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J Rat-Emo Cognitive-Behav Ther DOI 10.

1007/s10942-011-0137-1 ORIGINAL ARTICLE

The ABCs of REBT I: A Preliminary Study of Errors and Confusions in Counselling and Psychotherapy Textbooks
Windy Dryden

Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Abstract In this study, a random sample of twenty counselling and psychotherapy textbooks were studied with respect to the errors and confusions made by the authors of these textbooks with respect to the ABCs of REBT. A total of 240 of such errors/confusions were found with most being made about beliefs at B, particularly about irrational beliefs. A variety of errors and confusions were also made about (i) the relationship between B and C (including whether or not such a relationship is causal), (ii) the relationship between irrational beliefs and disturbed responses at C, (iii) A and (iv) emotional Cs. Twenty errors were even made about the name of the therapy! It was suggested that one way of addressing this state of affairs would be for the Albert Ellis Institute to commission a group of REBT experts to write a document especially for authors of counselling and psychotherapy textbooks and for publishers of these works that species clearly and accurately agreed wisdom about the ABCs of REBT. The weaknesses of the current study were noted and suggestions for future research made. Keywords REBT Errors and confusions ABCs of REBT

A key aspect of Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT) is how this therapy conceptualises clients problems and healthy solutions to these problems. Whenever REBT is written about by its adherents, taught in professional and academic settings and employed with clients, there is a very good chance that what has become known as the ABCs of REBT will be used to show how this therapy assesses psychological problems and how it views healthy, but realistic alternatives to these problems.
W. Dryden (&) Goldsmiths University of London, New Cross, London SE14 6NW, UK e-mail: windy@thedrydens.clara.net

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The ABCs of REBT are so called for two reasons. First, the letters are deemed to stand for something. While there are several versions of the ABCs in the literature, the most frequent version holds that A stands for Activating event, B for Beliefs; and C for Consequences. Second, the letters are used to denote that the ABCs are to be found whenever clients problems are conceptualised and are easy to understand. The very term ABCs denotes simplicity. Given that the ABCs of REBT are meant to be simple, one might expect that those writing about it from outside REBT would present them with accuracy. However, this remains to be tested. Consequently, the focus in this paper is on how the ABCs of REBT are portrayed in textbooks on counselling and psychotherapy written by those outside the eld to see how accurately the ABCs are portrayed. In order to carry out a study into how accurately the ABCs of REBT are portrayed in counselling and psychotherapy textbooks, it is important to have a yardstick against which these textbooks are being evaluated. This is no easy matter as in fact, REBT therapists, themselves, cannot agree about the nature of the ABCs. Given this problem, I decided to use my own version of the ABC framework as the standard against which the accuracy of the textbooks portrayals would be evaluated. I am fully aware of the biases and problems that such a stance throws up, but in the absence of a universally accepted ABC framework, one has to use some yardstick and as sole author of this paper, I decided to put forward my own version. What follows is the ABC model that I will be using to evaluate how accurately the ABCs of REBT are portrayed in counselling and psychotherapy textbooks.

The ABCs of REBT: The Dryden Framework In outlining this framework, I will consider a specic example of a clients psychological problem as if I were assessing this problem in therapy. Situation When a client disturbs himself,1 he does so in a specic situation. This situation may be present in actuality or it may be present in the persons mind. For me the situation is not a part of the ABC; rather it provides the context in which the ABC occurs. Consequently, it is a description and constitutes what Maultsby (1975) called the camera check, where the person is encouraged to describe the situation as would be captured on camera. The important point about the situation is that it does not include any of the clients inferences. A My practice is to reserve A for the aspect of the situation that the person was most disturbed about. This is step 4 of Wessler and Wesslers (1980) emotional
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In such examples, the gender was determined by the toss of a coin.

