Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Maybe Bloggers Should Heed Advice From Father of Cognitive Therapy

One of my commenters mentioned that Albert Ellis got ahead by popularity and is now being ousted from the very institute he started due to shifting fashions. That's not really true as this story shows.

When Albert Ellis, PhD, conceived of REBT in 1955, "it was denounced by practically everybody," he recalls. "But one of the principles of REBT is not to take criticism too seriously, so I survived."

Indeed, Ellis believes people should consider critiques of their behavior, "but never damn your being and spirit--your essential self" in the process. His address will thus urge psychologists to "hold their ground, take a stand and not defame themselves when they are defamed by others," he explains. By doing so, he believes, "maybe their views will prevail."

Ellis says he stood by his unpopular theories long enough to gain professional regard. Then "science won out" in the 1970s when "study after study started showing that REBT and cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) were quite effective."

This is also good advice for bloggers--even when your view is unpopular and the controversy flies, just remember not to take the criticism too seriously.


Blogger Susan said...

Hi Dr. Helen. Could you recommend a good, "user-friendly" book on cognitive therapy? Something along the lines of how to apply the principles of cognitive therapy to everyday life? I'm an industrial/organizational psychologist by trade so am somewhat familiar with cognitive psychology but haven't read anything on it for years. (And I don't want anything too scholarly -- I do too much of that reading as it is!)


10:32 AM, October 19, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So, is this what Andrew Sullivan is trying to do? I don't think is working for him. Maybe, Dr. Helen, you could recommend him a few books on the subject that could help him achieve that goal?

11:36 AM, October 19, 2005  
Blogger k said...

I have nearly no psychological training whatever, so this is new material to me. But FASCINATING! Just reading through Ellis' "The Essence of REBT" makes me realize how much of his theory already lives in me (yes, through a good part of my life I have been accused of being too Stoic) and how many of my teenage daughter's behavioral problems stem from her thinking and doing just as Ellis describes in his 12 irrational ideas!!

Makes me want to cut it out and magnet it on the refrigerator (yes, I know that isn't a valid therapeutic method, but cut me some slack; I only have Psych 101 in a small liberal arts college to fall back on! lol).

11:56 AM, October 19, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

good stuff - an old boss of mine used to say:

"don't believe any of the good stuff they say, and don't believe any of the bad stuff. you know what you have to do. get out and do it."

found you via instapundit

12:04 PM, October 19, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

One of Ellis's contemporaries, the late Adrew Salter, also originated a form of cognitive behaviour therapy. His Conditioned Reflex Therapy was perhaps the first of the "assertion" behaviour therapies. Not quite a firgitten man,

12:11 PM, October 19, 2005  
Blogger Kurmudge said...

"even when your view is unpopular and the controversy flies, just remember not to take the criticism too seriously."

Glad to not take the criticism seriously. Of course, for most of us out here, no one reads or cares what we think, so our issue is more about Walter Mitty self-esteem.... or, in my case, well-deserved LACK of self-esteem!

12:18 PM, October 19, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'd be a lot happier with CBT if all who claimed to practice both did and could show some positive results.

My wife ia diagnosed with OCD (and it's pretty self-evidently true) and in addition to meds which have helped a lot, she has been going to CBT sessions three times a week for the past 5 years. It is way less than evident that she is gaining much, if anything.

To date, neither she nor her therapist can point to a single behavioral change, although she does say she "feels better" about herself. Since she's a wonderful person, I'm in favor of that. I tend to suspect that her therapist's training as a Freudian analyst might have some causality here.

1:06 PM, October 19, 2005  
Blogger Helen said...

To Susan,

See my next post to find some good books on cognitive therapy to apply to everyday life.

1:52 PM, October 19, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As conservatives blogging from the liberal stronghold that is San Francisco, we learned early not take anything seriously -- except our desire to spread the good word.

But perhaps we should be diagnosed for masochistic predisposition...

4:51 PM, October 19, 2005  
Blogger Assistant Village Idiot said...

CBT often works well if done right.

One mark of a bad therapy is that you keep thinking you're right on the verge of a breakthrough, but never are.

6:26 PM, October 19, 2005  
Blogger Holly said...

Excellent post! Some people have a tendency to internalize other individual's criticisms and thus stop what they themselves are doing and allow the criticism to become representative of who they are as an entire entity. If everyone in the world did this, not much would get accomplished.

As good ole Albert would likely agree, "shoulds" are wreckless -- "I should do this; I should be like others want me to be; I should take this seriously." Shoulding on one's self is a total and utter waste of time.

I find it a sad thing, what happened to Albert Ellis. Sad that, at 92 years old, he is having to go through the tedious process of suing his very own institute -- whilst some of the board members are on his side, from what I gain, others are not which makes it even more of a sticky situation.

Best of luck to Al. I plan to send him my words of encouragement.

P.S. Wonderful blog!

12:33 PM, October 30, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Don't take criticism too seriously, unless you were Theo van Gogh, that is.

11:46 AM, November 15, 2005  
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