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  • Writer's pictureDeric Hollings

The REBT Therapist's Pocket Companion

 

 

When undergoing official training for Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT) in 2021, I purchased a book entitled The REBT Therapist’s Pocket Companion. Having read it at that time, I think it may be useful to now share what I learned from the text.

 

Because I don’t intend on plagiarizing the published content, I won’t quote the 240 pages of material verbatim. Nonetheless, I think summary of selected pages with added commentary from me may benefit those interested in learning more about REBT.

 

With this in mind, the reader is invited to secure a copy of the book for one’s own informational purposes. Still, this text is intended for clinicians and I reference it for the sole benefit of psychoeducation—the process of learning related to psychotherapy.

 

Now, without further ado, I contemplate a quote from the originator or REBT—Albert Ellis, Ph.D.—who wrote the forward to The REBT Therapist’s Pocket Companion by stating, “[T]he clients – and not REBT theory – come first!”

 

I think this is an important distinction for REBT practitioners to remember, because it’s easy to fall into a purist perspective regarding one’s chosen psychotherapeutic modality. I was reminded of this when recently undergoing training for Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), originated by Marsha Linehan.

 

Some adherents to Linehan’s well-researched modality reportedly maintain that it isn’t true DBT if the method isn’t rigidly practiced according to Linehan’s intentions. Likewise, I suppose one could also conclude that unless REBT isn’t used according to how Ellis envisioned the practice, it isn’t true REBT—though this assumption would be incorrect.

 

In The REBT Therapist’s Pocket Companion, Ellis plainly expresses that what comes first is the client, not REBT theory. In fact, Ellis once expanded upon this point in an interview by stating:

 

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 judgment rather [than] a scientific “fact,” and those who wish to be irrational are fully entitled to their value judgments […] I don’t personally care whether you decide to be rational, and I have no intention of forcing you to be, even though I believe that you would in all probability be better off if you did favor rationality […] Rationality is not good for all purposes, but only for specific goals. If you want to be desperately unhappy, for example, I would strongly advise you not to attempt to be rational […] I don’t think that I am a rational fascist in that I try to impose [my] views on others or that I arbitrarily contend that they must be the best views. I merely say, on theoretical and clinical grounds, that I strongly believe that if you want certain ends, my system of rational therapy will help you achieve them. If you want certain other ends – such as anxiety, grief, guilt, despair, hostility, and depression – it is quite probable that some non-rational technique will best serve you.

 

REBT theory and practice aren’t the be-all, end-all answer to one’s mental, emotional, and behavioral issues. Although Ellis was using an irreverent communication style in the aforementioned interview—something I imagine a number of people won’t appreciate—I think he made a meaningful point (among many).

 

If a person chooses to obey interpretations of astrological signs, rely on tarot cards, incorporate crystals into daily rituals, or seek the services of soothsayers to resolve problems, so be it. I’ve no intention of forcing REBT on such a person.

 

Likewise, if an individual chooses to seek Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) treatment—a modality in which I’ve been trained though no longer apply—so be it. Sit with someone waving a hand back and forth in front of your face to your heart’s desire.

 

Additionally, if tracking DBT diary cards, use of behavior chain analysis, frequent individual and group sessions, and touch-up phone calls or texts with a psychotherapist is your preference, so be it. I’m not here to arbitrarily demand that you mustn’t use anything other than REBT for an improved quality of life.

 

What’s important is that a person comes first, not the psychotherapeutic modality. Noteworthy, in the introduction to The REBT Therapist’s Pocket Companion, authors Windy Dryden, Ph.D. and Michael Neenan state:

 

REBT therapists (and trainees) tend to be an independent lot with divergent ideas about the practice of REBT. Thus, we hope that you will not unthinkingly follow our ideas and we fully expect that you won’t.

 

I appreciate the candor of the authors. In fact, I stated in one of my earliest blogposts, entitled Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT), “My style may not reflect that of other REBT practitioners or the Albert Ellis Institute [AEI] as a whole.”

 

Consider that I market myself as the “world’s foremost old school hip hop REBT psychotherapist,” due to the number of blogposts I’ve dedicated to hip hop culture and my approach to REBT (118 posts at present). Still, it isn’t as though the AEI has sanctioned any of my blog content.

 

This is because each REBT practitioner may approach the modality in a unique fashion, without operating from a purist perspective, as long as the core tenets of REBT are present. As long as clients are the primary concern, we practitioners may vary in our particular styles.

 

Given the clarification provided herein, my intention is to provide a number of posts under the blog category “The REBT Therapist’s Pocket Companion,” all of which stem from content covered in The REBT Therapist’s Pocket Companion. I think this could be an interesting category.

 

Still, I suspect an astute reader may ask, “Deric, why aren’t you providing information from The REBT Pocket Companion for Clients instead?” Perhaps in the future I will expound upon that book, though in the current blog category I want to focus on my perspective as an REBT provider.

 

With all these matters addressed, I hope the reader finds value in this blog category. If you don’t, so be it. I haven’t the intention to self-disturb over whether or not others consider my posts worthy of reading and appreciating.

 

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.). Albert Ellis, Ph.D. The Albert Ellis Institute. Retrieved from https://albertellis.org/about-albert-ellis-phd/

AEI. (n.d.). The international home, headquarters, and heart of Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy and the Center of Excellence for Training and Treatment. The Albert Ellis Institute. Retrieved from https://albertellis.org/

Dryden, W. (n.d.). Windy Dryden [Official website]. Retrieved from https://www.windydryden.com/

Dryden, W. and Matweychuk, W. J. (2022, February 1). The REBT Pocket Companion for Clients, 2nd Edition paperback. Amazon. Retrieved from https://www.amazon.com/REBT-Pocket-Companion-Clients-2nd/dp/1914938194

Dryden, W. and Neenan, M. (2003). The REBT Therapist’s Pocket Companion. Albert Ellis Institute. ISBN 0-917476-26-3. Library of Congress Control Number: 20031044378

Hollings, D. (2022, October 31). Demandingness. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/demandingness

Hollings, D. (2022, March 15). Disclaimer. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/disclaimer

Hollings, D. (2023, October 12). Get better. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/get-better

Hollings, D. (n.d.). Hollings Therapy, LLC [Official website]. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/

Hollings, D. (2023, September 19). Life coaching. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/life-coaching

Hollings, D. (2023, September 15). Psychotherapeutic modalities. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/psychotherapeutic-modalities

Hollings, D. (2022, March 25). Rational emotive behavior therapy (REBT). Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/rational-emotive-behavior-therapy-rebt

Hollings, D. (2022, November 1). Self-disturbance. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/self-disturbance

Hollings, D. (2022, October 7). Should, must, and ought. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/should-must-and-ought

Research Press. (n.d.). Michael Neenan. Retrieved from https://www.researchpress.com/author/michael-neenan/

Wikipedia. (n.d.). Marsha M. Linehan. Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marsha_M._Linehan

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