Mistakes are often an inevitable part of training; Learning from Mistakes in Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy encourages the trainee to pinpoint potential errors at the earliest possible stage in training, helping them to make fast progress towards becoming competent REBT practitioners.
Windy Dryden and Michael Neenan have compiled 111 of the most common errors, explaining what has gone wrong and how to put it right, and have divided them into eight accessible parts:
- general mistakes
- assessment mistakes
- goal-setting mistakes
- disputing mistakes
- homework mistakes
- mistakes in dealing with client doubts and misconceptions
- working through mistakes
Learning from Mistakes in Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy is an indispensable guide for anyone embarking on a career in the REBT field.
Preface. Part I: General Mistakes. Exploring For Too Long Your Clients' Expectations of REBT And Their Previous Experiences Of Therapy. Developing the Therapeutic Relationship First. Not Setting Or Keeping To A Therapeutic Agenda. Not Being Active and Directive. Not Wanting To Intervene In Your Clients' Problems Without Knowing the `Big Picture' First. Believing You Need to Understand the Past Before You Can Deal With the Present. Wanting To Give Your Clients Opportunities to Express Themselves in Their Own Way Instead Of Through the REBT Model. Listening Passively. Not Ensuring That Your Clients Have Answered the Questions You Have Asked. Not Interrupting Rambling or Verbose Clients. Being Verbose Yourself. Failing to Obtain Feedback. Avoiding Confrontation. Not Working Collaboratively. Not Adopting a Problem-orientated Focus. Failing to Keep Your Clients on Track. Not Checking Your Clients' Understanding of REBT Terminology. Not Developing a Shared Vocabulary. Trying to Teach "B"-"C" Thinking While Struggling Unsuccessfully to Abandon "A"-"C" Language. Not Socializing Clients into REBT in the First or Early Sessions of Therapy. Not Teaching the "ABC" Model in a Clear Way. Being Didactic with Clients Who Would Profit More From Socratic Dialogue and Vice Versa. Being Insufficiently Repetitive in Teaching REBT Concepts. Not Explaining the Purpose of an Intervention. Part II: Assessment Mistakes. Allowing Your Clients to Provide too Much Detail About the Activating Event. Accepting Your Clients' Vagueness in Describing "A". Allowing Your Clients to Talk Compulsively About their Feelings. Not Obtaining a Problem List. Not Asking For a Specific Example of the Target Problem. Readily Assuming That an Irrational Belief is Your Clients' Problem. Failing to Intervene to Make Imprecise Emotional "C"s Precise. Not Explaining Why Disturbed Feelings are Unhealthy/Unhelpful and Why Non-disturbed Feelings are Healthy/Helpful. Pressurizing Your Clients to be Exact About Their Feelings. Treating Frustration as a "C" Instead of an "A". Generalizing From an Emotional "C" When You Need to be Specific, and Being Specific when it is Important to Generalize. Focusing on a Behavioural "C" Instead of Using it to Find an Emotional "C". Becoming Obsessive in Searching for the Critical "A". Challenging Inferences Instead of Waiting to Dispute Uncovered Irrational Beliefs. Pursuing Theoretical Inferences Instead of Clinically Significant Ones. Not Realizing that Your Clients' Target Emotion Has Changed. Not Noticing that Your Client Has Provided You with a "C" Instead of an Inference. Not Clarifying the "It". Using Theory-driven Questions in Assessing Irrational Beliefs When Open-ended Questions Would Be More Productive and Vice Versa. Assuming That Your Clients Hold all Four Irrational Beliefs. Not Distinguishing Between Absolute and Preferential Shoulds. Constructing a General Version of Your Clients' Situation-specific Irrational Belief Without Any Evidence for it. Not Expressing Self-depreciation in Your Clients' Words. Not Clearly Determining Whether Ego or Discomfort Disturbance is the Primary Problem. Not Looking For a Meta-emotional Problem. Assuming That the Meta-emotional Problem is Always Present. Always Working on a Meta-emotional Problem First. Part III: Goal-setting Mistakes. Not Seeing the Relevance of Two Goal-setting Stages. Only Focusing on Your Clients' Long-Term Goals, Instead of Achieving a Balance Between Short- and Long-term