Can irrational beliefs be true?

The importance of irrational beliefs in rational-emotive therapy

content

1 Theoretical foundations of REVT

2 Irrational and Rational Beliefs in REVT
2.1 The concept of irrational beliefs
2.2 Definition of the term rational beliefs
2.3 Creation and maintenance of irrational evaluations

3 Dysfunctional Beliefs and Mental Disorders

4 Disputation as a method for changing dysfunctional and irrational beliefs

5 summary

6 literature

1 Theoretical foundations of REVT

Due to their biological equipment and social learning, people develop into goal-oriented living beings. Basic human goals are: To survive, to be free from pain and to be satisfied. These fundamental goals include sub-goals or primary goals such as 1. to be happy with yourself, 2. to be sociable with others, 3. to have close relationships with selected people, 4. to have access to education and information, 5. to be economical and to be professionally successful and 6. to have free time. These main human motives create the context in which to perceive and evaluate events. That is, people develop innate or conditioned by socialization, the tendency to perceive the world as benign, to see their fellow human beings filled with meaning and to assess themselves as competent, good and lovable.[1]

The overriding goals of rational-emotive behavior therapy are to ensure survival and promote happiness. They correspond to the mentioned fundamental motives of people. In REVT, ethical issues are also important. The goals of survival and happiness can only be achieved for the individual if individual actions do not harm or hinder the interests of others. Because for the survival and happiness of the individual, a good coexistence with other people is necessary.[2] In summary, the categorical imperative of Kant can be named as the ethical basis of the REVT: "Act only according to that maxim through which you can also want it to become a general law."[3]

The REVT assumes that cognitions are an important cause of emotional disturbances. In particular, persistent and undesirable emotional states are considered Ellis as attitudinal reactions. By changing dysfunctional attitudes, mental disorders can be reduced or eliminated.[4]

This hypothesis raises the fundamental question of what emotions are and how they arise. Emotions are complex patterns of change. They encompass physiological arousal, cognitive processes, and behaviors and occur in response to personally meaningful situations. The question of the cause and effect of these components has not yet been clarified. There are several important theories of emotion on this subject: The James Lang Theory states that observable emotional behavior, such as laughing or crying, takes precedence over other emotional processes. Lazarus on the other hand, it is assumed that a cognitive evaluation of the situation is carried out first, which decides whether and, if so, which emotion we feel. In the two-factor analysis of Schachter and Singer It is assumed that emotion arises when we feel a physiological arousal and that it is interpreted by us depending on the social situation. In the opinion of Zajonc Affective preferences and feelings precede cognitive evaluation and even recognition of the cue.[5]

The ABC model of Ellis is most likely based on the approach of Lazarus. With A (= activating event) the triggering event of a problem is meant, with B (= believes) thoughts and evaluations and with C (= consequences) feelings and behavior. The normal order of A, B and C is that of Lazarus similar. With the addition that Ellis the relationship between A, B and C is seen as interactive, i.e. the components influence each other.[6]Ellis refers in his approach to the philosophy of Epicete: "It is not the things in themselves that worry us, but our view of things."[7] This means that it is not the triggering event that causes emotional difficulties, but the cognitive evaluation of the situation.

Since the REVT regards irrational attitudes as the main cause of psychological problems, the question arises as to how attitudes can be checked for truthfulness at all. The REVT proceeds here according to the epistemology, or according to the theory of knowledge. There is no method of being able to say with certainty whether an assessment of a complex situation is true or false. Because of this, just like scientific research, REVT argues with probabilities. The correctness of an evaluation is checked empirically. The client is asked to think like a scientist. One of the most important questions in therapy is: "Where is the evidence that what you think is true?"[8]

2 Irrational and Rational Beliefs in REVT

2.1 The concept of irrational beliefs

The term irrational literally means irrational, or that something cannot be grasped with the mind and it is inaccessible to logical thinking.[9]

Ellis does not use the terms rational and irrational as unchangeable categories, but considers thoughts as irrational, which are ineffective because they run counter to man's own goals and values. Unrealistic or illogical attitudes are not inherently irrational. Many people get through life well despite these cognitions. Is crucial for Ellisthat irrational thoughts are significantly more often dysfunctional than rational attitudes and thus more often cause emotional disturbances.[10]

The terms dysfunctional and irrational are used synonymously in REVT. In my opinion, the term dysfunctional is more appropriate, since irrational cognitions do not necessarily lead to psychological problems, and only the thoughts that cause disorders are relevant for therapy.

