Friday, 10 February 2012

Musting Oughting and Shoulding

‘Musturbation’ is a term coined by Dr Albert Ellis to describe absolutist, black and white thinking/believing. Musturbatory thinking according to Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy theory is the kind of thinking that gives rise to extreme frustration anger and depression. This kind of thinking drives the unhealthy choices we are teaching our students about. The following habits of thinking are musturbatory:


• I absolutely must get what I want (or not get what I don’t want)

• Significant others must treat me well and do my bidding

• Life should be easy

If these absolutist demands are not being met then:

• Life is so awful and I can’t stand it! It sucks!

• People who behave shitily are shits!

• When I behave shitily I am a shit!

Musturbators will blame others and events for how they feel e.g. I only got an A- (perfectionistic leanings – I must be perfect), maths makes me angry (life must be easy), she didn’t let me join and she’s/life’s a shit (people/life must treat me fairly)

Karen Horney said:

‘Try to eliminate the word ‘should’ from your vocabulary …but try doing so without replacing ‘should’ with ‘ought’ or ‘you’d better’.

When people tell me I should, ought or must do something I am inclined not to want to do it. If an e mail uses language like should, ought or must I am inclined to ignore it or to bin it.

Our musturbating students don’t know they are doing this and Rational Emotive Behaviour Education is about teaching and modelling behaviour that reflects healthy habits of thinking (philosophies).

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