Books I Want My Kids to Read Someday #45: “Telling Yourself the Truth” by William and Marie Chapian

Dear kids,

Telling Yourself the Truth: Find Your Way Out of Depression, Anxiety, Fear, Anger, and Other Common Problems by Applying the Principles of Misbelief Therapy by William Backus and Marie Chapian was my introduction to cognitive therapy. At the time, I didn’t realize it; I thought I was reading about a uniquely Christian approach to overcoming depression. It helped me greatly at a time I believed therapy was less effective than religion, and for that, it holds a place in my heart forever.

My Highlights:

  • “Misbelief Therapy,” as we have called our modus operandi, involves putting the truth into our value systems, philosophies, demands, expectations, moralistic and emotional assumptions, as well as into the words we tell ourselves.
  • When we inject the truth into our every thought, taking a therapeutic broom and sweeping away the lies and misbeliefs which have enslaved us, we find our lives radically changed for the happier better.
  • Jerry questioned his self-talk. He recognized something radically wrong with what he had been telling himself and realized his depression was not due to his impending divorce, but what he was telling himself about it. As a result he began to change the sentences he said to himself.
  • It wasn’t easy at first, but because he refused to be a “chump” to a pack of self-destroying lies, he taught himself to confess the truth. INSTEAD OF: I’m a failure and no good. HE SAID: The marriage failed, but I am deeply loved by God.
  • Misbeliefs generally appear as truth to the person repeating them to himself. They might even seem to be true to an untrained counselor. That is partly because they often do contain some shred of truth, and partly because the sufferer has never examined or questioned these erroneous assumptions.
  • Psychiatrist Willard Gaylin said, “A denigrated self-image is a tar baby. The more we play with it, embrace it, the more bound we are to it.”
  • Often, but not always, relationships change dramatically when one person drops the misbeliefs that generate and perpetuate bitterness and anger. Always the person who works to change misbeliefs will benefit even if the other person does not change.
  • One psychologist tells his patients that the truthful statement to make when you’re angry is, “I make myself angry.”



Get the entire recommended reading list at Books I Want My Kids to Read Someday.


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