Not All Negative Emotions Are Bad: Setting Realistic Goals For Therapy

“I just want to be happy”

I don’t want to feel anxious anymore.”

“I never want to feel like this again.”

Early on in your CBT journey, your therapist will ask you what your goal is. What you want from our time together. Often clients will say they want the tools to manage their emotions better, or to become again like the person they used to feel they were. They have realistic and achievable goals.

But sometimes clients will say their goals are like the examples at the top. To never feel a certain emotion again, or to ‘just be happy’. It’s then that a good therapist will gently point out that they do not possess a magic wand, and such goals are highly likely to be unrealistic and unachievable.

It is true that Rational Emotional Behavioural Therapy (REBT) wants you to be happy, and will always encourage you to make healthy decisions that ultimately guide you towards a more balanced emotional life. But it is also true that REBT is realistic in its outlook and will always consider what is actually most likely to happen, good or bad.

Is it realistic to ‘just be happy’? There are some schools of thought that say the pursuit of happiness is a relatively recent human endeavour, and one that shouldn’t be focussed on to the detriment of other goals. And is it possible to never experience worry or anxiety again? Probably not.

In REBT, we have a useful model of healthy and unhealthy negative emotions. We rationally and realistically admit that negative emotions are a part of life, and to be expected as we experience the trials and challenges we all must face. One of the goals of REBT is to learn to accept this fact, and actively work to move from unhealthy negative emotions to healthy (but still negative) ones, through the identification of irrational beliefs and replacing them with healthy, rational beliefs.

We’ve already shared several blogs on the various ‘emotional pairs’ of healthy and unhealthy negative emotions (such as Depression & Sadness and Guilt & Remorse) so we will pick just one example here…

If a client presents with anxiety, let’s say about their health, an REBT therapist would not try to get this client to never worry about their health ever again. Apart from being unrealistic and probably impossible, this could also be dangerous. We all need to keep an eye on our health! Instead, they would work with the client to move from unhealthy anxiety to healthy concern.

Why? Because anxiety will turn you away from the problem through unproductive worry, avoidant behaviour and unhelpful behaviours such as overthinking, hypochondria and anxiety attacks, as well as assuming every little ache is terminal.

Concern, on the other hand, will actually turn you towards your problem and help you find ways of dealing with it. Concern, whilst still being an uncomfortable, ‘negative’ emotion, allows you to think clearly and rationally about an issue. It helps you choose positive action instead of negative procrastination. It helps you make healthy choices for the right reasons and make a realistic assessment of how serious that pulled muscle might actually be.

Telling someone that by the end of therapy they may still experience negative emotions might not always be what they want to hear. But healthy negative emotions are a part of real life, and often play their part in helping us live full and emotionally balanced lives. And that is what every therapist wants for their clients, believe me.

Nick Jones
REBT / CBT Therapist

Leave a comment (Comments Off on Not All Negative Emotions Are Bad: Setting Realistic Goals For Therapy)

Meet the CCBT Team at our Next Free Taster Evening

Join us at our next free online taster session on 6 May 2021 to find out all about training to become an accredited CBT / REBT therapist with us.

Starting out on a new career path can be a daunting proposition, so we understand the importance of finding out as much as you can before getting underway.

That’s why we are hosting one of our regular taster sessions from 5.30pm on Thursday 6 May. These free sessions are designed to introduce you to the team here at the College of Cognitive Behavioural Therapies and explain the services we provide and the training pathway to accreditation.

The evening will cover the basics of Rational Emotional Behavioural Therapy (REBT), the model of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy that we follow.

What is REBT?

At its core is the idea of ‘emotional responsibility’, and that we are disturbed not by events, but by the views we hold about them. REBT also believes that irrational, unrealistic and unhelpful believes about ourselves, others or the world around us sit at the core of our disturbances, and sets out to identify and replace them with rational, realistic and helpful beliefs instead. You can read more about REBT, Albert Ellis and our philosophy here

Our route to accreditation

As well as learning about our philosophical approach to CBT, you’ll also learn all about the courses available to get you to your new profession. Here at CCBT we provide a route into counselling whatever your levels of experience, from absolute beginner to the more experienced.

