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  • Writer's pictureDeric Hollings

Relevant Skills


 

In childhood, I was told about how skilled my uncle was at shooting pool. He was once said to have beaten then-famous gambler Amarillo Slim in a game or two and my uncle even bragged about winning a Winnebago from a pool tournament in which he participated.

 

When in adolescence, I realized I didn’t inherit whatever gene I thought was responsible for my uncle’s success at pool. My friends and I frequently shoot pool at Amarillo Slims Pool Palace in Bomb City and I mostly lost when playing.

 

Now, I realize that I wasn’t kind to myself by using beliefs about my lack of pool skills. From a Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT) standpoint, I recognize the unhelpful assumptions I used at the time.

 

REBT theory uses the ABC model to illustrate how when Activating events (“Actions”) occur and people maintain irrational Beliefs about the events, these unhelpful assumptions – and not the actual occurrences – are what create unpleasant cognitive, emotive, bodily sensation, and behavioral Consequences.

 

In particular, there are four predominate irrational beliefs which people use: demandingness, awfulizing, low frustration tolerance, and global evaluations. Addressing these, the ABC model incorporates Disputation of unhelpful assumptions in order to explore Effective new beliefs.

 

When performing poorly at pool (Action), I likely Believed, “Because I’m not as good at this game as my uncle, I suck,” which is a negativistic global evaluation of self. With this unhelpful assumption, I experienced guilt (Consequence).

 

The error in my belief was that in that moment I rated my entire worth as a human being on my lack of skill. Thus, discounting other positive attributes, my narrow focus and unhelpful belief caused an unpleasant outcome.

 

Suppose I stopped to ask myself, “Am I worth so little that the value of my entire life depends on something as irrelevant as pool skills?” I suspect Disputation of this sort may’ve resulted in an Effective new belief such as, “Although I’d like to be as skilled at pool as my uncle, my life isn’t valued by how I perform at playing pool.”

 

Addressing the relevant skill of disputation, page 152 of The REBT Therapist’s Pocket Companion (“Pocket Companion”) invites REBT practitioners to teach clients relevant skills, though not at the expense of resolving underlying irrational beliefs.

 

In order to practice disputation, one needs to first understand how to identify irrational beliefs and distorted inferences which contribute to the process of self-disturbance. I use psychoeducation as a method of teaching relevant skills related to how people upset themselves.

 

Also, page 153 of the Pocket Companion encourages REBT practitioners to suggest to clients a variety of cognitive techniques which may weaken irrational beliefs while strengthening rational beliefs. Aside from doing so in sessions, I provide many of these relevant tools within my blog.

 

Additionally, page 154 of the Pocket Companion suggests use of self-disclosure in order to teach clients about how REBT practitioners once disturbed themselves, perhaps as a means of demonstrating relatability. The current blogpost related to my poor pool-playing skills is an example of self-disclosure.

 

Still, the Pocket Companion invites REBT practitioners to keep in mind that not everyone is interested in one’s personal experiences. Given the feedback I’ve received regarding some of my blogposts, I remain aware of this fact.

 

In any case, for those who appreciate personal anecdotes, I never did improve my pool skills. In adulthood, and having moved away from Bomb City, I continued to suck at shooting pool.


 

Did you notice the modified personal narrative I used? My self-disturbing belief once was something along the lines of, “Because I’m not as good at this game as my uncle, I suck.”

 

However, the effective new belief is, “In adulthood, and having moved away from Bomb City, I continued to suck at shooting pool.” The former is a global evaluation of self, though the latter represents an honest description of my pool-playing skill level.

 

I am not my behavior. My worth as a pool player isn’t indicative of my worth as a human being. Thus, I can suck at shooting pool while not sucking at life. If you’d like to know more about developing relevant skills similar to this, I look forward to hearing from you.

 

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. (n.d.). Blog – Categories: Tools. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/blog/categories/tools

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, March 28). Distorted inferences. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/distorted-inferences

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. (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. (2023, September 8). Lived experience. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/lived-expereince

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. (2024, January 1). Psychoeducation. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/psychoeducation

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, November 9). The ABC model. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/the-abc-model

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.). Amarillo Slim. Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amarillo_Slim

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