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  • Writer's pictureDeric Hollings

Addressing Critiques of REBT

 

Bad faith assessment

 

Having grown up under the teachings of Jehovah’s Witnesses and Church of Christ doctrine, and having since moved away from religiosity, I understand the importance of critical examination of belief—a state or habit of mind in which trust or confidence is placed in some person or thing, and acceptance that one’s position is true or that something exists.

 

Although in my youth I was encouraged to consider counter-narratives to religious information I received, assessment of critiques was conducted with a foundation in dogmatic views—perspectives regarding points of view or tenets put forth as authoritative, though without adequate grounds.

 

To better understand how I approached criticisms of my Judeo-Christian principles, consider the following syllogism:

 

Form –

If p, then q; and if p, then r; therefore, if p is true, then q and r are true.

 

Example –

If religious beliefs are infallible, then it’s okay to entertain criticisms of religious beliefs.

 

And if religious beliefs are infallible, then one’s faith won’t be easily shaken.

 

Therefore, if it’s true that religious beliefs are infallible, then it’s true that it’s okay to entertain criticisms of religious beliefs and one’s faith won’t be easily shaken.

 

My naïve approach to assessment of critiques regarding religious beliefs wasn’t rational—based in accordance with logic and reason. This is because a valid argument may result in a false conclusion, especially when the premises are false.

 

The major premise of my belief principle was that religious beliefs were infallible—incapable of being mistaken or wrong, which was baseless. Additionally, use of a minor premise related to acceptability regarding the entertaining of criticisms and unshaken faith was also unfounded. 

 

Therefore, these false premises produced a valid argument – because the logic followed from premises to conclusion – though yielded a false outcome. Ergo, my assessment of critiques to religious beliefs was conducted in bad faith – pardon the pun.

 

Faith is merely defined as a firm belief in something for which there is no proof. Belief in a deity and associated teachings thereunto is irrational, because this faith-based structure is founded on unfalsifiability—that which cannot be disproven in accordance with actual evidence.

 

While I appreciate having been given a moral framework founded upon religious doctrine, I’ve since set aside arguments supporting beliefs which are conducted in bad faith—lacking honesty in dealing with other people. Likewise, I remain open to actual assessment of my current beliefs.

 

REBT

 

I first learned of Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT) when selecting this psychotherapeutic modality as a focus area during graduate school for counseling between 2009 and 2011. Although I understood and believed in the model, I didn’t practice it faithfully—steadfast in affection or allegiance.

 

Then, when undergoing grad school studies for social work between 2012 and 2014, I continued learning about REBT. However, it wasn’t until 2021, when I received official training from the Albert Ellis Institute, that I began earnestly practicing the modality.

 

The late psychologist Albert Ellis – a fallible human being, if ever there was one – developed REBT after abandoning practice of psychoanalysis in 1955. To my understanding, Ellis continued practicing REBT – an effective form of psychotherapy – until his death in 2007.

 

REBT theory uses the ABC model to illustrate how when Activating events (“Actions”) occur and people maintain irrational Beliefs about the events, these unhelpful assumptions – and not the actual occurrences – are what create unpleasant cognitive, emotive, bodily sensation, and behavioral Consequences.

 

Therefore, from a psychological standpoint, people disturb themselves using a Belief-Consequence (B-C) connection. Of course, this isn’t to suggest that in the context of the naturalistic or physical world there is no Action-Consequence (A-C) connection.

 

As well, the ABC model incorporates Disputation of unhelpful assumptions in order to explore Effective new beliefs. If there were a mathematical formula for the ABC model, it would be something like: Action + Belief = Consequence ÷ Disputation = Effective new belief.

 

Furthermore, this helpful psychotherapeutic modality uses the technique of unconditional acceptance (UA) to relieve suffering. This is accomplished through use of unconditional self-acceptance (USA), unconditional other-acceptance (UOA), and unconditional life-acceptance (ULA).

 

Additionally, a foundational component to UA which Ellis incorporated into REBT relates to Stoicism—a philosophical practice valuing four virtues (wisdom, courage, temperance or moderation, and justice) as a means of achieving eudemonia—a life well-lived.

