The first of Dr. Phil’s 7 Keys to Weight Loss Freedom is “right thinking”. The Ultimate Weight Loss Race’s head trainer Robert Reames gives his “no excuses weight loss tip” to make your workout a priority that you schedule and block time for like an appointment with a doctor or a client. Dr. Phil’s explanation of the first key sounds a lot like REBT, or Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy, developed by Dr. Albert Ellis.
REBT can be a very user-friendly therapy technique that teaches you to be aware of your thoughts and empowers you to be in control of your emotions. A main principle of REBT is that your reaction to any situation is based more on your evaluation of the situation than the facts of the situation. Consider an airplane full of people who are told to line up, grab a parachute, and jump out of the plane. Person A is scared, but person B is thrilled. Person A is considering all the dangers, while person B is thinking this is the opportunity of a lifetime. The situation is the same, but the emotional reaction differs because they are thinking different things. Right up Dr. Phil’s alley, REBT puts the responsibility on your shoulders, reminding you that your thoughts and feelings are uniquely your own and, this is the part some don’t want to hear, under your control.
Making REBT work for you can be as easy as learning the ABCs.
A – the Activating Event, the facts of the situation to which any observer would agree.
B – your Beliefs, your evaluation of the situation, your thoughts. What exactly are you telling yourself?
C – the Consequence of your beliefs is your emotional experience.
D – to alter your emotional experience, evaluate and Dispute your Beliefs. Find a more helpful truth. Helpful can be more important than accurate at times.
So basically, A) something happens, B) you have a thought about that something, C) your feelings result from your thought. If you don’t like how you’re feeling, you can D) make a change to your thinking, and E) experience a new emotion.
Although the set up is in ABC format, it can take a lot of practice to make REBT work. Making a change to thought patterns requires awareness and determination. There are some common Thinking Errors that can trip us up, which I will discuss in more depth sometime soon.