Sunday, June 13, 2010

All Out! An Autobiography by Albert Ellis is released

We are happy to announce that Dr Albert Ellis' much-awaited autobiography has been released. This candid autobiography, the last work by Albert Ellis, is a tour de force of stimulating ideas, colorful descriptions of memorable people and events, and straightforward, no-nonsense talk. Ellis, the creator of the most successful form of psychotherapy—Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT)—recounts the memorable episodes of his life; discusses how he coped with emotional problems at different stages of life; and subjects his own self-description to a ruthlessly honest critique.

The book is available through its publisher
Prometheus Books,,,, other online bookstores and bookstores.

Friday, June 20, 2008

News From the REBT Network

REBT Moves Forward
The first two of a series of summit conferences on Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy recently concluded.  A special meeting on training and development followed. The outcome of both the summit conference and training conference points to an exciting future for REBT as developed by Dr. Albert Ellis.


 International REE Committee Formed
The formation of an international committee to advance Rational Emotive Education is a major step towards the introduction of REBT to school students around the world.


 New Ebook Released
The REBT Network is pleased to announce the release of  How to Conquer Your Frustrations by Dr. William J. Knaus. This (PDF) eBook is available as a free download from the REBT Network website. The Network is grateful to Bill Knaus for making this book available all. How to Conquer Your Frustrations shows you how to accomplish what you want in life, and how to apply revolutionary stress-reducing strategies to rid yourself of destructive habits -- smoking and overeating, among others -- and of impatience, worry, depression, and boredom.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Albert Ellis's new book, Personality Theories, soon to be released

In January 1955, Albert Ellis founded Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT), thereby starting the Cognitive Revolution in Psychology. REBT, which is both a psychotherapy and a philosophy of living, inspired the development of other approaches that now fall under the rubric of Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT).

Aaron Beck, originator of Cognitive Therapy, has said the following about Albert Ellis:
"There is no question that Ellis is the pioneer in modern-day psychotherapy. He really cleared the road for the rest of us who followed behind him...He's absolutely right about the shoulds and the musts...I do want to personally thank him for what he's done in helping me to develop my own therapeutic techniques."

Dr. Ellis left us on July 24, 2007. In the last year of his life, Dr. Ellis was working on the book titled "Personality Theories: Critical Perspectives". This book is co-authored by Mike Abrams and Lidia Abrams. I am happy to inform that this book is to be released soon.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Fortunate Son

I was conceived in February, 1955, just one month after Albert Ellis began practicing REBT.


From the beginning of time, until that summer night in sunny Hawkes Bay, New Zealand, I did not exist. Sometime in the future, I will once again cease to exist, and I will return to my natural state: nonexistence.


Some might argue, with reasonable justification, that the world was a better place up until the moment of my conception. But for me, it was the beginning of a grand adventure, a brief interruption to, and vacation from, nonexistence.


Yes, I regard my entire life as a vacation. It's an opportunity to have fun, to see the sights, and to meet the people. It's also an opportunity to learn about the universe I temporarily inhabit. During my stay here, I have made it my business to learn skills that make my visit more enjoyable, and occasionally do what I can to make the visit of other vacationers a rewarding experience for them.


Thinking of my life as a vacation, rather than as an examination to see whether or not I am "good enough," has allowed me to concentrate on what I am doing, rather than fretting over how well I am doing it.


In a few decades, possibly sooner, I will die. And, as Richard Dawkins points out in Unweaving the Rainbow, that makes me one of the lucky ones.


As I reflect on that balmy night in the 1950s, while Bill Haley was rocking around the clock, and my parents were humping and grinding, I can't help but think how it all could have been different. I might never have been here.


As my father enjoyed a post-coital cigarette, millions of his sperm were racing towards my mother's ovum. Had another sperm won the race, I would not be here. At the moment I was conceived, millions of my potential brothers and sisters lost their opportunity for a vacation. I was the lucky one.


And so one day I will die, making me far better off than my brothers and sisters who never lived. I am the fortunate son.



Thursday, April 10, 2008

How to rationally respond to betrayal?

I am making this posting to learn the rational ways to respond to betrayal. I define betrayal as intentional actions attempted to harm someone (say "X") by those persons whom X helped a lot in the past.
Paul Hauck has written in "Overcoming the Rating Game" (page 67 to 94) that "If people do something bad to you intentionally, then do something equally annoying or discomforting to them". He says that we get the behavior we accept.
Carl Sagan refers to Robert Axelrod's related work involving continuing round-robin computer tournament (Chaper: "The rules of the game" in his book "Billions and Billions"). He concludes that the most effective strategy is "Tit-for-Tat". Tit-for-Tat is defined as "you start co-operating, and subsequently you simply do what the other person did last time".
If direct speaking doesn't work and if it is clear (even to outside observer) that the actions are intentional, is it better to use indirect actions to employ the strategy of Tit-for-Tat?

