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  • The Fundamentals of RationalEmotive Behaviour Therapy

    A Training Handbook

    Second Edition


    Windy Dryden


    Rhena Branch

  • The Fundamentals of RationalEmotive Behaviour Therapy

  • The Fundamentals of RationalEmotive Behaviour Therapy

    A Training Handbook

    Second Edition


    Windy Dryden


    Rhena Branch

  • Copyright 2008 John Wiley & Sons Ltd, The Atrium, Southern Gate, Chichester,West Sussex PO19 8SQ, England

    Telephone (+44) 1243 779777

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    This publication is designed to provide accurate and authoritative information in regard to thesubject matter covered. It is sold on the understanding that the Publisher is not engaged inrendering professional services. If professional advice or other expert assistance is required, theservices of a competent professional should be sought.

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    Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

    Dryden, Windy.The fundamentals of rational emotive behaviour therapy : a training handbook / by Windy Dryden &

    Rhena Branch. 2nd ed.p. ; cm.

    Includes bibliographical references and index.ISBN 978-0-470-31932-1 (cloth : alk. paper) ISBN 978-0-470-31931-4 (pbk. : alk. paper) 1.

    Rational emotive behavior therapyHandbooks, manuals, etc.I. Branch, Rhena. II. Title.

    [DNLM: 1. Psychotherapy, Rational-Emotivemethods. 2. Behavior Therapymethods.WM 420.5.P8 D799fa 2008]

    RC489.R3D7866 2008616.8914dc22


    British Library Cataloguing in Publication Data

    A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library

    ISBN 978-0-470-31932-1 (hbk) 978-0-470-31931-4 (pbk)

    Typeset in 10/13pt Scala and Scala Sans by Thomson Digital, IndiaPrinted and bound in Great Britain by Antony Rowe, Chippenham, Wiltshire

  • v






    About the authors vii

    Introduction 1

    1 What you need to know about the theoryof rational emotive behaviour therapyto get started 3

    2 What you need to know about the practiceof rational emotive behaviour therapyto get started 25

    3 Teaching the ABCs of REBT 45

    4 Distinguishing between healthyand unhealthy negative emotions 61

    5 Being specific in the assessment process 77

    6 Assessing C 79

    7 Assessing the critical A 87

    8 Assessing irrational beliefs 91

    9 Assessing meta-emotional problems 97

    10 Goal-setting 103

  • vi




    TS 11 Eliciting your clients commitment

    to change 119

    12 Preparing your client and yourself for thedisputing process 131

    13 Disputing irrational beliefs: The threemajor arguments 135

    14 Socratic and didactic disputingof irrational beliefs 145

    15 Examples of Albert Elliss disputing work 155

    16 Helping your client to understand therationality of his or her rational beliefs 161

    17 Negotiating homework assignments 169

    18 Reviewing homework assignments 193

    19 Dealing with your clients misconceptionsof REBT theory and practice 205

    Appendix I: Homework skills monitoring form 217

    Appendix II: Possible reasons for not completing self-helpassignments 221

    Appendix III: Training in rational emotive behaviour therapy 223

    References 225

    Index 227

  • vii









    About the authors

    Windy Dryden is Professor of Psychotherapeutic Studies, Goldsmiths, Universityof London. He is a Fellow of the British Psychological Society and of the BritishAssociation of Counselling and Psychotherapy. He began his training in REBTin 1977 and became the first Briton to be accredited as an REBT therapist bythe Albert Ellis Institute. In 1981, Windy spent a six-month sabbatical at theCenter for Cognitive Therapy, University of Pennsylvania, one of the first Britishpsychologists to do an extended training in Cognitive Therapy. He is a Fellowof the Albert Ellis Institute and a Founding Fellow of the Academy of CognitiveTherapy.

    While his primary therapeutic orientation is REBT, Windy has been very muchinfluenced by his cognitive therapy colleagues and by the working alliance theoryof Ed Bordin. His research interests are in the historical and theoretical roots ofREBT (with Arthur Still) and the phenomenology of hurt, the study of which isinformed by REBT theory.

    Windy is perhaps best known for his voluminous writings in REBT/CBT andthe wider field of counselling and psychotherapy. To date he has authored or editedover 160 books, making him probably the most prolific book writer and editorcurrently alive in the field today. He has also edited 17 book series including thebest selling Counselling in Action series.

    Windy was the founding editor of the British Journal of Cognitive Psychotherapyin 1982 which later merged with the Cognitive Behaviorist to become the Journal ofCognitive Psychotherapy: An International Quarterly. Windy was co-founding editorof this journal with E. Thomas Dowd. In 2003, Windy became the editor of theJournal of Rational-Emotive and Cognitive-Behavior Therapy.

    Rhena Branch is an accredited CBT therapist. Rhena runs her own private prac-tice in North London and also teaches on the Masters (MSc RECBT) at GoldsmithsUniversity.

  • 1







    Having given numerous introductory training courses in Rational Emotive Be-haviour Therapy (REBT) in Britain and throughout the world, it seemed to me(WD) that it would be valuable to write a training handbook on the fundamen-tals of REBT in which we attempt to recreate the atmosphere of these trainingcourses. In particular, because REBT is a simple approach that is difficult to prac-tise well, we wanted to alert trainees to areas of difficulty that they are likely toexperience while attempting to use the approach and show them how they candeal constructively with the problems that they will doubtless encounter along theway.

    To do this, we have used constructed verbatim transcript material betweentrainees and ourselves as trainer. What this means is that to highlight traineedifficulty and trainer response, we have constructed dialogues that approximatethose that have occurred between ourselves and our trainees over the years. Noneof these dialogues have actually taken place, however. As we do not record ourtraining sessions, we do not have access to actual trainertrainee dialogues thathave occurred. Nevertheless, the constructed dialogues illustrate the typical errorsthat trainees make in the practice of REBT. In addition, we will make extensive useof actual and constructed dialogue between ourselves as therapist and our clients.Where the dialogue was real, we have obtained permission from clients to useour therapeutic work for educational purposes. In these cases, we have changedall names, some clients gender and all identifying material.

    Please note that on introductory training programmes in REBT, peer coun-selling is used extensively as a training vehicle. This means that trainees forma pair and take turns counselling one another on real emotional problems andconcerns using REBT. In our experience this is a far more effective way of learninghow to use REBT and what it feels like to be an REBT client than the use of role-plays. To preserve confidentiality, any dialogue that appears in this book betweentrainees in peer counselling has also been constructed. However, these dialoguesare typical of the emotional problems that are raised in this part of the courseby trainees in the client role. The performance of REBT trainees in these inter-changes approximates the level of skill beginning trainees tend to demonstrateon introductory training courses.

    It is important for us to stress that no book on Rational Emotive BehaviourTherapy, however practical, can be a substitute for proper training and supervisionin the approach. Thus, this book is best used as an adjunct to these