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  • Nigel A Franks

The Four Thoughts That F*ck You Up' by Daniel Fryer

You will likely be aware that Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy (REBT - Albert Ellis) is close kin to Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and that both methods have been evidence based for a long time now. REBT is the authors preferred version of Behaviour Therapy and he explains its methods and how you can employ them to deal with the typical problematic thinking behind many presenting problems. The basic idea of REBT is to be vigilant to thoughts that regularly arise, actively question them for validity and to replace automatic or unconsciously values with reasoned and more affirmative ones. This is the A-B-C-D-E therapeutic method; where A - is the activating 'event', B - is the belief about this event, C - is the consequences of this belief, D - is where this belief is disputed and E - is where a more effective belief replaces the irrational one.

The author elucidates four mental routines that cause the majority of behaviour problems and then four thought strategies that can be used to counteract them. The book is intended as a self-help manual where mild to moderate problems can be treated at home, in ones own time. In this case the claim is that six sessions over six weeks can ameliorate a problem or change a particular unwanted behaviour. Naturally, any astute therapist can adapt these ideas for their patients too, as useful arrows in one therapeutic arsenal. It's in the third part of the book where we find a map to the road of recovery and a plan for each of the six steps in the journey.

I like the humour in this book, I think levity is useful in the learning process and often in the healing process too. Anecdotes are plentiful and help us to recognise the experience of others in ourselves. It's very useful to have the language choices we make catagorised as pointers to foundation causes, which itself can then help us to solutions.

I've only had the book for a couple of weeks and so haven't had time to work through one of the six week plans but I've no doubt that the material is sound and will do the required job when followed. The tenets of REBT are well explained and the authors' understanding and experience in using them is quite obvious. For some reason CBT is in the ascendance but REBT is equally viable, so even if you are familiar with CBT this book can add to your knowledge in a pragmatic way.

Perhaps a small thing these days, as its use seems ever to increase in popularity but the F-word is used frequently in the text (not just in the title), so if you are offended by this you should perhaps avoid it... or spend some time using the book to work through the issue ;)

I include the contents here as this shows what you can expect from the book. After the Introduction the book is mainly divided into three parts:

Part One: The Four Thoughts That F*ck You Up - Dogmatic Demands - Doing a Drama - The I Can't Copes - Perjorative Put-Downs.

Part Two: The Four Thoughts That Will Fix Them - Flexible Preferences - Possessing Perspective - The I Can Copes - Unconditional Acceptance

Part Three: Rewire How You think in Just Six Weeks With rational Emotive behaviour Therapy - Week One: REBT: A Cunning Plan. Week two: How to Pick and Pick Apart a Problem. Week Three: Questioning the Validity of Your Thoughts. Week Four: What You say is What You Get Week Five: Repeat, Repeat, Repeat Week Six: Putting the Fun into Dysfunctional

Plus: What Now? - Frequently Asked Questions - In Conclusion - Acknowledgements - Resources - Index.

Here is a link to download the excercise forms mentioned in the text, which are useful if you don't want to write in the book itself, or perhaps have purchased the audiobook version. https://www.danielfryer.com/downloads/

Paperback: 336 pages Publisher: Penguin Vermilion

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