My therapy patients and coaching clients generally tend to want to improve at least one key relationship in their lives. Here are some questions that tend to come up & their answers.
==> What Irrational Beliefs tend to get people into trouble in their relationships with others?
Look for these in yourself & the other:
Demands, such as “Should, ought tos, have tos, musts”
Low Frustration Tolerance, such as “I can’t stand it”
Labeling, such as “lazy,” “dumb,” and worse
Jumping To Conclusions, such as Fortune Telling/Mind Reading
Overgeneralizing words such as “Always” or “Never”
Awfulizing words such as “Terrible” “Horrible”
==> How can I address my IB's?
Use disputation questions
Use the table that I developed on addressing cognitive distortions, which is posted on The Dallas REBT CBT Meetup website
==> How can I monitor myself?
Whenever you notice a shift in emotion, start writing it down and using the ABCDEF table
Whenever you notice a shift to a negative emotion, see if you can find the thinking error and use the table on the site to correct it
==> Do other people in my life need to monitor their IB's too?
Other people would benefit from monitoring their IB’s, but no one has to
It is easier if both people are working on this & results are more optimal if both do
Other people have a right to think irrationally
==> What are some guidelines for resolving my conflicts from a problem-solving perspective?
Set up a time that works for both of you. Make sure you’re in a calm place and that you are in a position of not “needing” the other person to act in a specific way. When you “need” it, you’ll become demanding & probably will get less of what you want. Do your own inner work before asking for what you want. Preferential language will help you. See chapter one of my book.
Speak calmly. Set up some rules before talking about the problem. Set up an exit strategy if things start to become heated.
Develop a win/win behavioral solution. Do not resort to personal attacks or rehashing past problems: One thing at a time
Speak to the individual(s) involved; avoid triangulation (complaining to others who are not able to solve the problem), which often leads to a drama triangle (victim-persecuter-rescuer).
==> What does a relatively functional adult relationship (with what Ellis would term "fallible f'd up human beings") look like?
Functional relationships are multifaceted.
Functional relationships include respect of the other person.
They also include periods of conflict and disagreement, which relate to the inevitable frustrations & stressors that appear in life.
Parties in functional relationships realize that relationships take work & don’t expect them to work by themselves. The parties are willing to endure occasional challenges and struggles in order to attain a harmonious outcome that serves the parties.
It is not always a sign of a dysfunctional relationship if there are periods of heated debate, disagreement, and sorrow.
Usually, these relationships contain fair fighting rules that are often explicit. Usually, these relationships contain times for nurturing and enjoyment of the other person & it is not all about conflict.
==> You said that it is good to remember that Ellis believed in a nonutopian view--what does this mean for relationships?--
Most people are not rational at least some of the time & they are inherently imperfect most of the time. So, it is helpful to adjust your expectations upon others and upon yourself to allow for imperfection & fallibility.
In other words, self and other acceptance will help you with the inherent challenges in the process.
==>How do I know when it is time to get help?
Only you can answer this, but often a sign of needing help is that you are stuck & unable to implement the ideas above on your own.
Dr. Pamela Garcy
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