Overcoming Resistance: A Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy Integrated Approach

Overcoming Resistance: A Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy Integrated Approach

Overcoming Resistance: A Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy Integrated Approach

Overcoming Resistance: A Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy Integrated Approach

Synopsis

This long-awaited new edition takes an updated look at the underlying causes of resisting cognitive-emotional-behavioral change and the methods used to overcome it. Written in present-action language, Dr. Ellis gives an overview of the basic principles of Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy and Cognitive Behavior Therapy, as well as changes in the field of psychotherapy during the last two decades. Coverage of treatment is expanded to integrate new therapies.

Excerpt

This is another book that I have written in present-action language. The first one was my recent Feeling Better, Getting Better, Staying Better (Ellis, 2001a), an experiment that turned out well. I got the idea for using this style of writing from a number of sources. It was first proposed by William James and other early psychological writers and then adopted by Robert Zettle (1994) in his chapter, “On the Basis of Acceptable Language,” in the book, Acceptance and Change. It is also used, I later saw, by William Glasser (1999) in Choice Therapy.

Why is present-action language useful: Mainly, in our usual parlance, when we say things like, “I am anxious,” or “I am depressed,” it is needlessly negative and implies perpetual anxietizing and depressing. As Alfred Korzybski (1933/1991 said in Science and Sanity the statement, “I am anxious” implies that I am anxietizing right now, that this is my essential nature, and that I shall most likely plague myself with anxietizing for some time to come. This is a misleading overgeneralization that tends to maintain emotional problems. “Am” is a dangerous word—especially when used as what Korzybski called “the is of identity.” I may legitimately note that I now do good or bad deeds (by common social standards), but not that I am a good or bad person. For a good person would act well all the time and a bad person would act poorly forever. Moreover, he or she would be, by implication, totally bad—have all bad traits and actings—which, of course, is most unlikely.

“I am depressed,” moreover, ignores human constructionist tendencies by implying that I was made depressed by external circumstances: that I had no control over these conditions, that 1 view them in an awful or terrible light, and that I have little or no ability to change my depressed feelings. Quite pessimistic—and not exactly accurate!

To counteract this overgeneralized and iatrogenic tendency, in this book I shall often use language such as, “1 depress myself,” “I feel depressing,” and “I anxietize.” This terminology shows that I now depress and anxietize myself—but that I need not do so in the future. It uses verbs and adjectives to describe my (and others’) distressing, and avoids the hazards of always using negative diagnostic labels—such as . . .

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