Irrational beliefs have two main characteristics. They contain absolute, dogmatic, rigid and often hidden demands, which are usually expressed in words like "must" and "should", e.g. "I must always be successful." The second important property of irrational beliefs is that they are too unrealistic and Strongly generalizing conclusions and causal attributions lead: "It is terrible when I fail.", "I am a worthless person if I do not succeed.", "Since I have failed now, I will always fail in the future."[11]

2.2 Definition of the term rational beliefs

The word rational is the opposite of irrational and therefore means reasonable or in accordance with reason.[12] Rational beliefs in REVT can be characterized as follows: A rational attitude largely corresponds to reality in type and extent. It can be supported by evidence and it is logical in itself. A rational belief cannot be absolute. Instead, it has a conditional and relative character. Usually a rational attitude includes a desire, a longing, a hope, or a preference. So it reflects a wishing, rather than a demanding, basic attitude. As a consequence, rational attitudes create moderate feelings or feelings appropriate to the situation and they are helpful in achieving personal goals.[13] Examples of rational beliefs are: “I will do the job as well as I can”, “I want to be professionally successful” or “It's a shame if I don't get the job”.

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[1] cf. Ellis, Albert: The revised ABC theory of rational-emotional therapy, http://www.uni-koeln.de/phil-fak/paedsem/psych/medien/paedpsy/stress/Unter-htmls/ellistext.htm

[2] see Walen, S.R., Di Giuseppe, R., Wessler R.L .: RET-Training, Introduction to the Practice of Rational-Emotive Therapy, Munich 1982, pp. 24-25

[3] quoted by Kant, Immanuel: Basis for Metaphysics of Morals, Stuttgart 1961, 1984, p. 68

[4] see Ellis, Albert: Basics and Methods of Rational-Emotive Behavior Therapy, Munich 1997, pp. 76-83

[5] see Zimbardo, P.G .: Psychologie, Berlin, Heidelberg, New York, Barcelona, ​​Budapest, Hong Kong, London, Milan, Paris, Tokyo 1995, pp. 457-458

[6] see Reinkenhoff, H.G .: Kognitive Behavior Therapy, http://home.t-online.de/home/HGReinkenhoff/kvt.htm

[7] quoted Epiket in Ellis, Albert: The Rational-Emotive Behavior Therapy, http://www.scopeonline.de/ret.htm

[8] See Walen, S.R., Di Giuseppe, R., Wessler R.L .: RET-Training, Introduction to the Practice of Rational-Emotive Therapy, Munich 1982, pp. 22-23

[9] see Drosdowski, Prof. Dr. G., Müller, Dr. W., Scholze-Stubenrecht, Dr. W. and Wermke, Dr. M. (Ed.): Duden Foreign Dictionary, Mannheim 1990, p. 365

[10] see Ellis, Albert: Basics and Methods of Rational-Emotive Behavior Therapy, Munich 1997, pp. 247-248

[11] see Ellis, Albert: Basics and Methods of Rational-Emotive Behavior Therapy, Munich 1997, pp. 103-104

[12] see Drosdowski, Prof. Dr. G., Müller, Dr. W., Scholze-Stubenrecht, Dr. W. and Wermke, Dr. M. (Ed.): Duden Foreign Dictionary, Mannheim 1990, p. 662

[13] See Walen, S.R., Di Giuseppe, R., Wessler R.L .: RET-Training, Introduction to the Practice of Rational-Emotive Therapy, Munich 1982, pp. 87-88

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