Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Telling Yourself the Truth

Telling Yourself the Truth by William Backus and Marie Chapian. Bethany House Publishers, 2000. 220 Pages. ISBN 978-0-7642-23259

Telling Yourself the Truth was first published in 1980. It has sold over 600,000 copies. The book applies the principles of misbelief therapy to depression, anxiety, fear, anger, and other problems. William Backus founded the Center for Christian Psychological Services, was a licensed consulting psychologist, and an ordained minister of the gospel. Dr. Backus did follow-up studies on his patients and found the treatment was highly successful. Marian Chapin, Ph.D., is a Christian counselor.

Backus defines Misbelief Therapy as "putting the truth into our value systems, philosophies, demands, expectations, moralistic and emotional assumptions, as well as the words we tell ourselves." Jesus tells us the truth will make us free. He shows how we can apply the truth to the misbeliefs we tell ourselves. In addition, he shows how what we think influence how we feel.

Telling Yourself the Truth consists of fourteen chapters. Chapters one through three describes the key concepts that will be applied to common human problems like depression, anxiety, lack of self-control, self-hate, and other problems. Chapter one describes the process of applying misbelief therapy to common problems. First, you have to "locate your misbeliefs." Second, you must argue against them. Third, replace the misbeliefs with the truth. Backus states that "the word misbelief is an important word. In fact, it's the most appropriate label we can think of for some of the ridiculous things we tell ourselves. The amount of suffering we experience due to sustained bouts of negative thinking and battered emotions is outrageous" (17). Chapter two looks at the origins of our misbeliefs and chapter three describes self-talk. Backus defines self-talk as the "words we tell ourselves in our thoughts. It means the words we tell ourselves about people, self, experiences, life in general, God, the future, the past, the present; it is specifically, all of the words you say to yourself all of the time" (28).

Telling Yourself the Truth does a good job in describing the principle of misbelief therapy and how it can help people to live happier lives. The authors are Christians and the principles they teach are compatible with Christian beliefs. The principles are also confirmed by the writings of cognitive therapists like Albert Ellis and A. T. Beck. This book is recommended for all those who want to learn how to apply the truth to their misbeliefs.

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