 

Rather than blaming others for the problems one faces, REBT values wisdom of Stoic philosophers such as Epictetus who stated, “It’s not what happens to you, but how you react to it that matters.” Thus, REBT is a method of living well in association with personal responsibility and accountability for one’s reaction to displeasing or unfortunate events.

 

Former critiques of REBT

 

Cautious of conducting bad faith assessments regarding matters in which I believe, I now turn to formers critiques of REBT which I’ve previously addressed. Albeit a modality used to change my life in a profound way, I recognize the value in scientific examination of REBT.

 

As a matter of full disclosure, I stated in a blogpost entitled Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT):

 

As is the case with other psychotherapeutic perspectives, REBT is not without its share of limitations and critiques. In its early development, REBT was criticized for being harsh, formulaic, and failing to address deep underlying problems (Scholarly Community Encyclopedia, 2022).

 

As well, some have proposed that REBT is ineffective at treating severe psychological illnesses and disorders, maintains that use of homework isn’t appreciated by some clientele, states that REBT techniques are perceived as degrading and forceful, and claims that people without a high tolerance for acceptability struggle with this method (Best Rehab Centres, n.d.).

 

For years, these claims have been disputed by REBT researchers (David et al., 2017) and practitioners (AEI, n.d.). Notwithstanding debatable criticisms, REBT is not a be-all, end-all psychotherapeutic modality for every person.

 

At any rate, one source adequately states of REBT practice, “Although some may agree that on the surface it appears simple, the application of REBT to real clients with a variety of clinical problems and emotional and behavioral disturbances is anything but easy” (Terjesen et al., 2023).

 

Having previously addressed criticisms of REBT and ultimately concluded that it’s not a form of psychotherapy without limitations and that it can be difficult to routinely practice, it may appear as though I’m incapable of further open-mindedly assessing critiques of REBT.

 

However, I’m willing to entertain such criticism through use of the following syllogistic framework:

 

Form –

If p, then q; and if r, then s; but either p or r; therefore, either q or s.

 

Example –

If psychotherapeutic modalities are imperfect, then psychotherapeutic modalities are worth criticizing.

 

And if rational critique involves willingness to criticize one’s own beliefs, then honest critique may erode faith in one’s presupposed position; but, either psychotherapeutic modalities are imperfect or rational critique involves willingness to criticize one’s own beliefs.

 

Therefore, either psychotherapeutic modalities are worth criticizing or honest critique may erode faith in one’s presupposed position.

 

The premises and conclusion are logical and reasonable, thus they are validly rational. Consequently, even though I’ve formerly addressed criticisms of REBT, I remain open to considering further critiques of this modality.

 

Further critiques of REBT

 

Recently, I came across a website in which the author posed the following question: What’s Wrong with REBT? Henceforth, I’ll refer to this author and his content as the “skeptical source.” The skeptical source begins by stating:

 

Using the principle of generosity, I could begin by saying this:

 

– If you want to be an Extreme Stoic, and to live apart from other people (in a cave or a tree, perhaps) and not impose your Extreme Stoicism upon others, then there is little that could be said against REBT – except perhaps that you are being cruel to yourself, and unnecessarily self-denying. But if that’s what you want to do, then it’s your life to be lived the way you choose.

 

On the other hand, if you want to live in a community or society, and to seek to influence others as they seek to influence you, then there is a lot wrong with REBT.

 

The source begins by committing a false dichotomy fallacy—creating an either-or dilemma through provision of only two choices when additional options are available. As an example, you either want to be cruel to yourself by practicing extreme Stoicism of REBT or you want to be a functional member of society by rejecting this psychotherapeutic modality.

 

Aside from the obvious fact that there are more than two options when it comes to practice of REBT, one resource states of Stoic ethics:

 

Our human reason gives us an affinity with the cosmic reason, Nature, that guides the universe. The fully matured adult thus comes to identify his real self, his true good, with his completely developed, perfected rational soul. This best possible state of the rational soul is exactly what virtue is.

 

Whereas the first stage of the theory of appropriation gives an account of our relationship toward ourselves, the second stage explains our social relationship toward others. The Stoics observed that a parent is naturally impelled to love her own children and have concern for their welfare. Parental love is motivated by the child’s intimate affinity and likeness to her.

