REBT vs. ACT ???

Posted by Rex Alexander on Tue 27 Feb 18 in Books & Media, Happiness, Mindfulness, REBT & Other therapies compared |

We have been discussing visualizing, specifically as it relates to “Scary Pictures” in Russ Harris’s wonderful, “Happiness Trap.”

The individual says that he prefers ACT to REBT-CBT, but that he has difficulty visualizing and therefore difficulty applying  the techniques in the “Scary Pictures” section of Russ’s book.


I said that I don’t know much about ACT (Acceptance and Commitment Therapy)  proper; I am in the process of learning more about it.    I enjoyed and recommend “Happiness Trap.”  It was the title that hooked me initially.

I am not a visualizer either.  Perhaps  that is why I never became enthusiastic about Dr. Ellis’s visualizing techniques.  Apparently, it does not stimulate the other guys here much as we rarely see it brought up.  Perhaps those who are attracted to semantics-driven processes are not visualizers? 

I wouldn’t worry about it too much, except that practicing visualization couldn’t hurt, even if you only get a vague sense of it at first.  Stimulate the old right brain.  Your visual sense will become stronger with practice.  In the meantime, there is PLENTY to focus on and do  in “Happiness Trap” without getting bogged down on this point.

I loved “Happiness Trap” and it was a perfect introduction to a set of processes that were new to me.  However, there is a book I am working with now, “Mindfulness:  An Eight Week Plan for Finding Peace in a Frantic World” by Mark Williams & Danny Pennman.


Which I am finding a lot more resonant and prctical, and there are a lot of pennies dropping about questions that have left me scratching my head from other readings.

Personally, I see mindfulness as the “soft underbelly of  CBT-REBT” which superficially seem more  and combative.  However, the objective of both, as I see it, is to get to “A is A,”  not “A is A, and don’t it suck the big one!”   Start from reality, acceptance of what we are feeling, and then moving outward based upon rational choices.  Both REBT and Mindfulness understand that it is not the activating event (either external or emotional), but the secondary evaluation sand inferences we make about the event that counts.  So, at it’s most basic, whether you are talking REBT or Mindfulness, “I feel sad” is OK, it is what it is.  But “I feel sad . . . and it really sucks, and isn’t fair, and I can’t stand it, and because I can stand it mustn’t be happening . . . ” et al is what leads to misery compounded of misery. 


Khon Kaen, Thailand



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© Copyright 2018 Rex Alexander, All rights Reserved. Written For:

Originally posted 2014-04-28 05:04:37.

Rex Alexander

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I like bicycling, cinema, cats, veggies, REBT-CBT, et al, General Semantics & ePrime, Stoic Philosophy, and a bunch of other stuff.

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