Answer: No. Although it is true that psychodynamic and other forms of therapy focus on your past and early childhood rearing do not assume this is better for you. In fact an overemphasis on the past and dwelling on it can be downright harmful and hold you back. Looking into the past may be a way of becoming aware of your feelings for past events but it will not necessarily lead to change and adjustment in the present. In REBT we show you how your present attitudes and beliefs about your past largely keep the pain of the past alive and well. In REBT I will help you to acknowledge that although bad things may have happened to you in your past these things sadly occurred and they are part of your history as a person. There is no changing that. Now with that history you can either think sensibly about that history and the bad things that happened to you or be continually hampered by these unfortunate events forever more. In REBT we never take past trauma lightly but we show you that in order to make the most of the future you had better come to terms with whatever happened. The best way to do this is to philosophically accept that your parents were probably to a greater or lesser extent emotionally disturbed fallible humans who may have acted badly but you now have the power to think sensibly and self-helpingly about their past bad behavior. Your teachers, brothers, sisters, former loves and other important people in your past are likely to have been emotionally disturbed, fallible humans who acted badly towards you in the past but you now as an adult have the capacity to adopt sensible beliefs about their bad behavior (if in fact they did act badly towards you in the past).
REBT liberates you by teaching you that present rigid beliefs are powerfully active and can keep your negative past alive and well in the present. REBT liberates you by showing you that you have a choice and can choose to think in a sensible way about past traumas and events. You can choose your emotional destiny putting aside familiar self-defeating beliefs and adopting new, flexible and empowering beliefs about past events. Yes bad things happen and this is sad and deplorable. However, it is sadder and even more deplorable if you fail to let go of the past and continue to traumatize yourself about things that occurred many years ago. You can’t change the past but you can change your current beliefs about the past and get on with your life!