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episode model of the ABCs. In most cases, the A will be inferential in nature and when assessing it, it is important to know precisely what the persons emotional C is, as the emotion gives a clue to the inferential theme of the A which itself facilitates a more accurate identication of the A. I will illustrate this later in the paper. In the situation in which the person experienced an example of his psychological problem, it is possible for him to make several different inferences, all of which could be As if the person focused on them and had an emotional response to them. Since, several different As are possible in the specic example of the persons problem, I sometimes refer to the aspect of the situation about which the person disturbed himself as the critical A. When I am discussing A in the context of an example of the persons problem the terms A and critical A are interchangeable. B Perhaps the most distinctive feature of REBT as a cognitive-behavioural approach to psychotherapy is the idea that emotional disturbance is largely explained by the irrational beliefs that the person holds in the situation in which the disturbance is experienced. A corollary of this idea is that the person needs to hold an alternative set of rational beliefs to respond healthily in the same situation. Irrational Beliefs I hold a classic view about irrational beliefs at B in that I agree with Ellis (e.g. 1994) that there are four such beliefs that underpin psychological disturbance and that of these four beliefs, demands are primary and the other three (awfulising beliefs, discomfort intolerance beliefs2 and self-, other- and life-depreciation beliefs) are secondary in that they are said to be derived from the demands. To underscore REBTs distinctiveness within the larger CBT community, I follow Elliss (1994) and Wessler and Wesslers (1980) lead in reserving B for beliefs, preferring to place other cognitive content, processes and structure either at A or at C (see below). On this point, I see exaggerated inferences such as always-never thinking as cognitions that are produced by irrational beliefs rather than irrational beliefs in their own right, despite the fact that Ellis (e.g. Ellis and MacClaren 1998) sometimes conceptualised them as irrational beliefs. Rational Beliefs I hold an equally classic view about rational beliefs at B in that I again agree with Ellis (e.g. 1994) that there are four such beliefs that underpin psychological health and that of these four beliefs, what I call non-dogmatic preferences are primary and the other three (non-awfulising beliefs, discomfort tolerance beliefs3
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Perhaps more commonly known as low frustration tolerance (LFT) beliefs. Perhaps more commonly known as high frustration tolerance (HFT) beliefs.

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and self-, other- and life-acceptance beliefs) are secondary in that they are said to be derived from the non-dogmatic preferences. Partial Versus Full Rational Beliefs There is one important point that guides my thinking about rational beliefs. It is Elliss idea that people easily transform rational beliefs into irrational beliefs, particularly when their rational beliefs are strongly held. Thus, it is very important that rational beliefs are carefully distinguished from irrational beliefs. To do this one needs to discriminate between partial rational beliefs and full rational beliefs. Partial rational beliefs are beliefs that assert the rational component of the belief, but do not negate the irrational component. Thus, it is easy for partial rational beliefs to be implicitly transformed into irrational beliefs, whereas this is not possible with full rational beliefs since these latter beliefs are the antithesis of irrational beliefs. In Table 1, I outline and illustrate the differences between partial and full rational beliefs. C C stands for the consequences of the beliefs held at B about the critical A. This is often shown as A 9 B = C. There are three such consequences at C: emotional, behavioural and cognitive. Emotional Cs REBT theory distinguishes between healthy negative emotions (HNEs) and unhealthy negative emotions (UNEs). Healthy negative emotions are deemed to stem from rational beliefs and unhealthy negative emotions from irrational beliefs. As such the REBT theory of emotions is a qualitative one and not a quantitative one. This means that HNEs and UNEs are placed on separate continua of intensity and not on a single continuum of intensity. There is some difference of opinion among REBT theorists concerning the length of the separate continua. Ellis (1994) argues that they are of the same length and that HNEs can be as intense at their zenith as UNEs, whereas my position is that the HNE intensity continuum is shorter than the UNE continuum in that at their height UNEs are more intense than HNEs at their height. For example, blind rage (100%) will be more intense than healthy anger at the highest possible level of intensity. Figure 1 presents these two positions. Leaving aside the above differences, the point that distinguishes REBT from other approaches to CBT is that UNEs and HNEs are qualitatively not quantitatively different (Dryden 2009). Health and Flavour of Negative Emotions I made the point above that beliefs largely determine the health of negative emotions with rational beliefs underpinning healthy negative emotions (HNEs) and irrational beliefs underpinning unhealthy

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Errors and Confusions in REBT Table 1 Distinguishing between partial and full rational beliefs Partial rational belief Partial preference Preference asserted Demand not negated This leaves open the possibility that the person will transform his partial preference into a demand (e.g. I want to do well..and therefore I have to do so) Partial non-awfulising belief Badness asserted, Awfulising not negated This leaves open the possibility that the person will transform his partial non-awfulising belief into an awfulising belief (e.g. It would be bad if I dont do well.and therefore it would be awful) Partial discomfort tolerance belief Struggle asserted Intolerability not negated (e.g. It would be bad if I dont do well.but it wouldnt be awful ) Full discomfort tolerance belief Struggle asserted Intolerability negated Tolerability asserted Worth it component asserted This leaves open the possibility that the person will transform his partial discomfort tolerance belief into a discomfort intolerance belief (e.g. It would be hard for me to tolerate not doing well.and therefore it would be intolerable) (e.g. It would be hard for me to tolerate not doing well. but it wouldnt be intolerable. I could tolerate it and it would be worth it to me to do so) Full acceptance belief Negative evaluation of part asserted Negative evaluation of whole negated. Acceptance of whole asserted (e.g. I want to do well.but I dont have to do so) Full non-awfulising belief Badness asserted Awfulising negated Full rational belief Flexible belief (or non-dogmatic preference) Preference asserted Demand negated