 

But since we possess reason in common with all (or nearly all) human beings, we identify ourselves not only with our own immediate family, but with all members of the human race—they are all fellow members of our broader rational community. In this way the Stoics meant social appropriation to constitute an explanation of the natural genesis of altruism.

 

It’s difficult to imagine how the skeptical source fails to understand that Stoic practice involves understanding of an individual’s self-focus in relation to a larger social community. Regarding this matter, Ellis stated in a 1960 interview, when asked whether or not altruism is the highest form of selfishness:

 

I would agree if by altruism you mean interest in another person that basically stems from one’s own self-interest – which we often mistakenly label as “selfishness.” I usually put it this way: People are truly self-interested, who live their lives on the supposition that the 70-odd years that they have on this earth is it, and they then are going to be dead as a duck for all eternity, and who therefore try to get as much of the things they want and as little of the things they don’t want during this relatively brief existence—these people are rational and sane.

 

As a result of their rationality, they will tend to have two corollaries to their existence: First, they will normally avoid needlessly and deliberately harming others, since in doing so they would tend to invite recrimination and to create the kind of a world in which they themselves cannot fully flourish.

 

Secondly, they will be so unanxious and unhostile toward others that they will have little to do in life but to become vitally absorbed in some kind of major outside interests—and these interests may well include loving or being devoted to helping those who are younger or weaker or whom they find lovable.

 

In other words, the more one is determinedly self-interested in an intelligent and enlightened way, the more altruistic one will usually (though not always) tend to be. Self-interest, especially if it includes, as it logically must, a dearth or over-concern about what others think of one, logically leads to sincere interest in selected other persons, things, and ideas. At bottom, it is pro-altruistic.

 

Ellis’ response is in accordance with Stoic practice. Does his response encapsulate the false dichotomy established by the skeptical source? Clearly not.

 

Rather, Ellis’ perspective is in alignment with what Stoic philosopher Marcus Aurelius stated about others, “Think on this doctrine,—that reasoning beings were created for one another’s sake; that to be patient is a branch of justice, and that men sin without intending it.”

 

Although REBT adheres to a form of Stephen Covey’s spheres of control (self; USA), influence (others; UOA), and concern (all else; ULA), practitioners of REBT are taught to focus on controlling oneself in association with – not opposition to – other people or life itself.

 

Therefore, healthy and functional living in a community or society is precisely what REBT prepares individuals for. Nevertheless, the skeptical source continues:

 

If you join REBT, follow REBT, promulgate REBT – as designed and promoted by Dr. Albert Ellis – then you will tend to deny that there is a case to be made that people should treat each other fairly.

 

What are my objections to this ‘anti-fairness stance’?

 

Firstly, the REBT position on fairness is a formal rejection of the basis of most systems of morality.  It is a rejection of the Golden Rule, which states that we should treat others as we wish them to treat us; and we should never treat them worse than we would want them to treat us, if our roles were reversed!

 

Secondly, you will tend to believe that you cannot use the word should at all – even though I use it validly to point to a moral prescription, rather than an absolute demand.

 

Thirdly, you will tend to echo Ellis’s anthem which says this: “Why must life be fair when it’s obviously unfair!”  (Of course, the mistakes that Ellis makes here are these:

 

(1) Life is not always unfair. Sometimes it’s fair! And:

 

(2) To say that life should be fair, could either be an absolute demand, or a moral prescription; and a moral prescription is a valid ethical category of thought. But Ellis had no time for moral prescriptions, because he was an amoralist.  And he was also a dogmatist, and not (as is sometimes claimed on his behalf) a Skeptic!

 

Fourthly, when somebody tells you that a friend of theirs hurt their feelings, you will tend to echo Ellis’s invalid equation, to the effect that “Nobody can hurt you, except by using a baseball bat or similar!”  (But I have shown in my major critique of REBT that there is modern neuroscientific research which shows that physical pain and emotional pain are mediated and processed through overlapping areas of neurology, or brain areas, which means there is a substantial similarity between both kinds of pain!  And emotional pain is a valid category of human experience, which should not be discounted by self-denying Extreme Stoics.

 

Denial of the prescription “people should treat each other fairly” begs the question regarding what “fairly” means. If one is to rigidly demand what should be the case, clarification of fairness is required.

