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The revised ABC's of rational-emotive therapy (RET)

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Journal of Rational-Emotive and Cognitive-Behavior Therapy Aims and scope Submit manuscript

Conclusion

Although I was perceptive enough to realize, in my first paper on rational-emotive therapy (RET) in 1956, that cognitions, emotions, and behaviors almost always are not pure or disparate but significantly include each other, I have appreciably added to this concept and have stressed forceful emotive and educative, as well as strong behavioral, techniques of RET in recent years. I have also increasingly pointed out that the ABC's of RET-A standing for Activating Events, B for Beliefs about these events, and C for emotional and behavioral Consequences of these Beliefs-also influence, include, and interact with each other. The present paper gives salient details of how A's, B's, and C's, as well as cognitions, emotions, and behaviors all importantly affect one another and how they become combined into dysfunctional, demanding core Basic Philosophic Assumptions that lead to neurotic disturbances. To change and to keep changing these dysfunctional basic assumptions, RET uses a number of intellectual, affective, and action techniques that often are applied in a forceful, persistent, active-directive manner. It is more cognitive than most of the other cognitive-behavior therapies in that it tries to help many (not all) clients to make an elegant or profound philosophic change (Ellis, 1979b, 1985b). But it is also more emotive and behavioral than most other popular therapies in that it assumes that neurotic individuals' core basic philosophies assumptions are, as Muran (in press) points out, “tacit cognitive-affective-motoric structures that account for emotional experiences in the face of external stimuli,” and that therefore therapists had better teach their clients (and the general public) several powerful cognitive-emotive-behavioral methods of helping themselves change.

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Albert Ellis is President of the Institute for Rational-Emotive Therapy, 45 East 65th Street, New York, NY, 10021

This is an expanded version of the paper given at The Evolution of Psychotherapy: A Conference, Anaheim, CA, December 14, 1990. Valuable suggestions on a first draft of the manuscript were made by Ted Crawford, Seymour Epstein, Russell Grieger, J. Christopher Muran, Hedwin Naimark, Gina Vega, Emmett Velten, Janet L. Wolfe, and Paul J. Woods. However, all responsibility for the content is that of the author.

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Ellis, A. The revised ABC's of rational-emotive therapy (RET). J Rational-Emot Cognitive-Behav Ther 9, 139–172 (1991). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF01061227

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