These courses include:

  • Counselling Skills & Ethics: this covers the basics of becoming a counsellor for those with little or no experience.
  • Diploma in CBT / REBT: this explains and explores the structure, therapeutic framework and CBT/REBT skills necessary to progress to an accredited counsellor.
  • Advanced Diploma in CBT / REBT: here you will learn the application of REBT for specific issues, and begin your therapeutic practice, applying the specialised techniques and protocols you learn along the way.
  • Advanced Diploma in Integrative CBT/REBT I: this course integrates other concepts within the REBT framework and introduces you to complementary disciplines such as Solution Focused Therapy, Schema Therapy, Quantum Psychology and more to allow you to become a more rounded practitioner.
  • Advanced Diploma in Integrative CBT/REBT I!:  this course introduces you to Psychodynamic Theories and protocols such as Inner Child Therapy, Parts Therapy, hypnotic theories and phenomena. Hypnosis training is included on this Advanced Diploma.

Read more about all of these courses here

So if you are thinking of a change in career, or looking to bolster your skillset, we’d love to meet you on 6 May (if only via Zoom!).

To book your spot, please email us at

Leave a comment (Comments Off on Meet the CCBT Team at our Next Free Taster Evening)

A Very Different Christmas-Holidays in the Time of COVID-19

Christmas is traditionally the time for families to come together, for the exchanging of gifts and the sharing of meals, nights out, and for spending quality time together. But Christmas 2020, in the most unusual of years, promises to be very different for many.

The COVID-19 pandemic has shaken the whole world and brought changes none of us could have imagined as we enjoyed last year’s holidays. Lots of us have spent more time at home, often either alone or with only our immediate families. We’ve travelled less and seen far fewer friends or relatives than we normally would. Lots of people have struggled financially as redundancies rise and opportunities shrink. And sadly, many will be spending the holidays without a loved one who was taken from them this year.

Naturally, many of us will be facing Christmas with mixed feelings. It can be a stressful time anyway, with the demand for everything to be ‘just right’, or wishing it would just hurry up and be over making it less than jolly.

Acceptance and expectation management

So what can we do to get the most from Christmas, which will happen whether we want it to or not?

First of all, accept ‘what is’, rather than focusing on ‘what if’. Travel restrictions, shielding and the Tier systems might be preventing you from seeing everyone you’d like to, or from hosting that special meal you’d been hoping to have. But wishing it was so, and experiencing the disappointment
and frustration of not having that wish met will only result in you having an even less merry Christmas.

Accept that things are as they are for a reason – to keep us and our loved ones safe and to help stop the spread of a deadly disease. By accepting that things might be a little different this year, a little smaller, a little quieter, you might actually begin to enjoy things more. Instead of having to either host or attend a party or meal where perhaps not everyone is able to relax or actually get along with each other, accept and embrace the reality of a smaller, more intimate and cosier Christmas. Doing less is not doing nothing – it can also be an opportunity to relax more. And next year, well who knows, it could be back the usual noisy and chaotic Christmas you are used to!

Secondly, begin managing expectations, your own and others’, sooner rather than later, to avoid hurt and disappointment. If you don’t feel able to spend what you usually would on food and presents, let people know. You might be surprised by how many others feel the same or are in a similar boat. If you don’t feel comfortable mixing with larger groups just yet, remember there is no rule that says you actually have to.

We’ve done so much to stay safe so far, and with a vaccine just around the corner, don’t be afraid to make your concerns heard. Others will either understand or not, neither of which is in your control. You are responsible for your feelings and actions, not theirs.

Whatever we might be used to, and whatever we may really want, what we actually end up getting might well be very different. Holding on to our rigid, unrealistic demands about a ‘perfect’ Christmas might only result in us missing the ‘perfectly good’ Christmas that’s just waiting for us to discover it.

Leave a comment (Comments Off on A Very Different Christmas-Holidays in the Time of COVID-19)


