The Rational Emotive Behavior Therapist’s Pocket REBT 4  · Foreword Rational Emotive

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Transcript of The Rational Emotive Behavior Therapist’s Pocket REBT 4  · Foreword Rational Emotive

  • The Rational Emotive Behavior TherapistsPocket Companion

  • The REBTTherapists

    Pocket Companion

    byWindy Dryden

    and Michael Neenan


  • Copyright 2003 Albert Ellis Institute All Rights Reserved


    No part of this book may be reproduced, stored in aretrieval system, or transmitted in any form or anymeans, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, microfilm-ing, recording, or otherwise, without written permissionfrom the publisher.

    Published by theAlbert Ellis Institute45 East 65th Street, New York, N.Y. 10021


    Library of Congress Control Number: 2003104378

    ISBN 0-917476-26-3

  • The authors dedicate this book to Albert Ellisfor the phenomenal contribution he has made to Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT),Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) and generalpsychotherapy. In light of this contribution andto mark Al Ellis 90th birthday, the authorshave donated royalties from this book to theAlbert Ellis Institute.


  • Foreword

    Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT) is morecomplex than it may first seem to be yes, to manyclients and their therapists. Although many articles andbooks have been written on it, they inevitably omit someimportant points that its practitioners can effectively use.The present book by Dryden and Neenan includes many ofthese points and can therefore provide REBT practitionerswith a valuable pocket companion.

    For example, The Rational Emotive BehaviorTherapists Pocket Companion reminds practitioners ofmany practical and theoretical aspects of REBT that theysometimes neglect. Such as: (1) It is a psychoeducationalapproach to therapy, more than are most other approaches.(2) It is both didactic and Socratic when it is used ade-quately. (3) It is rational and emotional-behavioral. (4) Itspecializes in teaching clients acceptance, not resignation.(5) Acceptance of your clients behavior does not meancondonation of their reprehensible acts. (6) But why go on?Read this book; see the important theoretical and practicalsuggestions it makes; and notice how it makes them suc-cinctly, briefly, and with no verbose gilding of the lily.

    Moreover, dont take any of this books main sugges-tions unthinkingly and unexperimentally. Cogitate on them.Consider them. Experiment with them. Revise them foryourself and for your own individual clients.

    Do I agree with everything Dryden and Neenan say?


  • Naturally, not. For example, on page 220 they say, Usetechniques from other therapeutic approaches, but do so in amanner that is consistent with REBT theory. I agree that itis preferable to do so. But, as I indicate in some of my lat-est writings such as Overcoming Destructive Beliefs,Feelings and Behaviors (Amherst, NY: Prometheus Books,2001) and Overcoming Resistance: A Rational EmotiveBehavior Therapy Integrated Approach (New York:Springer Publishing Company, 2002) I recommend thatin some instances where REBT methods do not seem to beworking with particular clients practitioners can actuallyexperiment with some methods from other systems of therapy such as psychoanalysis that are not consistent withREBT theory. Try these other methods and see if they workfor your particular client. In such cases, the clients andnot REBT theory come first!

    In general, however, I highly agree with practically allthe suggestions Dryden and Neenan make in this book.From my own almost 60 years of doing REBT with thou-sands of clients, I heartily endorse their suggestions. I amdelighted that, as a present for my ninetieth birthday, theyhave given the Albert Ellis Institute this book. Once again:the book is a great piece of work and well done!

    Albert Ellis, Ph.D., PresidentAlbert Ellis Institute

    45 East 65th StreetNew York, NY 10021



  • v


    We have compiled the material in this book and have pre-sented it in this format to encourage busy trained anddeveloping REBT clinicians to think about the practice ofREBT and what two established REBT therapists regard asimportant principles of its professional practice. You will noticethat we have presented 240 points. Assuming that therapiststake about a months vacation per year and work five days aweek, they are working clinically for 240 days per annum. Thus,we have presented one point for every working day of the year.

