Disputing Thinking Using the 5TP

Discovery Demands 5TP


Disputing Thinking Using the Five Thinking Positions (5TP)

  • Garden will teach you an easy and effective system of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT & REBT).
  • REBT practitioners update your practice for greater effectiveness & efficiency with Not.
  • Ego will help you to live sane in an insane world of competing ego-stories.

“Neutral for me and health for the problem.” —Kevin Everett FitzMaurice

“The neutral is neither good nor bad but the anticipation of good or bad.” —Kevin Everett FitzMaurice


  • Note on Page: This page is addressed to professional counselors. It is a supplement to the book Discovery Demands 5TP.

First Step: Establish the Dichotomy or Recognize the Problem

  • In this context, a dichotomy is a pair of opposites such as,  “I must worry about life,” and, “I should not worry about life.”
  • The dichotomy is the should-not-be versus the should-be. The should-not-be is the power of the conflict, issue, and problem.
  • The stress of this battle of opposites (should-not-be trying to control should-be) is why the client is coming to counseling.

Example Dichotomy

1. On the one hand, you believe that you must worry about everything possible in order to prevent problems and not to look stupid for not being aware of problems. (I should worry.)

2. On the other hand, you believe that your constant worrying is driving you mad, stressing you out, and harming your relationships. (I must not worry.)

Confirm Dichotomy

  • Always get confirmation from the client that the dichotomy is correct and reasonably exact in wording. Precise wording is psychologically crucial in order to engage the client.
  • Often you will find that your guess is correct even if the client rejects it. The answer to this dilemma is to reword your suggestion until the client agrees. You will often find that a change in synonymous words is all that is needed.
  • In any case, the client will direct you to the right pair of opposites if you will keep asking clarifying questions. “What brings you into counseling?” is often a good question to start with.

Second Step: Confirm Motivation or Intention to Overcome the Problem

  • So how will your life look different after we resolve this conflict for you?

Happiness or Coping

  • Most people want to be happier in life or at least coping better with life.
  • Is this part of your motivation to resolve this conflict for yourself?
  • Do you see this conflict, issue, and problem as interfering with your happiness by often causing you stress?

Problem-Solving or Productivity

  • Most people want to fix their problems and to be more productive or effective in their life.
  • Is this part of your motivation to resolve this conflict for yourself?
  • Do you see this conflict, issue, and problem as interfering with your productivity by wasting your time and energy?

Disputing Thinking

  • You have just disputed their thinking and reinforced their reasons for ending it using two main human goals: happiness and productivity.

Third Step: Counseling Magic or Removing the Problem

Magic Question

  • Ask the magic question. The magic question is, “What is the neutral position between these two opposites?”
  • Don’t answer for the client. Help them to discover the answer for themselves.
  • Once they have identified the neutral position between the extremes of should-not-be and should-be, ask the client to elaborate on and defend the neutral position.
  • This question is magic because it moves the client out of a dichotomy and into a triality.
  • This move to a triality is curative because it broadens and opens the client’s perspective.

Disputing Thinking

  • You have just disputed the client’s thinking by introducing a third factor that is not acknowledged by the blind dichotomy.

Magic Move

  • Ask the client to move their self (personhood, identity, sense of self, awareness of self) to the neutral position of the triality and to hold it there.
  • This move is magic because it removes the client from the conflict.
  • Now the client is the host and observer of the conflict, not a part of or a player in the conflict.
  • This move into the neutral position is curative because it detaches the client from the problem so that they might rationally approach the problem.

Disputing Thinking

  • You have just disputed their thinking that they are the problem by moving them out of the problem.

Magic Perspective

  • Teach the client the Five Thinking Positions (5TP). Use basic examples and keep it simple and as obvious as possible. You, as a professional counselor, should be a master of the 5TP, but your clients do not need to be.
  • Now ask the client to put the conflict into the 5TP. The should-not-be and the should-be will fill the end positions. The neutral position will fill the middle position. The two positions that are left will be mostly one of the opposites or the other, but not the opposites. In other words, each will be a milder version of one of the opposites.
  • Have the client elaborate on and defend each of the five positions. You will often need to assist them with suggestions for some of the positions. Repeat this process until you are confident that the client can comfortably, not perfectly, defend each of the five positions.

Disputing Thinking

  • You have just disputed their thinking that the dichotomy is real by turning it into a five-point continuum.

Fourth Step: Practicing the Magic or Replacing the Problem

Magic Practice

  • This practice involves a few conditions. The conditions are listed, and you can reinforce and remind the client of them as needed while you guide them to practice with you.

1. Keep the self in the neutral position by returning your self to the neutral position whenever you are drawn into the problem.

2. Keep a positive belief in the outcome of lessening and eventually stopping the conflict.

3. Keep aware of the 5TP of the problem by repeating the position and beliefs of each of the five sides of the issue or problem.

  • After enough practice so that the client can do this on their own without your help, assign it for homework. This homework should be done at least five or more times a day but accept whatever the client is willing to do. Schedule with the client the times and places that the client will do the homework.
  • Reinforce the idea that the only real magic in overcoming problems is practice. “If you don’t practice this exercise, then it will not work regularly or when you need it most.”

“The more you sweat in training, the less you bleed in battle.” —U.S. Marine Corps

Disputing Thinking

  • You have just disputed their thinking that the dichotomy is permanent, persistent, and powerful by replacing it with a 5TP version.

Really Magic?

  • Yes, you will find this technique to be so effective and efficient that you, too, will be calling it magic.

Fifth & Final Step

Predict Success

  • Point out all the times that you helped the client to dispute their thinking in order to reinforce the disputes.
  • Encourage the client, that because they persistently practice the 5TP version of the conflict, that the 5TP version will eventually replace and nullify the dichotomy version of the issue.

Practice on Yourself

  • Experiment on yourself and others before using this technique on your clients.
  • This self-practice will improve your beginning and long-term success rate and impress you with its effective and efficient results.
  • Happy thinking!

“Move your self out of the problem (positive versus negative) into the neutral space in-between the problem from where you can help the problem resolve in the best possible way.” —Kevin Everett FitzMaurice


3D: Daily Dose of Discernment: 2020

#Internal #Conflict: 2020-05-09

Internal conflicts are between the should-not-be and the should-be.

1. When you identify with just one side (should-not-be or should-be), you have made the conflict unresolvable because you now have to die for the other side to win.

2. When you identify with just one side (should-not-be or should-be), you protect and reward your side with covering, denying, excusing, hiding, rationalizing, and reframing.

3. When you identify with both the should-not-be and the should-be, you have made the conflict the essential thing in your life because now you are trying to kill yourself so that only one side of you remains.

4. The solution is don’t identify with either side, but keep your self neutral so that your self can support the side that your self believes should win.

5. When you detach from the conflict, you move into a neutral space from which you can observe and monitor the conflict while choosing to influence the outcome based on reason and virtue.


Related Pages

  1. 3Rs (Recognize, Remove, & Replace): List of Pages
  2. 5 Thinking Positions (5TP): List of Pages
  3. Exercises, Methods, & Techniques: List of Pages
  4. Triality: Move Beyond Duality