Ellis, in his Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT) identified eleven
dysfunctional beliefs that people often hold.
is a dire necessity for adult humans to be loved or approved by
virtually every significant other person in their community.
absolutely must be competent, adequate, and achieving in all
important respects or else one is an inadequate, worthless person.
absolutely must act considerately and fairly and they are damnable
villains if they do not. They are their bad acts.
is awful and terrible when things are not the way one would very
much like them to be.
disturbance is mainly externally caused and people have little or no
ability to increase or decrease their dysfunctional feelings and
something is or may be dangerous or fearsome, then one should be
constantly and excessively concerned about it and should keep
dwelling on the possibility of it occurring.
cannot and must not face life's responsibilities and difficulties and it is
easier to avoid them.
must be quite dependent on others and need them and you cannot
mainly run one's own life.
past history is an all-important determiner of one's present
behavior and because something once strongly affected one's life, it
should indefinitely have a similar effect.
Other people's disturbances are horrible and one must feel upset about them.
There is invariably a right, precise and perfect solution to human problems and
it is awful if this perfect solution is not found.
belief are deliberately extreme, to highlight that we often take unreasonably
exaggerated viewpoints. He called this approach "awfulizing", as we
tend to pessimistically generalize these things.
way this can happen is that if we have a strong need for certainty, we will tend
to push perceptions that actually should be considered along a variable spectrum
towards the extremes. Thus, we create stereotypes of ourselves.
what? So if you want to help the other person adopt more functional beliefs,
help them first realize how extreme and irrational their generalized beliefs
are. Then discuss with them how more rational and useful beliefs can be found.
also: Ellis, A. (1994). Reason and Emotion in Psychotherapy, NY: Birch Lane