The Distinction Between Quantitative and Qualitative Dimensions of Emotions: Clinical Implications

Abstract

REBT theoreticians and practitioners describe two sets of emotions (and behaviors) as a reaction to adversity, whether these are functional or dysfunctional. This article deals with the ways in which REBT practitioners and theoreticians interpret these two sets of reactions, using either a quantitative or qualitative method. It favors the qualitative approach and illustrates it with a graphical representation of the two sets. The use of graphs turns out to be particularly useful for explaining certain phenomena to clients and for teaching novice practitioners. It also provides a framework for establishing an effective new thought or rational belief.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2
Fig. 3
Fig. 4
Fig. 5
Fig. 6

References

  1. Backx, W. (2000). The Tuesday night workshop. Video demonstration of a REBT session by Albert Ellis. Haarlem: Instituut voor RET (in press).

  2. Backx, W. (2003). REBT as an intentional therapy. In W. Dryden (Ed.), Rational emotive behavioural therapy: Theoretical developments. Hove, East Sussex and New York, NY: Brunner-Routledge.

    Google Scholar 

  3. Brewin, C. R., Dalgleish, T., & Joseph, S. (1996). A dual representation theory of posttraumatic stress disorder. Psychological Review, 103, 670–686.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  4. Cornelius, R. R. (1996). The science of emotion. Research and tradition in the psychology of emotion. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.

    Google Scholar 

  5. David, D., Montgomery, G. H., Macavei, b., & Bovbjerg, D. H. (2005). An emperical investigation of Albert Ellis’ binary model of distress. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 61, 499–516.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  6. David, D., Schnur, J., & Belloiu, A. (2002). Another search for the “hot” cognitions: Appraisal, irrational beliefs, attributions, and their relation to emotion. Journal of Rational-Emotive & Cognitive-Behavior Therapy, 15, 93–131.

    Google Scholar 

  7. David, D., Schnur, J., & Birk, J. (2004). Functional and dysfunctional feelings in Ellis’cognitive theory of emotion: An empirical analysis. Cognition and Emotion, 18, 869–880.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  8. DiLorenzo, T. A., Bovbjerg, D. H., Montgomery, G. H., Jacobsen, P. B., & Vladimarsdottir, H. (1999). The application of a shortened version of the profile of mood states in a sample of breast cancer chemotherapy patients. British Journal of Health Psychology, 4, 315–325.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  9. Ellis, A. (1962). Reason and emotion in psychotherapy. Secaucus NJ: Lyle Stuart.

    Google Scholar 

  10. Ellis, A. (1988). How to stubbornly refuse to make yourself miserable about anything. Yes anything. Secaucus NJ: Lyle Stuart.

    Google Scholar 

  11. Ellis, A., & DiGiuseppe, R. (1993). Are inappropriate or dysfunctional feelings in rational-emotive therapy qualitative or quantitative? Cognitive Therapy and Research, 5, 471–477.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  12. Ellis, A., & Grieger, R. (1977). Handbook of rational-emotive therapy. New York: Springer Publishing Company.

    Google Scholar 

  13. Frijda, N. H. (1986). The emotions. Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  14. Luoma, J. B., Hayes, S. C., & Walser, R. D. (2007). Learning ACT: An acceptance & commitment therapy skills-training manual for therapists. Oakland, CA: New Harbinger Publications.

    Google Scholar 

  15. Parrot, W. G. (2001). Implications of dysfunctional emotions for understanding how emotions function. Review of General Psychology, 5, 180–186.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  16. Walen, S., DiGiuseppe, R., & Dryden, W. (1992). A practitioner’s guide to RET (2nd ed.). New York, Oxford: University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  17. Walen, S., DiGiuseppe, R., & Wessler, R. (1980). A practitioner’s guide to RET. New York, Oxford: University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  18. Wessler, R. A., & Wessler, R. L. (1980). The principles and practice of rational-emotive therapy. San Francisco, Washington, London: Jossey-Bass.

    Google Scholar 

  19. Wolpe, J. (1973). The practice of behavior therapy. New York: Pergamon.

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Wouter Backx.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Backx, W. The Distinction Between Quantitative and Qualitative Dimensions of Emotions: Clinical Implications. J Rat-Emo Cognitive-Behav Ther 30, 25–37 (2012). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10942-010-0122-0

Download citation

Keywords

  • Binary models of distress
  • Graphical representation of emotions
  • Formulating the effective new thoughts
  • Dysfunctional emotions
  • Emotional indifference