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:
angry, resentful, bitter, enraged
stoic, accepting, tolerant, equanimity
*Ellis and Dryden both refer to healthy and unhealthy anger.I also recall Dr. Ellis saying something to the effect that he could not think of an occasion where anger was actually justified. In all due respect to both Drs. Ellis and Dryden, I don’t think the use of anger in a positive context is helpful. I go back to basics and choose to regard anger as something that is provoked by demands, most notably; shoulds, oughts and musts. Therefore I deliberately choose and prefer the words above, annoyed and irritated; When things go wrong, we strive to feel merely irritated or annoyed, but not anger
**In my view, shame is always erroneous, unnecessary and in appropriate. Shame results from “rating” and “self-downing” and is best distinguished from “rational regret (traditionally, “guild”). Shame is about self, guilt is about behavior. Some rational regret–if not self-indulgent–can be constructive, if used that way.
Have acceptance that your present path is not likely to work, acceptance that hassles will still exist, acceptance that you had better try a different path, and acceptance that the new path (or any new paths) may still not work."Albert Ellis Founder REBT "The Daily Al" Jonathan von Breton, CCMHC… (next quote)
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