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  • Writer's pictureDeric Hollings

Practical Problems

 

When clients see me for Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT), I find it useful to identify practical problems worthy of addressing. The practical versus impractical distinction is crucial.

 

For instance, client X may want to work on reducing self-disturbance when interacting with his in-laws. Being that the only person client X has control over is himself, this is a practical problem on which we may work.

 

However, if client X attends therapy with the goal of ensuring that his in-laws will refrain from patronizing him, this is an impractical goal. Although the client may influence other people, he can’t control how others behave. Likewise, I have no power or authority over client X’s in-laws.

 

Once practical problems are identified, it’s important to remain on task while addressing them. Regarding this topic, page 56 of The REBT Therapist’s Pocket Companion invites REBT practitioners to have clients draft problem lists in order to conduct problem-focused therapy.

 

Say that client X wanted to work on disturbing himself less regarding his in-laws, though on his third session he presents with an entirely new set of issues. Now, he wants to address how upset he becomes in relation to his beliefs about how lousy his boss apparently is.

 

Not only that, he’s disturbed about his assumptions related to his wife’s snoring. As well, his children don’t listen, the family’s new puppy isn’t housebroken, and earlier in the day someone flew the bird to client X when he accidentally cut off the other motorist.

 

Compounding problems of this sort aren’t unusual. Nonetheless, page 57 of The REBT Therapist’s Pocket Companion invites REBT practitioners to envision a “big picture” of a client’s issue before intervening on the client’s behalf.

 

In client X’s case, it appears as though he over-utilizes the flawed perspective of an action-consequence connection. Using the ABC model, REBT maintains that it isn’t an action (e.g., being flipped off in traffic) that leads to a consequence (e.g., anger).

 

Rather, the belief-consequence connection is how people disturb themselves. Therefore, when another motorist flips off client X (action) and the client assumes, “I can’t stand being disrespected” (belief), it’s this unhelpful assumption that causes anger (consequence).

 

Understanding that the underlying canvas of client X’s bigger picture is self-disturbing narratives, I can then assist by helping the client to address practical problems in a more productive manner. This matter is discussed on page 58 of The REBT Therapist’s Pocket Companion.

 

Ultimately, the range of problems with which a client initially presents for therapy may seem daunting. Therefore, I assist by identifying practical problems worthy of address, helping clients to remain on task, considering the big picture, and helping to reduce self-disturbance so that people can eventually learn to take these steps on their own.

 

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, May 17). Circle of concern. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/circle-of-concern

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

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. (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. (2023, February 17). Revisiting the circle of control. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/revisiting-the-circle-of-control

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

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

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