Tag Archives: Philip Tate

3 Ways to Dispute Irrational Beliefs

Posted on November 4, 2014

Are You a Loser?

QuestionPeople observe their behavior, and evaluate it in terms of how well they like it. If we did not do this, we would have no way of improving how we act.  When people seek help in therapy, in self-help groups, or by reading self-help books, they are not merely observing and thinking of their behaviors and deciding how to make adjustments. Typically, their thinking interferes with their ability to adjust and often they’re mainly aware of their misery.

REBT attempts to show you that (1) events do not automatically create your thoughts, (2) events do not cause your emotions, and (3) by changing your thinking, you will see things differently, and then your thoughts and emotions will aid you instead of interfering with your actions.

Let’s say you failed at something important to you. Compare the following two sets of thoughts regarding how they make you feel, how truthful they are, and how well they help you adjust.

1. I failed and that’s bad. Maybe I didn’t pay close enough attention to what was going on to prevent my failure. I regret that.

2. I should not have failed. It’s awful to fail as I did. Because I did fail, I’m a loser; I can’t stand myself.

Continue reading

Who’s Making You So Mad?

Posted on March 19, 2013

Discover the “Irrational” Beliefs That Are Creating Your Anger
by Philip Tate, Ph.D.

AngerPeople often think that the actions of other people create their anger. “They make me so angry!” is a common statement. If that were the case, there would be little you could do about your anger (except to stay away from most people!) Fortunately, others don’t create your anger. In REBT (Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy) we teach that your own thinking corresponds with your anger, more than the actions of others.

To discover your thinking that is creating your anger, REBT suggests that you look for the event about which you are angry and then look for your belief about that event. Think, “What happened that I’m angry about?” E.g., someone cut you off in traffic, someone failed to follow through on an agreement, or someone treated you with disrespect. Next, ask yourself, “What am I telling myself about (name the event) that gets me to feel angry?”

When asked what they are telling themselves about the event, many people will answer, “Why’d they do that?” with an intense and frustrated tone of voice. That response, however, is a question, and questions do not create anger. You’re probably telling yourself “I don’t like their behavior. They’re mistaken for acting that way.” But, that too doesn’t get you bent out of shape with anger. That just gets you annoyed or disappointed.

So, What’s Really Getting You Upset? Continue reading

Thinking About Thinking

Posted on January 1, 2013

Meditation on Thinking
~ by Philip Tate, Ph.D.

Thinking About ThinkingOur society teaches us little about the importance of our mental activity. Regarding our physical health, we learn about medical care, diet, and exercise. Yet on a day-to-day basis, our view of life is equally important in how well we live it.

Most people don’t acknowledge that their way of thinking about frustrating events often affects them more than the events themselves do. People with “road rage,” for example, sometimes stay angry for a long time. Some find it necessary to pull off the road for a while to cool down. Yet they are not aware that it is their beliefs that create their rage (not other drivers).

What if that person had a medical problem or vitamin deficiency that contributed to such behavior? Wouldn’t you recommend he or she do something about it? Continue reading

Getting From “I Can’t” to “I CAN!”

Posted on November 13, 2012

The Importance of Beliefs in Addiction Recovery
Dr. Philip Tate, author of Alcohol: How to Give It Up and Be Glad You Did


I CAN“I can’t” may be the most debilitating belief you’re likely to have. Not the “I can’t” as in “I can’t jump to the moon,” but as in “I can’t succeed at doing what I want to do” or “I want to quit drinking, but I just can’t.”

The first is true because of physical reality. The others, though, usually aren’t.

What can lead you believe that you can’t? Look for beliefs such as, “I’m no good”, or “Because I have failed, I am a failure“. With these beliefs you can easily go on to think: “There is something especially wrong with me that makes it impossible for me to do what I want to do.” This goes beyond an accurate description of reality. This sort of unhelpful, unrealistic description is known as an irrational belief.

Eliminating this irrational belief is wise, for it clearly keeps you from achieving your goals and easily creates depression and contributes to your low sense of self-worth. In Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT), we teach you to challenge your irrational beliefs, including the belief that you can’t. Continue reading

The Flip Side of Fallibility

Posted on September 25, 2012

The Importance of Self Acceptance in Addiction Recovery
Dr. Philip Tate, author of Alcohol: How to Give It Up and Be Glad You Did


FallibleAn important aspect of accepting yourself is to accept that you are fallible. An outcome of your fallible nature is that you may want something, you may try to get it, and you may come up short. More specifically, you want happiness and you try to gain it by drinking. In the long run, you gain some things you didn’t intend, such as depression, getting arrested, having your marriage(s) break up, or some other unwanted consequence. Another example is that you may believe you have the knowledge and the power to quit. Then you try, and you fail.

Part of our fallible nature is emotional. As an example, you may feel very good about drinking when thinking this is wonderful, self-enhancing, and a great way to escape your problems. On the negative side, you may be unable to feel pleasure when you think of a positive event such as a gain from quitting. This may include keeping your marriage or job or living longer. You may think of these and gain little pleasure at the thought. Depression can be one cause of this.

Another part of our fallible nature is our crooked thinking. Continue reading

Tools for Self-Help

Posted on August 14, 2012

Do you talk about your problems but fail to change?

Change Takes WorkYou may hear us say that in order to get better you’d better do the ABCs and Dispute your irrational Beliefs. But, you don’t. Instead, you talk about your problems, or just listen to others, and fail to change. That’s because little change occurs through “getting it out” and gaining in awareness. Most gain occurs through work.

Consider this. What would you think of a lady who wants to increase her athletic abilities, and she reads books about it, talks things over with a personal trainer, and then does nothing with what she’s learned? Would that work? You know it wouldn’t. Then, let’s think further. Why do you hesitate to do the ABCs and Dispute your irrational thinking? Continue reading