Academic journal article American Journal of Psychotherapy

Better, Deeper, and More Enduring Brief Therapy

Academic journal article American Journal of Psychotherapy

Better, Deeper, and More Enduring Brief Therapy

Article excerpt

ALBERT ELLIS: Better, Deeper, and More Enduring Brief Therapy. Brunner/Mazel, Inc., New York, 1996, 301 pp. $38.95, ISBN 0-87630-792-6.

Why another book? The father of REBT (Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy) claims to offer psychotherapists a treatment model and the strategies and tools for making brief therapy an even more effective reality After more than 50 years and 50 books, Dr. Ellis shows he is nothing if not open minded. He acknowledges that the views he now has are somewhat different from those he previously held and may well change. However, he still believes that his hypothesis about brief therapy-especially deep, intensive, and "elegant" brief therapy are valid.

What has changed? He started in 1955 as a "logical positivist" believing in a universe of "real" and "objective" truths. Now he says: "Alas, I was largely wrong about this" (p. 254). He now considers himself in Karl Popper's camp as a critical realist, feeling there is no absolute and incontestable truth. What we call reality is largely social reality and all things and humans indeed change. Therefore, rationality and reason do not necessarily lead to good and beneficial results.

However, his main point is that if we assume that emotional health is good and desirable and emotional disturbances are less good and less desirable, we are back in the business of psychotherapy, even if we cannot prove our assumptions. The goal, then, is to show that one set of principles and practices usually, under most conditions, works better for our defined mental health goals than another. Admitting he is a prejudiced observer of his own results, he calls for the scientific therapeutic community to validate (or invalidate) his brief-therapy hypotheses. …

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