 

The word “fair” may be defined as that which is marked by impartiality and honesty: free from self-interest, prejudice, or favoritism. However, fairness is a subjective quality.

 

For instance, person X may conclude that fair treatment of others results when every person within a society receives equal opportunity to succeed. In this way, disadvantageous barriers to a starting point in life are removed or leveled for all individuals.

 

However, person Y may argue that not everyone will achieve the same level of success in regard to person X’s proposal, because of historical and systematic marginalization of specific groups of people. Therefore even with barriers to opportunity cleared, some groups start out behind.

 

Consequently, person Y may reject fairness in the interest of equality of opportunity while favoring fairness in the interest of equity. This measure requires de-elevating one group while elevating another group.

 

As such, person Y’s proposal isn’t about achieving equal outcomes. Rather, this form of pseudo-fairness actually centers group-interest, exercises prejudice, or enforces favoritism. Consequently, fairness doesn’t mean the same thing to each individual.

 

Thus, subjective principles of fairness require definitional standards before prescribing whether or not one should behave in a fair manner. REBT recognizes rational examination of this sort, though critical analysis of this kind appears to be lost on the skeptical source.

 

Aside from differing standards of fairness, the skeptical source invokes the golden rule, claiming that REBT rejects this proposition. However, REBT literature suggests otherwise. According to page 13 of A Practitioner’s Guide to Rational-Emotive Behavior Therapy (3 edition):

 

Virtually all Judeo-Christian religions are based on the golden rule, and the golden rule is the essence of REBT philosophy. REBT provides and ethical system for how we are to treat other people, and a nonjudgmental philosophy of accepting oneself and others exactly as they are. Nonetheless, REBT is more aligned with ethical humanism than with religion.

 

In ethical humanism, the reasoning individual is the source of wisdom, not almighty “God.” The concept of “God” is not needed to explain the creation of things (that is the job of science), or to generate an ethical code (for that can be done by clear thinking). Ellis himself was clearly an atheist, and in several articles postulated that although religion (that is, a philosophy of life) may be rational, religiosity (that is, dogmatic and absolute faith unfounded on fact) is not merely the opiate of the masses but a major cause of psychopathology (Ellis, 1987b).

 

Not only does REBT value the golden rule, it’s intertwined with the values of humanism which one resource describes as “a philosophical stance that emphasizes the individual and social potential, and agency of human beings, whom it considers the starting point for serious moral and philosophical inquiry.” Moreover, one REBT source notes:

 

Ellis says that REBT includes both self-interest and social interest, and that individuals would be better served by being concerned about the welfare both of particular individuals and of one’s community. In other words, REBT upholds both individualism and social involvement, and not just one to the exclusion of the other. In fact, Ellis has described the emotionally and mentally healthy individual as having the following traits:

 

·  Is considerate and fair to others

·  Avoids endlessly harming others

·  Engages in collaborate and cooperative endeavors

·  Is altruistic

·  Enjoys some measure of interpersonal and group relationships

 

Rational self-interest isn’t antithetical to social-interest. You can do unto others as you would have them do unto you through consideration of your values and the values of others. Ultimately, REBT practice doesn’t value an irrational either-or option.

 

Thus, I reject the first point of the skeptical source’s objection to an REBT alleged “anti-fairness stance.” Likewise, I reject the second point regarding this supposed stance.

 

Attempting to demonstrate that REBT presumably leads one to conclude that “you cannot use the word should at all,” the resource in effect makes use of a tautology—needless repetition of an idea, statement, or word. Saying that a person “cannot” use “should” statements is the same thing as saying an individual shouldn’t use should statements.

 

Additionally, the skeptical source differentiates between “moral prescription” (e.g., you shouldn’t judge others) and an “absolute demand” (e.g., under no circumstances whatsoever should you inconvenience me). Regarding the latter, one REBT resource states:

 

In [REBT] we teach you to identify and question these absolutistic attitudes. We call this process of questioning the impact and validity of your absolute “shoulds” disputing your self-defeating attitudes.

 

Morals relate to principles of right or wrong, good or bad, holy or evil, or otherwise. These subjective imperatives may be challenged, though I don’t attempt to persuade people to abandon their moral framework when practicing REBT.

