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Disputing Thoughts and Generating New Effective Philosophies

imgresIn my previous post, I spoke about REBT and the ABCDE model. In this post I will be discussing (D) Disputing and (E) Effective New Philosophy. Some people do not like the idea of disputing. REBT advocates forceful disputation in order to make change. REBT teaches people to dispute their irrational beliefs. You can increase rational thinking by asking yourself several questions and disputing your thoughts. You need to carefully think through the answers and not parrot through the healthy answers.

D: stands for disputing irrational beliefs or challenging your irrational beliefs. It is to replace negative, unrealistic thinking with a more realistic appraisal of problems.

 E: stands for the effects of changing your perception of a situation. You begin to see the situation differently and you start taking practical approaches to solving a problem.

REBT aims to replace irrational self-talk with more realistic self talk.

According to Albert Ellis, Ph.D, who developed REBT in 1955, came up with disputing questions (listed below) to ask yourself when disputing your irrational thoughts. The following questions can help you when disputing your thoughts.

  1. What self-defeating irrational belief do I want to dispute and surrender?
  2. Can I rationally support this belief?
  3. What evidence exists of the falseness of this belief?
  4. Does any evidence exist of the truth of this belief?
  5. What are the worst things that could actually happen to me if I don’t get what I think I must (or do get what I think I must not get)?
  6. What good things could I make happen if I don’t get what I think I must (or do get what I think I must not get)?

Albert Ellis believed that disputing your irrational beliefs is one of the most effective of REBT techniques. When you dispute your irrational beliefs you can come up with an Effective New Philosophy (E) that is accurate but weak. If your new E is weak, or even moderately strong, disputing will often not work very well to help you truly disbelieve some of your irrational beliefs. Albert Ellis believed that vigorous, persistent disputing is more likely to work. You can do vigorous disputing by using a tape recorder to state one of your strong irrational beliefs, such as, “If I fail this test it that will prove that I’ll never pass the class and will never graduate!” Figure out several disputes to this irrational statement and strongly present them on the tape. For example: “Even if I do poorly on the test, will only show that I failed this time, but will not show that I’ll always fail and can never do well on other tests. It also does not mean that I will not gradate by failing one test. I can learn by my mistakes and can do better on other tests.”

You can use a tape recorder to listen to your disputes or you can write down your coping statements and read them out loud a couple of times during the day. You can also practice in front of the mirror or ask someone you trust by practicing your coping statements with them.

You want to be able to convince yourself that your statements are powerful and convincing. REBT is a widely-practiced approach and highly effective form of psychotherapy. When practiced the right way, it offers fulfillment and happiness and teaches you to have unconditional self-acceptance, unconditional other-acceptance and unconditional life acceptance.

 Images taken from and centerforconsciouslivingcom
Disputing Thoughts and Generating New Effective Philosophies

Helen Nieves

Helen Nieves is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor and Certified Attention Deficit Consultant Specialist. She teaches ADHD on line and is on the Advisory Board at The American Institute of Health Care Professionals. She also received advanced training in Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy and in Grief Counseling.

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APA Reference
Nieves, H. (2015). Disputing Thoughts and Generating New Effective Philosophies. Psych Central. Retrieved on July 2, 2020, from


Last updated: 16 Apr 2015
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