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Rational and Irrational BeliefsResearch, Theory, and Clinical Practice$
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Daniel David, Steven Lynn, and Albert Ellis

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780195182231

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195182231.001.0001

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Rationality and Rational Psychotherapy: The Heart of REBT

Rationality and Rational Psychotherapy: The Heart of REBT

(p.23) 2 Rationality and Rational Psychotherapy: The Heart of REBT
Rational and Irrational Beliefs

Arthur Still

Oxford University Press

In 1958 Albert Ellis published “Rational Psychotherapy,” a brief paper marking the beginning of cognitive therapies. As the therapy developed and he gained followers, he changed the name to “rational-emotive therapy,” and then to “rational-emotive behavior therapy” (REBT). This chapter looks at the logical and historical background to Ellis's use of rational, and why this use is so relevant in understanding the distinctive importance of REBT. It starts by exploring the different uses of the word that give rise to its different meanings. It then brings out two fundamental and apparently contrasting usages, referred to here as disciplinary and emancipatory rationality. Finally, it draws on the tension between these usages to display the full complexity of Ellis's use of the word rational, and to put some of the philosophical criticisms of Ellis and REBT into perspective.

Keywords:   Albert Ellis, rational-emotive behavior therapy, cognitive therapy, disciplinary rationality, emancipatory rationality

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