 

For instance, if person X believes it’s immoral to engage in infidelity, I don’t dispute this personal moral should-type inference (i.e., you shouldn’t cheat on your spouse). If maintained at the individual level and not committing the moralistic fallacy, there’s nothing inherently self-disturbing about this subjective principle.

 

The logical form of the moralistic fallacy is: X should be; therefore, X is. For instance: Infidelity is wrong and shouldn’t be practiced; therefore, people have no biological need to practice anything other than monogamy.

 

Maintaining a personal moral principle is reasonable, even if not based on logically sound rationale. However, if person X chooses to self-disturb with unproductive beliefs about how others should also subscribe to and practice this principle, then the moralistic should opens itself up to the process of disputation.

 

This is because person X’s personal imperative transitions into a societal or absolutistic should statement. Expanding upon this form of unhelpful assumption, one REBT resource states:

 

Rational emotive behavioral theory, then, posits that at the heart of neurotic disturbance lies the tendency of humans to make devout, absolutistic evaluations of the perceived events in their lives. As has been shown, these evaluations are couched in the form of dogmatic “must’s,” “should’s,” “have to’s,” “got to’s,” and “ought’s.”

 

We hypothesize that these absolutistic cognitions are at the core of a philosophy of devout Beliefs that is a central feature of much human emotional and behavioral disturbance (cf. Ellis, 1991b, 1991c, 1995a). These Beliefs are deemed to be irrational in REBT theory in that they usually (but not invariably) impede and obstruct people in the pursuit of their basic goals and purposes.

 

Absolutist must’s do not invariably lead to psychological disturbance because it is possible for a person to devoutly believe “I must succeed at all important projects,” have confidence that he or she will be successful in these respects, and actually succeed in them and thereby not experience psychological disturbance. However, the person remains vulnerable in this respect because there is always the possibility that he or she may fail in the future.

 

So although on probabilistic grounds REBT theory argues that an absolutistic philosophy will frequently lead to such disturbance, it does not claim that this is absolutely so. Thus, even with respect to its view of the nature of human disturbance REBT adopts an antiabsolutistic position.

 

This distinction effectively dismisses allegations regarding the second point of the skeptical source’s objection to an REBT alleged “anti-fairness stance,” thus I reject the source’s position. Stating that people shouldn’t use should statements is a tautologically unsound prescription.

 

Regarding the skeptical source’s third point of contention to a so-called “anti-fairness stance” assumed by REBT, I agree with the first conclusion made by the source, “Life is not always unfair. Sometimes it’s fair!” Even a broken analog clock isn’t always wrong at telling time.

 

Nevertheless, I reject the second conclusion made by the source, alleging that Ellis was an amoralist, dogmatist, and a skeptic! First, an amoralist is one who professes the doctrine of amoralism— having or showing no concern about whether behavior is morally right or wrong.

 

It’s arguable to claim that Ellis advocated a neither moral nor immoral subjective framework. In the aforementioned 1960 interview, Ellis stated:

 

I, for one, do not believe in rational thinking as an absolute good or a certain solution to all possible problems. I fully admit that a rational approach to life is a value judgement rather than a scientific fact and that those who wish to be irrational are fully entitled to their value judgments.

 

A value judgement is a judgment assigning a value (such as good or bad) to something. Likewise, one resource adds, “A value judgment is a thought about something based on what it “ought” or “should” be given an opinion about what counts as “good” or “bad” — a contrast from a thought based on what the facts are.”

 

Thus, a value judgment is every bit a moral appraisal as determination of what is good, bad, right, wrong, or otherwise. Therefore, Ellis advocated a “rational approach to life [as] a value judgement rather than a scientific fact,” which isn’t something an amoralist would advocate.

 

Similarly, Ellis also stated in a 2004 interview – near the end of his life, “REBT says that people’s thoughts, feelings and actions are often immoral but that they are not bad people.” Consequently, Ellis demonstrated a lifelong commitment to his own subjective moral code.

 

Second, a dogmatist is one who dogmatizes (speaks or writes dogmatically)—characterized by or given to the expression of opinions very strongly or positively as if they were facts. While it may be true that Ellis was passionate about REBT, I challenge the notion that he was dogmatic.

