Category Archives: rebt-cbt-post

Therapist Patience & Human Fallibility

by Deniz Sidali, M.A. 

One of my strongest virtues as a therapist is my inordinate patience. Sometimes I wonder whether this virtue may be my vice. Having excessive patience with certain clients can have drawbacks such as people taking liberties, abusing the therapist’s patience, blurring boundaries, and failing to teach appropriate skills. The relationship between therapist and client just may not be right. Sometimes a therapist simply needs to tactfully draw a line in the sand and express “enough is enough”.… Read more...

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Feeling Better or Getting Better

by Brooke Guttenberg, M.S. 

The other day I was sitting down with a friend to catch-up, and within minutes I realized her intentions. Her eyes were laser focused, her tone of voice was higher than usual, and her speech was picking-up.  Yup, she was about to begin venting. My friend launched into a very detailed story discussing how she made a mistake at work, and from there things just kept going downhill.

My friend relayed her different concerns and I listened intently, reassured her that the mistake she made was not that bad, helped collect evidence why she would not be fired, gave practical solutions about how to fix the mistake, and kept encouraging to “let her anger out.” After dinner my friend appeared to be in good spirits and I left giving myself a pat on the back.… Read more...

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Accept vs. Expect vs. Resign

by Kristen Tobias, M.A. 

The goal of REBT, and other forms of CBT, is to facilitate an emotional shift.  This goal is largely accomplished by causing a transformation in the way that individuals think, which is achieved by dialogue between the therapist and the client.  Therefore, language is the sine qua non of psychotherapy and words become the active ingredient.

Language can be ambiguous and some terms seem to have a tendency to fall prey to misinterpretation both by being explained inadequately by the therapist or understood incorrectly by the client. … Read more...

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The Certainty about Uncertainty

by Shannon O’Neill, MA

What is your biggest concern at the present moment?

Finances? Health? Relationships?

Regardless of the topic, I can safely assume 100% certainty is nonexistent. Therefore, if control is truly limited, why do we choose to obsess over the situation? Maybe we are demanding a particular outcome or we cannot bear to imagine the worst-case scenario. Yet, how helpful is this? For example, does worrying about the uncertainty of money make one wealthy?… Read more...

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Thinking Slow and REBT

by William R. Taboas, MA

Human beings are irrational thinkers by nature. But despite our irrationality, we are also capable of thinking rationally. It takes deliberate effort for us to think rationally. While philosophers, historians, and casual observers alike have noticed this for millennia, cognitive psychology has empirically corroborated what we knew all along: we are prone to nutty ideas!

So, what do we mean by irrational thinking? An irrational idea or belief:

1. Distorts reality.…

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May I go to Beijing with luggage?

Last week, while coming back from a domestic flight, I met a gentleman on the AirTrain from JFK Airport to Jamaica Station. He looked at me and said, “What a day!”

I looked at him and replied, “You’re right. What a day!”

He then asked me where I was coming from, to which I replied, “North Carolina.” I asked him back, “Where are you coming from?”

He said, “Beijing, China.”

So far, this was a regular conversation, until I looked at him—he only had one shopping bag with him from a Chinese duty-free store.… Read more...

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Disputing Beliefs About Infidelity

by Kristen Tobias, M.A. 

I refer to infidelity to mean engagement in a behavior with another person that violates an overt or covert romantic agreement between two adults existing in a free environment.  My definition of infidelity, like all others, is somewhat nebulous.  What defines a behavior?  How do couples navigate this understanding of their arrangement?  Are boundaries discussed once and set in stone?  Is covert understanding of fidelity anchored to the self or other?  Violation of a relationship norm can happen in the context of a monogamous, “monagamish”, or non-monogamous relationship. … Read more...

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“Uncle Ennio, Are You Like Baymax?”

by Ennio Ammendola, M.A. 

During the holidays, I spent some time with my niece Claudia (5) and my nephew Adrian (7). We decided to watch the action/comedy Big Hero 6, produced by Walt Disney. If you haven’t yet, please consider watching it!

I am not going to describe all the characters; I want to focus on one in particular: Baymax, a robot whose sole purpose is to take care of people. I did not choose the movie independently, but after I did, Adrian asked me, “Uncle Ennio, are you like Baymax?” Frankly, I did not know what to say and then my brain led me to another question: “Is an REBT therapist doing what Baymax does?” I then said, “YES, Adrian, you can say that uncle Ennio is like Baymax!”

I spent several hours thinking what Baymax and an REBT therapist have in common and I was able to generate the following table:

Clients come to us when they need help The character in the movie activates Baymax when he needs help
Clients choose us as their personal mental health specialist Baymax is a personal healthcare robot
REBT therapists are trained to maximize clients’ psychological well-being Baymax has been programmed solely to assist his clients devotedly
The entry phrase of an REBT therapist is “Hello, I am Ennio, your therapist,  what problem would you like to work on?” The entry phrase that Baymax uses is, “Hello, I am Baymax, your personal healthcare companion.
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Practice, Practice, Practice

by Brooke Guttenberg, M.S. 

I want you to take a minute and close your eyes. Think about the last time you felt angry, guilty, anxious, or depressed. Now I want you to walk your self through the situation. Think about each detail until you feel the emotional response. When you feel that emotion, pause, and ask yourself the question, how did I get myself to feel this emotion? Now I want you to change the emotion you are feeling.… Read more...

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Hope’s Executioner

by Jennifer Shindman, M.S. 

A few months ago during one of our clinical seminars, we discussed anger. Some of the topics included what individuals may gain by holding onto their anger, what maintains it, and how dysfunctional it can potentially be. I was particularly interested in what there was to gain from anger because the way I understood it, being angry with someone is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die, as the famous saying goes.Read more...

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