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Art and Irrationality

A topic for the blogteam or any interested reader to take up:

REBT, proceeding from logical-empirical bases, offers important guidelines for rational living and personal happiness. But the rational road is not the only path to knowledge. In his writings, Dr Ellis rarely touches on the subject of artistic creativity. Given his friendships with artists of many kinds over the years – from Artie Shaw to Lenny Bruce to Saul Bellow – it seems a surprising omission.

Artistic discoveries can’t be forced by purely systematic means. The artist must periodically shut off the rational-critical part of the mind, and at times even embrace irrationality, as he or she sifts the unconscious for new insights.

While it is possible to over-romanticize the quest for inspiration, the matter is not always resolved, Sinclair Lewis-style, by sitting in a chair and staying there until the novel is finished! In seeking creative shortcuts and illuminations thousands of artists down the ages have destroyed themselves with drink and drugs. They continue to hurl themselves, lemming-like, from the same reckless cliff. This particular phenomenon is not discussed in Ellis’s writing on addictions, nor I believe in other writings on Rational Recovery.

My questions then: how can creative intuition and REBT practical logic best be harnessed? And are there any writings on art and irrationality in the literature of REBT/CBT?


Thursday, March 27, 2008

Gayle's Most Irrational Moment

My arm hurts today. Specifically, the ulna nerve in my right arm hurts due to the re-activation of an old elbow injury. It's bad! In the USA, we call the ulna nerve the "crazy bone" because a slight tap stings like crazy. It's zapping me good.

I first hurt that elbow about ten years ago when a burglar came out of a closet behind me. It was a teenage girl from the neighborhood, bigger than me, but still just a girl. Didn't matter. She had no business hiding in my closet and she scared the living daylights out of me. The next thing I knew we were wrestling toward the door.

Now, let's get our R.E.B.T. semantics right here. Dr. Albert Ellis made it clear that we distress ourselves with our thoughts, beliefs and self-talk. By learning to correctly say we made ourselves angry or anxious or distressed, we focus on the person who created the emotion and on the person who can change it for the better -- namely, ourselves.

But Al also recognized the "fight or flight" response, which is an instinctive physiological outpouring of adrenaline and other stress hormones when we are under threat. That kind of physiological reaction can happen in a split second and that's what happened to me when I heard the closet door open behind me.

In that situation, I think it's proper for me to say the sound of the closet door opening frightened me. That was the instinctive fight or flight response. A purist might say I scared myself by saying something like, "That noise sounds like a burglar." I'm not that much of a purist. The door opening behind me set my alarm bells ringing and my adrenal glands reacted instantaneously. That's physiological, not cognitive.

But within one or two seconds, I moved from the physiological to the cognitive (more accurately, I moved to the irrational.) What happened was this: I turned and when I saw the girl -- a girl I had known for years -- I enraged myself.

I clearly remember thinking, "How dare you scare me!" I also clearly remember knowing that she would not kill me or even injure me. But I enraged myself to the point of attacking the poor girl because I wanted to punish her. I wanted to punish that AWFUL girl. It was not exactly my most gloriously rational moment.

You see, this event took place several months after my best friends had been abducted, tortured and murdered by a friendly looking stranger. I remember thinking in the split second before the wrestling match started that the girl SHOULD have known it was wrong to scare me after everything I'd been through and that she was just AWFUL for behaving so badly.

And there was one more thought that raced through my mind like a meteor: I can take her!

My next action was behavioral ... I grabbed the girl with the intent of tossing her out the door and onto her ass. Which I proceeded to do, justifying my enraged behavior by telling myself that she was AWFUL for what she did and she deserved the full force of my rageful punishment because she was BAD. Out the door she went, right onto her ass.

The next day I could not lift either of my arms. When I had picked the girl up off the floor, I had lifted more than my own body weight. It was more than I could handle. I had torn up my shoulder joints and partially ruptured the biceps muscle and ulna nerve in my right arm. The girl had hurt feelings.

Now, when my arm aches on cold rainy days, I spend a moment or two remembering why it hurts. Some people might say I was justified in my actions. But I don't think so. Just because I was scared ... just because I'd been hurt in the past ... just because I could get away with it ... none of it justified my aggressive actions. If the girl had been an ax murderer ... yes, my actions would have demonstrated bravery. But it was just the neighbor girl and I knew ... knew ... she didn't want to hurt me. Yeah, she didn't belong in my closet, but that's another story. After it was all over, I learned an important lesson from that girl ...

When we lash out physically or verbally at another person we may end up hurting ourselves more than anyone else ... even when we think our actions are justified. Even when we're scared. Even when we've been hurt. We can't keep blaming our outbursts on physiology, not if we forcefully analyze our thoughts, feelings and actions.

After that episode, I re-dedicated myself to practicing R.E.B.T. exercises every day, just as I did when I was young. If an ax murderer jumps out of the closet, I'll be prepared. And if it's the neighbor girl, well ... I hope I can tell the difference.

Please feel free to post your questions, comments, opinions and critique of my irrational wrestling match.