepts are and how they work. Even with an elementary understanding of these tools, one may practice REBT more efficiently.
While it may take many forms, the type of logic I use with clients may be defined as an “interrelation or sequence of facts or events when seen as inevitable or predictable.” To demonstrate this, I like to use a syllogism. Consider the following:
Major (of first) premise: All A are B
Minor (or second) premise: All C are A
Conclusion: C are also B
Let’s use some simple terms in place of the aforementioned variables:
Premise 1: All humans are cheaters.
Premise 2: All men are humans.
Conclusion: Therefore, all men are cheaters.
In this example, the major premise is flawed though the logic is sound—meaning it is viewed as inevitable or predictable. We often use false premises to make what we think are rational arguments.
Suppose we changed the misleading major premise, would the logic still follow? Let’s see what happens when I modify a description with factual information:
Premise 1: Some humans are not cheaters.
Premise 2: Many men are humans.
Conclusion: Consequently, many men are not cheaters.
The major premise is accurate. Some humans choose infidelity as a mating strategy. However, in this example, the minor premise is flawed.
It isn’t that “many” men are humans, because all men are. Still, the major premise led to a valid conclusion. Of course, that all depends on who you ask. Let’s see what happens when both the major and minor premises are valid:
Premise 1: Some humans cheat.
Premise 2: Men are humans.
Conclusion: Accordingly, some men cheat.
Here, both premise one and premise two is accurate, as is the conclusion, and the logic is sound. Adjusting the narratives (premises) we use can make a significant difference in concluded outcomes.
Though reason can play a key role in logic, it also exists as a standalone component of rational thinking. Noteworthy, it can be less formulaic than systematic logic.
I think of reason defined as “a statement offered in explanation or justification,” “a rational ground or motive,” and, “the thing that makes some fact intelligible.” In short, it’s what makes sense.
Suppose I were to program an artificial intelligence (A.I.) bot with an aim to eradicate cancer worldwide. The A.I. solution may be to kill everyone with cancer.
This is a reasonable conclusion from an instrument that doesn’t retain worth often placed on human life. Therefore, while a stance may be well-reasoned and make sense on its face, it doesn’t necessarily lead to an ethical, moral, or even legal conclusion.
Even when assessing the determination of my programmed A.I., I used reason. I judged that while terminating everyone with cancer could resolve existence of the illness, the detriment to society would be far too significant than to be practical or useful.
My well-reasoned conclusion in relation to a reasonable, though unnecessarily burdensome, proposal required rational thinking. I didn’t need the mathematical, scientific, or formulaic framework of logic to reach my decision.
Basic understanding of logic and reason plays an integral role in my approach to REBT. Even though contemplation and implementation of these techniques may be somewhat confusing to some, I hope to have simplified these concepts in a digestible way.
Nonetheless, I’m aware that an observed trend over the past decade has been to abandon logic and reason for faith-based (not necessarily religious), emotive, and ideologically-driven arguments. It’s worth noting that I reject these practices.
Pretending as though people possess their own truth, create anything more than mere perceptual reality, or can simply deconstruct what is while replacing it with what they think ought to be is illogical and unreasonable. It’s quite irrational.
To those who insist on deluding themselves into fictitious existences, I wish them all the best. For those who search to discover a truth that endures outside of us—and to understand the nature of reality that predates, exists currently, and will survive our inevitable end—I welcome you.
I use logic and reason when practicing REBT in my own life so that I will not self-disturb by irrationally demanding of myself, others, and the world to be as I think I, they, and it should, must, or ought to be. Would you like to know how to improve your life in this way, as well?
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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