Goals. Setting a Goal That Would Help to Perpetuate Your Clients' Irrational Beliefs. Agreeing on Goals that are Outside of Your Clients' Control. Not Stating Your Clients' Goals in Positive Terms. Focusing on Process Goals Instead of Outcome Goals. Focusing on Practical Goals and Neglecting Emotional Goals. Helping Your Clients to Seek Only Intellectual Insight into their Problems. Helping Your Clients to Feel Neutral about Negative Events. Implying a Cure can be Attained Rather than Focusing on Improved Problem Management. Agreeing with Your Clients' Goals that are Unrealistically Ambitious or Unrealistically Unambitious. Not Eliciting From Your Clients a Commitment to Change. Part IV: Disputing Mistakes. Not Preparing Your Clients for Disputing. Disputing in a Mechanical Manner. Only Disputing either the Premise or the Derivative Belief. Using Didactic Disputing When Socratic Disputing would be More Productive and Vice Versa. Not Focusing on the Type of Argument that is More Helpful to Your Client than the Other Types. Not Helping Your Clients to Construct a Flexible Belief to Negate Their Rigid Belief. Not Helping Your Clients to Construct a Non-awfulising Belief to Negate Their Awfulising Belief. Not Helping Your Clients to Construct a Discomfort Tolerance Belief to Negate Their Discomfort Intolerance Belief. Not Helping Your Clients to Construct an Unconditional Acceptance Belief to Negate Their Depreciation Belief. Not Helping Your Clients to Put a Rational Belief into Their Own Words. Not Disputing the Rational Belief in the Same Way as the Irrational Belief. Not Having Order in Disputing. Arguing Instead of Disputing. Disputing Inferences While Thinking You are Disputing Beliefs. Misusing Vivid Disputing Methods. Part V: Homework Mistakes. Not Setting or Reviewing Homework Assignments. Not Making the Homework Task Therapeutically Potent. Not Negotiating a Homework Task That is Relevant to the Work Done in the Session. Not Taking Your Clients through the Specifics of Homework Setting. Not Encouraging Your Clients to Use Force and Energy in Executing Their Homework Assignments. Not Using Multimodal Methods of Change. Not Checking Whether Your Clients Have the Skills to Execute the Homework Task. Accepting "Trying" Instead of Focusing On "Doing". Rushing Homework Negotiation . Not Capitalizing on Successful Homework Completion. Part VI: Mistakes in Dealing with Your Clients’ Doubts, Reservations and Misconceptions about REBT. Not Eliciting and Responding to Your Clients' Doubts about or Objections to REBT. Not Dealing With Your Clients’ Doubts about Giving Up an Irrational Belief. Not Dealing With Your Clients’ Doubts about Developing a Rational Belief. Not Dealing With Your Clients' Doubts about Giving Up Rigid Beliefs and Acquiring Flexible Beliefs. Not Dealing With Your Clients' Doubts about Giving Up Awfulising Beliefs and Acquiring Non-awfulising Beliefs. Not Dealing With Your Clients' Doubts about Giving Up Discomfort Intolerance Beliefs and Acquiring Discomfort Tolerance Beliefs. Not Dealing With Your Clients' Doubts about Giving Up Depreciation Beliefs and Acquiring Unconditional Acceptance Beliefs. Not Exploring and Dealing With Your Clients’ Doubts about Giving Up Their Unhealthy Negative Emotions and Experiencing Healthy Negative Emotions. Part VII: Working-through Mistakes. Not Helping Your Clients to Become Self-therapists in the Working-through Phase of REBT. Not Discussing With Your Clients that Change is Non-linear. Not Explaining to Your Clients Cognitive-emotive Dissonance Reactions to the Change Process. Not Discussing With Your Clients Philosophical Vs. Non-philosophical Change. Accepting Your Clients' Pseudo-rationality as a Genuinely Rational Outlook. Not Helping Your Clients to Generalize their Learning to Other Problematic Situations in Their Lives. Not Helping Your Clients to Look for Core Irrational Beliefs. Not Helping Your Clients to Understand How They Perpetuate Their Core Irrational Beliefs. Neglecting the Importance of Teaching Relapse Prevention. Not Encouraging Self-Actualization When Your Clients Indicates it as a Goal. Sacredizing Endings. Part VIII: Self-maintenance Mistakes. Not Looking after Yourself. Disturbing Yourself about Your Clients' Disturbances. Sacredizing REBT. Not Practising What You Preach. Epilogue