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David Shope

Some immediate questions jump to mind regarding LBT: How should it be decided which logic to use? Is it the client or the counselor's choice? Or should it be based off of empirical research on which is most effective? What are the tradeoffs between more sophisticated logics that are more powerful but harder to use and simplistic logics that are more straightforward, but can't even model natural language conditionals?

Maybe it doesn't matter so much because the goal does not require getting the logic of the underlying beliefs 'right'. The wiki mentions:

"The goal is to create more flexible and open ways of interpreting the world and extinguish "absolutist" thinking or unrealistic expectations as a result of a collaborative therapeutic relationship."

But then it seems especially important to empirically establish that using logic helps with this broader goal better than, or at least as well as, alternatives (like CBT or philosophical therapy). Nothing jumps out at me to suggest theoretically that logic would be particularly well-suited to this.


From what I can tell, LBT seems to be based off of a pretty standard reading of Aristotle's 'practical syllogism.


This explains the methodology in more detail.


I’m quite skeptical of logic based therapy. It seems to me to be a even more cognitive than cognitive behavioral therapy. Now while CBT has good empirical support, that’s only because it’s the most studied and easiest to standardize. The biggest problem with CBT and LBT is that it assumes irrationality is somehow at the core of our problems, and that if we fix our reasoning, our emotions will follow. But this is highly implausible and quite harmful for many types of conditions. Often what one needs a much more careful exploration of ways in which our thoughts, feelings, emotions, behaviors, even ones we might think are pathological, are serving important roles in our internal and external lives. It requires validating and engaging with difficult emotions, it requires learning skills like mindfulness and acceptance, it requires practices like self compassion, it requires being able to recognize the dynamics of emotions in the body. None of this seems to me to be remotely possible with a logic based approach.

By the way this points to cardinal sin in philosophy. We assume that relevant problems are already phrased in terms of claims and propositions and what we need to do as philosophers is to evaluate which ones are true or justified or possible or necessary etc. But in most of real life, the world is nowhere near as legible as we assume it is in philosophy. The much more difficult task is to actually articulate our experience and understanding into explicit claims.

David Shope

@anon: Thanks! I think I still am left to wonder why we ought to think that Aristotelian practical syllogisms are a good all-purpose tool for formulating our emotional reasoning.

There may be a general value in trying to unpack our emotional responses in a structured and explicit way, and maybe that's a reason to commit to a specific approach rather than adopt a looser or more flexible one. It does seem to have limitations though. For example, what if my emotional reasoning is probabilistic and doesn't involve implausibly absolute/universal major premises?

Kris Rhodes


//The biggest problem with CBT and LBT is that it assumes irrationality is somehow at the core of our problems, and that if we fix our reasoning, our emotions will follow.//

I'm in training for certification in LBT. While LBT does assume irrationality is at the core (though not the only cause) of our problems, it doesn't think that fixing our reasoning is all that is necessary. Proving our reasoning irrational is close to step one of the process. Past that, there is identifying guiding virtues to help counteract that reasoning, and identifying philosophies to uphold those virtues, and identifying plans of action to help put those philosophies into practice. Discovering irrationality in the core of my thinking is important, but fixing it is a long process involving effort and practice in the world rather than just an intellectual exercise that's supposed to change your emotions all on its own. Hope this clarifies!

I went through a session myself a few months ago and the insights gained led to changes which have held to this day, I no longer freeze up in a certain situation we discussed, and I no longer have self-defeating thoughts around it. I was honestly surprised at the size of the effect, and obviously this is anecdotal but from the inside it's hard to deny the efficacy of the process.

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