Therapy Everyday – Disputing Irrational Beliefs (DIBS) Tool

Therapy Everyday

I had hoped to have completed my post earlier today and even scheduled some time in around 2pm to complete but something came up in work meaning I missed my opportunity, so once again it’s later in the evening before sitting down and thinking about tools I used today. A couple of things really stand out, which I am hoping indicates that I am getting into the swing of things and utilising the tools more regularly, of course there a range of other possibilities, one of them being that today offered some unique opportunities to use tools.

Part of my job involves overseeing a peer support programme where our peer volunteers offer support to others affected by substance misuse. As one of the peer supporters was on holiday today, I stepped in to cover and spent the morning at Stirling Community Hospital meeting some great people who live in Forth Valley and are at different stages of their recovery journeys. This afternoon I facilitated a SMART Recovery meeting, a meeting in which we use REBT and CBT tools to aid in our recovery. My work day began at 9am, and finished at 6:45pm, a long day, but shorter than the day before with began at 7:30am and finishing at 9:45pm. Although these kinds of hours are unusual, as my wife will testify, they are not that unusual, it may prove useful for me to look in detail at why I keep these hours in a future post, but for now I have options for today to look at:

  • There was a point this evening, before driving home, when I realised I was tired and very hungry. The thought crossed my mind that I could text my wife and order a pizza tonight.
  • During the SMART meeting one of the attendees had spoken about ‘need’ as in “I need to make a change”. This was something I could identify with as I immediately thought about the reasons why I am going through my change plan. In terms of my process, I have heard my saying to myself “I need to complete my diary today”.

Disputing Irrational Beliefs (DIBS)


The technique is very simple; it is a shortened version of a tool known as ABC (which is bound to come up again in future) as it only looks at an irrational belief and how a person goes about disputing the belief to come up with a more rational belief. Using the two examples above I can illustrate how to use the DIBS tool.

Belief                                                            Dispute Belief                              New Rational Belief

 “I am really tired and hungry, I need a pizza”





“I need to complete my diary and update my blog today.”



“If I don’t update my blog l will have failed again….”



Do I need a pizza?






Do I need to complete my diary?




If I don’t update my blog, does that mean I have failed?

Although I would like a pizza, I don’t need one. If I have a pizza tonight I will be over eating as I have already eaten plenty of food today.



I don’t need to complete my diary, however if I do complete my diary I will a sense of accomplishment.


Although I may be disappointed with myself if I don’t complete my blog, it doesn’t mean I have failed, all it means is I haven’t completed my blog. Maybe I need to look at the practicalities of meeting the parameters I set for myself.





For more info regarding Albert Ellis and REBT, please have a look at the Albert Ellis Institute website.


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