10 Tips for a stress free Christmas Lunch
60 Second interview with Maggie Chapman, Director and Co-Founder of CCBT
60 Seconds with Avy Joseph
A Happy Survey
A Potent Combination – Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and Hypnosis
A Very Different Christmas-Holidays in the Time of COVID-19
Acceptance isn’t Approval
All about self-esteem
Anxiety Disorders
Anxious about heading back to school
Are you compassionate?
Back to School Worries
Basic Principles of Cognitive Behaviour Therapy
Book Review: A Guide to the Good Life
Book Review: Act with Love
Book Review: Mindfulness and Hypnosis
Book Review: The Female Brain
Book Review: Why Love Matters by Sue Gerhardt, Routledge
Bullying in the workplace
Can New Zealand learn from using Sporting hypnosis in the RWC 2011 final?
Can talking really help you control your IBS?
Can you tame the green-eyed monster?
Career Change?
CBT and long-term health conditions
CBT/REBT wants you to be happy
Changing career? A positive step
Changing of the seasons…
Christmas family strain
Christmas Holiday Anxiety
Cognitive Behavioural Hypnotherapy Training, Open Evening on 10th May
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy
Coldplay try hypnosis for latest album
Combating the anxiety enemy within
Confidence and Success with CBT/REBT – Blog #1
Confidence and Success with CBT/REBT – Blog #2
Confidence and Success with CBT/REBT – Blog #3
Confidence and Success with CBT/REBT – Blog #4
Confidence and Success with CBT/REBT – Blog #5
Confidence and Success with CBT/REBT – Blog #6
Confidence & Success with CBT / REBT – Blog #7
Confidence & Success with CBT / REBT – Blog #8
Confidence & Success with CBT / REBT – Blog #9
Considering a change in career
Coping with exam stress
Coping with the Recession using Cognitive Behavioural Hypnotherapy
Core Values and why they are important
Counselling Skills and Ethics – My experience
Developing Compassion
Ellis’ REBT – Transdiagnostic Humanistic and Existential CBT Model
Emotion Blog Series #1: Anxiety and Concern
Emotion Blog Series #2: Depression and Sadness
Emotion Blog Series #3: Anger and Annoyance
Emotion Blog Series #4: Guilt and Remorse
Emotional Blog Series #6: Jealousy and Concern for your relationship
Emotional Blog Series #5: Hurt and Disappointment
Emotional Resilience and REBT
Emotional responsibility and accountability
Envy is not the same as jealousy: REBT conceptualisation
Excess and Moderation
Family Values
Feel Good Music
Feel Good Music Terms and Conditions
Four Levels of Happiness – Aristotle and REBT
Goals and Resolutions – have you lost focus?
Gratitude – is it useful? Apparently, it is.
Grief and Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy (REBT)
Have you got the post holiday blues?
Health and Happiness – How REBT’s philosophic outlook can help?
Helping with Insomnia
History of Mental Health Treatment
How are Cognitive Behavioural Therapies used in the National Health Service?
How are your New Year’s Resolutions holding up?
How do you rate your own Self Esteem?
How it all began….
How to cope more effectively with work-related stress
I don’t know…
Internal dialogue or self-talk
International Nurses Day
Investing in your relationships
Is your glass half full?
January blues, not if we can help it!
Love and Fear
Low Self Esteem, Self Acceptance and REBT
Manage your expectations and stress levels during this Summer of Sport!
Maximise Your Full Potential with REBT!
Meet the CCBT Team at our Next Free Taster Evening
Merry Christmas and Happy 2012
Mindfulness and REBT
Narcissism in modern life
Negative Emotions are OK – Just make sure they are healthy
New Year, New You
Not All Negative Emotions Are Bad: Setting Realistic Goals For Therapy
Of cold pizza and life’s recurrent demands
Oh dear! I just can’t decide!
Out of the gloom with a spring
Overcoming procrastination
Panic Disorder
Preferred Sources…
Psychogenic Pain
How to respond to failure and disappointment
Secret to a good relationship
Self-esteem, relationships and our happiness
Shame and Regret
So, could you become a Cognitive Behavioural Therapist?
Solitude – why it’s good
Sporting Mind Games
Spring Clean your Mind
Stoicism and REBT, the philosophic CBT model
Teenagers can be moody…
The Healing Power of Humour
The importance of the mind in sporting performance
The only specialist CBH College
The Personal Benefits of Studying REBT
Thoughts for World Thinking Day
Tips for dealing with Holiday Anxiety
Tis the season to be jolly!
“Tis the season to be merry” – and polish up your REBT skills!!
Training to Be a Cognitive Behavioural Hypnotherapist – My experience
Two Theoretical Perspectives on Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT)
Unhealthy Envy and Healthy Envy
Valentine’s Day and Relationship Success
Welcome to the Hypnotherapy Team
What are you afraid of?
Why Cognitive Behavioural Hypnotherapy (CBH) and not Hypnotherapy
Why is Counselling helpful to Hypnosis?
You Don’t Have to go to the Wilderness to Conquer OCD!