    This book can be used in a number of ways. First, how-ever, let us discourage you from reading it in one sitting. If youdo, you will get severe clinical indigestion. For these thoughtsare meant to be considered one at a time, savored even, as away of prompting self-reflection about ones clinical practiceof REBT. It can also be used in training to prompt debate aboutwhat two practitioners of REBT consider to be its excellentpractice. Do we expect you to agree with our assessment?Frankly, no. REBT therapists (and trainees) tend to be an inde-pendent lot with divergent ideas about the practice of REBT.Thus, we hope that you will not unthinkingly follow our ideasand we fully expect that you wont.

    Our hope, rather, is that you will use each of thesethoughts as a stimulus for deeper reflection about your ownestablished or developing practice of REBT.

    Windy Dryden and Michael NeenanMarch, 2003

  • 1

    Remember that REBT is a psycho-educa-tional approach to therapy. Your job is to help your clients to learn about theprinciples of rational living and how toapply them in their everyday lives.

  • Show your clients that they can be flexible and passionate at the same time.


  • 3

    Teach your clients what REBT meansby the terms rational and irrational.Be aware that for some clients theseterms have a negative connotation thatmay persist even after you have clari-fied their meaning. In such cases, helpyour clients to find acceptable synonymsfor these concepts.

  • Help your clients to see that you are notgoing to tell them what to feel, what todo or what to think. Rather, you aregoing to help them to understand whattheir options are about what to believeand what the likely emotional, behav-ioral and thinking consequences are ofeach of these belief options. Once theyhave understood this, your job is tohelp them to choose the belief optionthat best helps them to achieve theirhealthy emotional, behavioral andthinking goals.


  • 5

    Help your clients to see that far fromwanting to brainwash them, you wantthem to think for themselves, and tohave choices of what they feel andhow they act.

  • Encourage your clients to see that whileyou are an expert in understanding howpeople disturb themselves and what theyneed to do to un-disturb themselves, theyhave the information that you need to usein order to encourage them to help them-selves. Without this information, yourexpertise counts for very little.


  • 7

    Teach your clients the differencebetween acceptance, demanding non-acceptance and resignation.

  • Help your clients to understand thatwhen they accept someone for actingbadly, they are not condoning that persons bad behavior.


  • 9

    Help your clients to understand the difference between being rigid andbeing rigorous.

  • Show your clients that over-sensitivity issensitivity plus disturbance. Help them tobe sensitive without disturbing themselves.


  • 11

    Explain to your clients that if they donot teach others where their boundarieslie, these people are likely to cross thoseboundaries.

  • Teach your clients that they are likelyto get the obnoxious behavior from others that they put up with unless theyprotest against it.


  • 13

    Help your clients to understand that whenthey disturb themselves about unfortunateevents, they are adding self-inflicted insultto external injury.

  • Show your clients that when they demandthat they mustnt have problems, doingso doesnt get rid of these problems; itmultiplies their problems.


  • Teach your clients that happiness islargely a short-lived by-product ofactively pursuing something personallymeaningful and that the goal of REBTis to promote psychological healthrather than happiness.


  • Encourage your clients to be critical ofwhat their idols sayand discouragethem from viewing you as an idol.


  • Some of your clients are likely to thinkthat the only alternative to selfishnessis selflessness. Explain to those clientsthe concept of enlightened self-interestor self-care, and that this is the healthyalternative to the other two unhealthypositions.


  • Teach your clients the baseball rule oflife: that when they do something threetimes and it doesnt work, it is time tostrike out and use a different approach.


  • It is likely that many of your clientsthink they should be normal. Havethem see that your role is to help thembe healthy and that normal andhealthy are very often different.


  • Remind your clients that nobody pressestheir buttons and that if they did havebuttons, they would be the ones pressingthem.


  • Teach your clients that people who arepsychologically healthy desire much,but need very little, if anything.


  • Help your clients to understand that theonly productive things that they can doabout the past are to un-disturb themselvesabout it and then to learn from it.


  • Appreciate that while your practice of REBT involves the use of strategiesand techniques, your therapy is notlikely to be very effective unless it isbased on the