What is the difference between healthy & unhealthy emoting?

Posted by Rex Alexander on Wed 10 Jul 19 in Albert Ellis, Demanding, Emotions |


When adversities happen to people, they can choose to make themselves either (1) healthfully negative, sorry and regretful and annoyed and frustrated and disappointed about the happening  or (2) unhealthfully negative . . . 


When adversities happen to people, they can choose to make themselves either (1) healthfully negative, sorry and regretful and annoyed and frustrated and disappointed about the happening  or (2) unhealthfully negative  creating feelings of horror, terror, anxiety, depression, rage, and other disturbed feelings, along with dysfunctional behaviors. And even if they create these dysfunctional feelings and behaviors, they’re able  because we humans are born constructivists .”

    ~Albert Ellis  “Ask Dr. Ellis


REBT has made several unique an important contributions to the field of psychology and practice of therapy. One of the cornerstones and most important of REBT theory and practice is the premise that we can emote in healthy-helpful ways or in unhealthy-unhelpful ways, and that our so called negative emotions can be either healthy or unhealthy, not really positive or negative in the way people usually think of it. With education, training and practice, we can learn to identify healthy and unhealthy emotions, and to a large extent change the unhealthy ones into healthy ones.  For example when a disappointing, discouraging loss occurs, we can train ourselves to react to it with with healthy, appropriate sadness, rather than with negative, self-defeating depression.   Not necessarily 100% of the time, but to a large extent.




This model is one of Dr. Ellis’s unique contributions to the field, that, as far as I know, is not expressed quite in this way in any other place.  It is very important. It is game changing. Especially in these here modern times, it is a vital lifeline that can help us cut through the confusing psychobabble coming not only from the woo-woo “New Age” but also from rapidly spreading postmodern-cultural marxist ideology in the U.S. and Europe. Below is a chart with a few examples of healthy and unhealthy emotions:

Healthy Emoting Unhealthy
sad, disappointed depressed
annoyed, irritated angry, resentful, bitter, enraged
stoic, accepting, equanimity        frustrated
concern anxiety
rational regret guilt
unconditional self-acceptance shame


Please share your thoughts on what you think Dr.Ellis means by this. In your life, what do you see as the difference between healthy and unhealthy emoting, and how to you handle the latter? 

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Originally posted 2013-07-16 21:52:38.

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