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Albert Ellis, Chapter Review

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Chapter Review

The title of Albert Ellis' book, How to Stubbornly Refuse to Make Yourself Miserable About Anything --- Yes, Anything!, was what first caught my eye when choosing a book for this assignment. I had never read anything by Ellis before, but had studied his philosophies in my theory class. To be honest I was afraid his writing would be too formal for my taste, but was pleasantly surprised at how down to earth his writing is. He wrote this book in a self-help format, to assist people in acquiring good mental health and happiness. Ellis states in the introduction that he wrote this book because "no book as yet gives a hard-headed, straight-from-the-horse's-mouth version of RET". He wrote this book to make up for that omission.

Chapter seven is titled, You control You Emotional Destiny. In this chapter Ellis explains the ABCs of his famous Rational-Emotive Therapy (RET), an idea that he originated in 1955. He says that the basic idea of rational-emotive behavior is as easy as ABC. He assumes that people become unhappy and develop self-defeating habits because they have unrealistic or faulty beliefs. Ellis looks at problems in this way: The letter A stands for an activating experience, which the person assumes to be the cause of C, an emotional consequence. For example, a person who is rejected (the activating experience) feels depressed, threatened, or hurt (the consequence). Rational-Emotive Therapy however, shows that the real problem comes in-between the A and C. That in-between or B, is the person's beliefs or cognitions. Ellis feels you can prevent and undo your "upsetness" by gaining insight into the Bs in the ABCs of RET. He feels there are two main kinds of beliefs: rational beliefs (rBs) and Irrational Beliefs (iBs).

Rational Beliefs are thoughts that help you feel appropriately and behave effectively. They enable you to get more of what you want and less of what you don't. They can be "cool" thoughts, or calm descriptions of what is going on in your life. For example: " This job interviewer is frowning at me and may not favor me for this job." It tells what the interviewer is doing but does not rate or evaluate his act. Rational beliefs can also be "warm" thoughts or descriptions that rate or evaluate what is occurring in terms of your basic goals. The warm thoughts are "undogmatic" and are based on probability instead of certainty. For example: "There is a good chance I will like this job I'm interviewing for if I get it, but I actually may not. And even if I would like it, I do not have to get it"

Irrational beliefs are thoughts that help you feel inappropriately and behave ineffectively. They interfere with your getting more of what you want and less of what you do not. These start with "cool and "warm" thoughts just like rational beliefs, but then progress to "hot" thoughts that strongly rate what is going on; they are "absolutist, dogmatic, and commanding." For example: " no matter what, I must have this interviewer like me and give me this job! If he doesn't, it's awful



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