 

Ellis once stated, “It [REBT] accepts the religious beliefs and values of its clients and shows them how to live undisturbedly with religious, mystical, or superstitious ideas. But it questions devoutness and sacredizing—whether theological, political, economic or social—and shows people how to combat rigid dogma and absolutism.”

 

In fact, throughout much of Ellis’ writings, recordings, and videos, he denounces dogmatism. For instance, Ellis once stated, “Extreme, exaggerated, or dogmatic ‘rationality’ displays a contradiction. As soon as we take reason to self-defeating extremes and make it into dogmatism, it no longer, of course, remains reason. It then turns into antireason.”

 

Presumably, one could argue that Ellis was dogmatically dogmatic about the use of dogma, though this tautological proposition traverses the valley of absurdism. Thus, given Ellis’ own statements regarding his denunciation of dogmatism, I reject the claim that he was a dogmatist.

 

Finally, a skeptic is an adherent or advocate of skepticism—a term alluding to:

 

1. an attitude of doubt or a disposition to incredulity either in general or toward a particular object

 

2. (a) the doctrine that true knowledge or knowledge in a particular area is uncertain; or (b) the method of suspended judgment, systematic doubt, or criticism characteristic of skeptics

 

3. doubt concerning basic religious principles (such as immortality, providence, and revelation)

 

If the skeptical source supports defining standard #1, it remains unclear about what in particular Ellis or other REBT practitioners remain incredulous. Taking a charitable guess, the source may claim that REBT theory disbelieves in the A-C connection regrading psychological matters.

 

In this case, I, too, adopt a disposition to incredulity. Valuing a Stoic framework, I maintain that the B-C connection serves as a causal association regarding self-disturbance and doesn’t merely relate to a correlative relationship.

 

If the skeptical source supports defining standard #2, I posit that knowledge in this moment is subject to change. Concerning this matter, highlighting my evolving views of 9/11, I stated in a blogpost entitled What Would it Take to Change Your Mind?:

 

Rather than disturbing myself with beliefs about unavailable information, I’d rather devote my resources (i.e., time, attention, etc.) to matters which impact me and others within my sphere of influence. As an example, I’m currently writing this post with hopes it may influence the reader.

 

I changed my mind by acknowledging truth—I simply don’t have control over most matters in life and with the little time I have left on this Earth, I don’t care enough to bother myself with beliefs about the events of 9/11. With that, I moved from unverifiable claims to an agnostic perspective.

 

Am I skeptical of the official accounts related to 9/11? Yes. I maintain that a number of narratives related to the events on 9/11/2001 remain questionable and will perhaps never be knowable in my lifetime.

 

If the skeptical source supports defining standard #3, I would require more information related to which “religious principles” are in question. Herein, I’ve discussed morality and how REBT isn’t an amoral framework. I’d even go as far as to suggest it isn’t immoral either.

 

Therefore, I remain skeptical regarding definitional standards #1-3. If the claim that Ellis, too, was skeptical as outlined herein, I would ask the skeptical source about whether or not rational skepticism qualifies as a bad, wrong, evil, or an unflattering otherwise value judgment.

 

Thus, without additional knowledge at present, I reject the third point of the skeptical source’s objection to an REBT alleged “anti-fairness stance.” Equally, I reject the fourth and final point regarding opposition to the B-C connection framework.

 

Although the broad field of neurobiology reveals promising propositions for the care of mental, emotional, and behavioral health, specific critiques offered by the skeptical source are unconvincing to me. Of course, I’m willing to change my mind if or when convincing evidence persuades my positional opinion.

 

In any case, modern neuroscientific research may show that “physical pain and emotional pain are mediated and processed through overlapping areas of neurology,” and there very well may be a “substantial similarity between both kinds of pain.” I don’t take issue with these proposals.

 

Moreover, I in no way reject a proposition which claims that “emotional pain is a valid category of human experience.” In fact, the B-C connection supports this conclusion.

 

When a person believes something unhelpful about an unpleasant event, the result of the self-disturbing belief causes emotional suffering. This B-C interplay isn’t something presumably “discounted by self-denying Extreme Stoics,” per the skeptical source.

 

Nevertheless, as I stated in a blogpost entitled Of Sticks, Stones, Rubber, and Glue:

 

According to one source, the sticks and stones aphorism “is used as a defense against name-calling and verbal bullying, intended to increase resiliency, avoid physical retaliation, and/or to remain calm and indifferent.” In essence, this adage relates to the practice of Stoicism.

