To understand Imperative Thinking we can turn to Albert Ellis, founder of REBT, who emphasised that ‘demands’ lie at the very heart of emotional problems.
The thoughts and beliefs that contain words such as ‘must’, ‘need’, ‘should, ‘ought-to’ and ‘got-to’ can be problematic as they are rigid and inflexible leading to poor adaptation to reality.
Aaron Beck, founder of Cognitive Therapy, described this ‘imperative’ use of language as MUSTerbation!
The use of these imperative thinking styles can lead directly to unhelpful perceptions, for example:
- You believe that you must have the approval of your friends and work colleagues so your social behaviours become focused on doing what ever it is that gets approval, even if this is at your own personal expense.
- You believe that as YOU try so very hard to be kind and considerate to other people that others really ought to treat you the same. Unfortunately as people tend to develop their own rules and regulations for how this lead their own lives, this can lead you to have very unrealistic expectations and feel hurt or let-down when others don’t behave the way YOU do.
- You believe that you should never let other people down and as a result tend to put your own needs last and other people needs first. This often leads to stress and anxiety when people don’t put YOU first.
Challenge Imperative Thinking
These inflexible rules and demands would be better replaced with more flexible thinking styles such as:
Pay attention to language
Try to replace words like ‘must’, ‘need’ and ‘should’ with words like ‘prefer’, ‘want’ and ‘could’.
Reduce approval seeking
Could your life be worthwhile even if you don’t get the approval of everybody that you seek it from? If you try to think of your need for approval rather more like a preference for approval then you are likely to feel much less stressed when it is not given.
Recognise that people have different rules for life
Your rules are unique to you, and no matter how much you believe that they are ‘universally true’, if you allow other people the right to have and use their own rules, then you can feel less ‘let down’ when they fail to meet your ‘standards’.
Focus on what you would LIKE not what you think you NEED
If you think about the things that you would actually like to have in your life, or how you would like life to ‘be’ then you will be able to develop much more meaningful strategies that could help you achieve these aims rather then become depressed about how you think it should be.
Furthermore, people who WANT to achieve something are significantly more motivated than those people who think that they NEED to achieve something!
Transform Your Thinking & Overcome Imperative Thinking
If you’re committed to overcoming your Imperative Thinking problems then we highly recommend following our Advanced Tranceformental CBT programme with Paul. Tranceformental CBT is available as Online Therapy if required.
The Tranceformental programme is a highly successful & pragmatic mental health counselling course, run over 10 sessions, that will teach you everything you need to know to understand your problem, identify how unhelpful thinking and limiting beliefs might be reinforcing the issue, and then show you how to make any changes to your Imperative Thinking or maladaptive safety behaviours that you may have developed as part of your coping strategies.
Our Tranceformental CBT programme is an evidence-based, research supported approach used by mental health practitioners around the World.
Alternative Therapy Options for Imperative Thinking
Although our preferred form of mental health counselling for Imperative Thinking is Tranceformental CBT we also offer alternative psychotherapies for those who might prefer a different approach.
- Psychodynamic therapy which focuses more on emotional problems and relies on the Therapeutic Relationship to bring about change. Available with Paul.
- General Counselling which is less structured but still provides a safe and non-judgmental environment to discuss issues which is therapeutic in its own right.
- Hypnotherapy is an alternative form of therapy that can be applied to a very wide range of problems and is available with Joan.
Free Initial Consultations for Imperative Thinking
We offer all prospective clients an initial consultation to discuss your Imperative Thinking prior to commencing any treatment plans.
The consultation is free and lasts around 50 minutes.
During this consultation we will discuss the various options that are available to you and make a considered recommendation based on your individual personal circumstances.
Initial consultations are also available as part of our online therapy service.
At TranceForm Psychology we recognise the importance of the therapeutic relationship in helping people to bring about effective change, so its important to be able to ‘meet’ to discuss our change programmes BEFORE proceeding.
Our policy is to help people make a fully balanced & considered decision about undertaking work with us, including both the financial and personal implications.
Overcome Your Mental Health difficulties with Our Online CBT Programme - From Only £299!
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy is clinically proven to be effective for a range of mental health problems and can be carried out in the comfort of your own home.
Structured over TEN, in-depth modules, our advanced CBT course will teach you everything you need to know to change the way you think about and experience your problems without having to spend a fortune.
The course is available with 2, 5 or 10 sessions of clinical support in-clinic or using Zoom.
Click Tranceformental CBT to find out more.
Also available as a self-directed course without any clinical support for just £149.