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RATIONAL AND IRRATIONAL BELIEFS

Updated: Oct 3, 2023

Do you know to recognize them? What irrational beliefs do you hold about yourself or others?




Rational and irrational beliefs are key constructs in the field of clinical psychology and psychotherapy, being the central tenet of Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT).

Particularly, when facing a negative event, rational beliefs are considered to trigger functional emotions (e.g., sadness, concern), while irrational beliefs are generative mechanisms of dysfunctional emotions representing (sub)clinical problems (e.g., depression, anxiety).


Rational or irrational beliefs are not only our thoughts, but they are also far more than that. They are negative sets of negative thoughts, habitual responses we hold to when faced with stressful events or situations, that no longer work to keep distress at bay. These are scripts we have in our heads about how we believe life “should” be for us and others. Something we strongly believe in and live our life according to those principles.


These are ideas, feelings, beliefs, ways of thinking, attitudes, opinions, biases, prejudices, or values with which we were raised. We have become accustomed to using them when faced with problems in our current life, even when they are not productive in helping us reach a positive, growth-enhancing solution. Pessimistic ways of looking at necessary life experiences such as loss, conflict, risk-taking, rejection, or accepting change. Irrational beliefs are also lifelong messages sent to us either formally or informally by: society, culture, community, race, ethnic reference group, neighborhood, church, social networks, family, relatives, peer group, school, work, or parents. Any outmoded, unproductive, unrealistic expectations exacted on ourselves and/or others, are guaranteed to be unattainable and to result in continuing negative self-concepts.


Examples of Irrational Beliefs About Yourself

I must be loved by everyone or I am not lovable

I must do everything well or I am not competent.

I must condemn others if they don’t treat me well.

I must damn life if things don’t go my way

I have no control over my feelings and behaviors; my emotions are controlled by the people and events around me

Because something is fearful or risky, I must be constantly concerned about it.

I must avoid responsibility and difficulty in order to be comfortable and content; I can achieve happiness through passive inaction.

I must depend on others because I cannot run my life alone

I am controlled by my past; anything that once affected me must continue to affect me.

I must be affected by other people’s problems

There’s a right way to do things; if things aren’t done correctly, I must suffer


Irrational beliefs about others

No one cares about anyone else.

All men (or women) are dishonest and are never to be trusted.

Successful relationships are impossible; you have no control over how they turn out.

People are out to get whatever they can from you; you always end up being used.

People are so opinionated; they are never willing to listen to others’ points of view.

You are bound to get hurt in a relationship; it makes no difference how you try to change it.

Man will always cheat.

There is a loser in every fight, so avoid fights at all costs.

It’s not who you are but what you do that makes you attractive to another person.

What counts in life is others’ opinions of you.

There is a need to be on guard in dealing with others to ensure that you don’t get hurt.

Men never cry.


How can RTT® help with disarming irrational beliefs?

During the therapy process, using hypnosis we get to the root cause of your beliefs, we find out where they came from, what made you conclude about yourself, the world around you, what is the interpretation that you’ve attached to the past events that have created the irrational beliefs. How they play out subconsciously in real-life situations.


The clients get to understand how these beliefs self-sabotage them and how harmful it is for them. During this process, they also realize that there isn’t any evidence in reality to support this way of thinking. So when a client realizes that their beliefs are harmful, illogical, and have no confirmation, in reality, they question the old beliefs, they can’t influence their real life in the same manner as before.


Only when this happens, we are ready for the transformation.

This realization and release is a huge relief and freedom for the clients, they often describe it as if they’ve gotten rid of tons of baggage they’ve been carrying all their life. However, this alone is not enough. During the post-therapy process, we continue to strengthen everything we have learned in the RTT ® session. We are changing the interpretation that has contributed to forming irrational beliefs about ourselves and the world around us, then by practically applying everything we’ve learned in the RTT ® session, we are challenging irrational beliefs in real-life situations in which the client had some dysfunctional feelings and/or behaviors. I use the principles of neuroplasticity to teach the mind how to replace old ways of thinking and behaving and replace them with rational, beneficial, and more realistic beliefs.




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