 

According to a separate source, the rubber and glue maxim “is a school-ground retort used by children to suggest that one’s insults are being ignored by the intended recipient of the insult and counter that the insult rather refers to the insulter. On a deeper level, it may imply that a person insulting others is an indication of their own insecurity and weakness.”

 

Similar to the former precept, the latter theorem encapsulates Stoic principles of tolerance and acceptance. Thus, these principles coincide with the practice of [REBT].

 

Presumably, the skeptical source would value disempowering victimhood over the empowering Stoic practice of a sticks-and-stones and rubber-and-glue approach to life. If such is the case – and while I reject self-victimization of this sort in my own life – less power to you!

 

Conclusion

 

In my youth, I learned of Judeo-Christian values and subscribed to principles of religiosity. Importantly, I was encouraged to consider counter-narratives to religious information though not to subvert the foundational dogmatic views I maintained.

 

Thus, I eventually set aside faith-based views while having learned to critically assess my beliefs thereafter. Eventually, I learned of REBT and its Stoic principles. In particular, I began practicing personal ownership regarding how I reacted to displeasing events in my life.

 

Careful not to be ensnared by the self-deception of blind faith, I examined REBT and ultimately concluded that it’s not a form of psychotherapy without limitations. Truly, it’s not a psychotherapeutic model that will absolutely work for everyone.

 

Still, I remain open to critiques of this fallible modality. Herein, I’ve conscientiously assessed further critiques of REBT stemming from a skeptical source.

 

While the source made some compelling points, I remain unpersuaded by most of the presented arguments regarding its claims. Presuming the source wasn’t making bad faith and baseless accusations, I’ve provided evidence for why I continue believing in the REBT method.

 

Undoubtedly, some people will differ from the conclusion I’ve drawn. As well, I’ve asked myself a number of times when drafting this post, “Is it possible I’m wrong? What am I not seeing?”

 

Inarguably, I could be wrong about some, most, or even all of what I’ve addressed herein. To suggest otherwise would represent self-assured hubris. Alas, I’m a fallible human being and I don’t know all there is to know about anything.

 

Although it’s possible that I’m missing something and REBT is an altogether unhelpful psychotherapeutic modality practiced by a cult of dogmatic zealots, I don’t believe this presupposition is plausible. Thus, after having addressed critiques of REBT, I still support practice of this model.

 

Noteworthy, as is the case with the process of science that adapts alternative positions over time when new and compelling information is considered, I may one day alter my views on REBT. For now, I’ll continue proselytizing many regarding the good works of REBT (and yes, I’m being sarcastic).

 

If you’re looking for a provider who works to help you understand how thinking impacts physical, mental, emotional, and behavioral elements of your life—helping you to sharpen your critical thinking skills, I invite you to reach out today by using the contact widget on my website.

 

As a psychotherapist, I’m pleased to help people with an assortment of issues ranging from anger (hostility, rage, and aggression) to relational issues, adjustment matters, trauma experience, justice involvement, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, anxiety and depression, and other mood or personality-related matters.

 

At Hollings Therapy, LLC, serving all of Texas, I aim to treat clients with dignity and respect while offering a multi-lensed approach to the practice of psychotherapy and life coaching. My mission includes: Prioritizing the cognitive and emotive needs of clients, an overall reduction in client suffering, and supporting sustainable growth for the clients I serve. Rather than simply helping you to feel better, I want to help you get better!

 

 

Deric Hollings, LPC, LCSW


 

References:

 

AEI. (n.d.). About Albert Ellis, Ph.D. Albert Ellis Institute. Retrieved from https://albertellis.org/about-albert-ellis-phd/

AEI. (n.d.). REBT research with Daniel David, Ph.D. and Windy Dryden, Ph.D. Albert Ellis Institute. Retrieved from https://albertellis.org/2012/09/rebt-research-with-daniel-david-and-windy-dryden/

Best Rehab Centres. (n.d.). Rational emotive behavior therapy – Techniques, pros & cons. Retrieved from https://bestrehabcentres.com/rational-emotive-behavior-therapy/

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