Exchange Vocabulary

Upset feelings are usually caused by the way we are thinking about the events in our lives, not by the events themselves.

To change your feelings (and your behavior), try the following “Exchange Vocabulary.”
This idea was given to me by a client, who related it to an exchange list for unhealthy foods. When you first try this new way of thinking, it might not feel right. The more you do it, however, the more natural these realistic beliefs will become.

I think you will like the results, but prove it for yourself by giving it a fair try.

Good luck.

© Robert F. Sarmiento, Ph.D.

Used here with permission.

Word Exchange Table

Instead of thinking: Try thinking:
Must Prefer
Should Choose To
Have To Want
Cant Choose Not To
Ought Had Better
All Manly
Always Often
Cant Stand Don't Like
Awful Highly Undesirable
Bad Person Bad Behavior
I Am A Failure I Failed At


Instead of Saying: Exchange With:
have to do well.
want to do well.
shouldn’t do that.
prefer you not do that.
never help me.
rarely help me.
can’t stand my job.
don’t like my job.
are a bad boy.
That behavior is undesirable.
a loser.
failed at this one task.
need love.
want love, but don’t need it.

Emotional Vocabulary Exchange

Instead of Saying: Exchange With:
Anxious Concerned
Depressed Sad
Angry Annoyed
Guilt Remorse
Shame Regret
Hurt Disappointed
Jealous Concern for my relationship

REBT does not endeavor to eliminate emotions. Quite to the contrary! Emotions are very useful and are part of the human advantage — when appropriate!

Our Principles

  • Self-Management - People can manage their own behaviour.
  • Mutual Aid - People learn best from each other.
  • Choice - People choose their own goals, skills and tools.
  • Person Centred - People with lived experience are central in guiding what we do.
  • Evidence Led - All our programs are based on scientific evidence and we encourage their on-going evaluation.

History of
SMART Recovery

SMART Recovery was established in 1994 in the USA to meet the increasing demand of health professionals and their patients for a secular and science-based alternative to the widespread 12-Step addiction recovery program.

Such was its popularity that SMART Recovery grew from 42 group meetings at the beginning to more than 2000 in North America alone today and now proliferating worldwide in 23 countries and counting.

Since 1994
23+ countries
2,500+ groups globally

Get Started Right Now!

If you’re feeling the negative effects of addiction, why wait to make changes? Get started with SMART Recovery by watching our instructional videos and slides, and find how quickly you can Discover the Power of Choice!

I want to get started now!
SMART Recovery Correction

Important Decisions for Court-Mandated Attendance

First Amendment Court Cases
A compilation of court cases related to mandated support-group attendance and First Amendment issues regarding religious freedom.