Post-September 11th Perspectives on Religion, Spirituality, and Philosophy in the Personal and Professional Lives of Selected REBT Cognoscenti

By Weinrach, Stephen G.; Dryden, Windy et al. | Journal of Counseling and Development : JCD, Fall 2004 | Go to article overview

Post-September 11th Perspectives on Religion, Spirituality, and Philosophy in the Personal and Professional Lives of Selected REBT Cognoscenti


Weinrach, Stephen G., Dryden, Windy, DiMattia, Dominic J., Doyle, Kristene A., MacLaren, Catherine, O'Kelly, Monica, Malkinson, Ruth, Journal of Counseling and Development : JCD


The purpose of this article was for selected Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT) cognoscenti to examine the impact of the events of September 11th, 2001, on their beliefs about religion, spirituality and their personal philosophy--including the role of evil in the universe and the implications of these issues on their use of REBT. The degree of consistency of the authors' views with classical REBT theory and philosophy was examined. The authors are current or former members of the Albert Ellis Institute's International Training Standards and Policy Review Committee, of which Albert Ellis, REBT's founder, is also a member.

The events of September 11th, 200 have multiple, meanings, to a large extent, related to how one's own life was affected and the beliefs one holds about the universe and those who inhabit it. Such events could easily stimulate counseling professionals to rethink their usual optimism about the human condition (Weinrach, 1995). It would not be uncommon for some counselors to view the perpetrators as the personification of evil, while others might describe the perpetrators as fallible human beings who committed evil acts. The purpose of this article was for selected Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT) cognoscenti to examine the impact of the events of September 11th, 2001, on their beliefs about religion, spirituality, and their personal philosophy--including the role of evil in the universe and the implications of the former on their use of REBT in a post-September 11th context.

The authors of this article are current or former members of the Albert Ellis Institute's International Training Standards and Policy Review (ITS) Committee, and therefore all REBT cognoscenti. The committee, of which Albert Ellis (REBT's founder) is a member, comprises REBT experts from around the world. The committee serves several functions, including the approval of REBT training programs worldwide. Each current and former committee member was invited to write two essays. In the first essay, committee members were asked to identify themselves religiously in terms of how "others know you" and then to briefly describe their religious and spiritual thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. In the second essay, which was defined as the "meat of this project," committee members were asked to describe the impact that their personal religious and spiritual background had on their use of REBT with clients and how the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon and the crash of Flight 93 in Pennsylvania influenced their thinking about good and evil. Prospective authors were asked to convey to the reader how their own and REBT's views (however similar or different) of good and evil have had an impact on their conceptualization of human-initiated disaster. As the project evolved and first drafts were reviewed, it became clear that those who had experienced terrorism or had strong views about terrorism could make a unique contribution, therefore an optional section tided "Personal Context" was added. Out of the 17 former and current members of the ITS committee who were invited, 7 completed the original task and 6 added the optional section. All essays were completed prior to September 30th, 2002, after which there were subsequent terrorist bombings.

All essays were edited for uniformity and consistency. Key words, phrases, and concepts commonly used by REBT counselors have been italicized so as to sensitize readers to REBT's nomenclature (for more information see Dryden & Neenan, 1996). The order of authorship, and therefore the order in which the responses are presented in the article, was based on the order in which the first drafts were received. In the past, then current members of the ITS committee have participated in writing three other articles (Weinrach, 1996;Weinrach et al., 2001; Weinrach et al., 1995). This is the fourth such article in an ongoing series.

INDIVIDUAL PERSPECTIVES

Stephen G.

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Post-September 11th Perspectives on Religion, Spirituality, and Philosophy in the Personal and Professional Lives of Selected REBT Cognoscenti
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