Partial acceptance belief Negative evaluation of part asserted Negative evaluation of whole negated, Acceptance of whole not asserted This leaves the possibility that the person will transform the partial acceptance belief into a depreciation belief (e.g. Not doing well would be bad, but it wouldnt prove that I am a failure.but I would be worthier if I did well than if I didnt)

(e.g. Not doing well would be bad, but it doesnt prove that I am a failure.I am a fallible human being whose worth is based on my aliveness not on my performances)

negative emotions (UNEs). However what gives emotions their avour and what distinguishes among the different emotional avours are the different inferences that people make at A. Let me provide an example. When a person is anxious (UNE) then, according to REBT theory, they hold an irrational belief. The healthy alternative to anxiety in

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Ellis version 0______________________________________________________________________________100 Unhealthy Anger Unhealthy Anger

0______________________________________________________________________________100 Healthy Anger Dryden version 0______________________________________________________________________________100 Unhealthy Anger 0__________ ________________________________________________100 Healthy Anger Healthy Anger Unhealthy Anger Healthy Anger

Fig. 1 Two versions of the two continuum model of unhealthy and unhealthy negative emotions with reference to levels of intensity (as exemplied in anger)

REBT theory is concern (HNE). When a person is concerned but not anxious then again according to REBT theory they hold a rational belief. However beliefs, on their own, cannot explain why the person feels anxiety or concern rather than, say, depression or sadness. What determines what I call the avour of an emotion is the theme implicit in the inference that the person makes at A which in the case of anxiety/concern is threat. While inferential themes at A determine the avour of an emotion, they cannot on their own determine whether that resultant emotional avour is healthy or unhealthy. As we have seen, beliefs are the signicant determining factor on this point. Thus, we need to understand both the inferential theme at A and the belief that the person holds at B if we are to understand the precise negative emotion that the person experiences at C. These points are shown in the formulae presented below.
A 9 B = C Inferential theme 9 Belief = Emotion A 9 iB = C Inferential theme 9 Irrational Belief = UNE A 9 rB = C Inferential theme 9 Rational Belief = HNE

Table 2 presents the eight main unhealthy negative emotions for which clients seek help, their healthy alternatives and the relevant inferential themes and beliefs associated with each emotional pairing.

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Errors and Confusions in REBT Table 2 The eight main unhealthy negative emotions for which clients seek help, their healthy alternatives and the relevant inferential themes and beliefs associated with each emotional pairing Inferential theme Threat Loss Failure Undeserved plight Immoral act Failing to act morally Hurting others Falling short of ones ideal Behaviour reects badly on social group Others negative judgment of self Others bad treatment of self; self undeserving Relationship devaluation Frustration Goal obstruction Other transgresses personal rule Self transgresses personal rule Threat to self-esteem Threat posed to relationship by a third person Uncertainty about partner in the contest of the above threat Another person possesses and enjoys something desirable that one does not have Irrational Rational Irrational Rational Unhealthy jealousy (UNE) Healthy jealousy (HNE) Unhealthy envy (UNE) Healthy envy (HNE) Irrational Rational Irrational Rational Hurt (UNE) Sorrow Unhealthy anger (UNE) Healthy anger (HNE) Irrational Rational Shame (UNE) Disappointment (HNE) Irrational Rational Guilt (UNE) Remorse (HNE) Belief Irrational Rational Irrational Rational Emotion Anxiety (UNE) Concern (HNE) Depression (UNE) Sadness (HNE)

Behavioural Cs The second set of consequences of beliefs at B about A concerns behaviour. Here, I distinguish between overt behaviour and action tendencies. The latter concern an impulse to act in a certain way, but without that impulse being converted into overt action. This distinction is important for we know that clients suppress their action tendencies and can manage to act healthily despite holding irrational beliefs. Thus, by their behaviour they appear to hold rational beliefs, but their suppressed action tendencies reveal that, in fact, they are holding irrational beliefs. For example, consider Ed, who is unhealthily angry towards his boss for criticising his work. What Ed did was to thank his boss for the latters helpful feedback. What he felt like doing, but suppressed, was to pin his boss to the wall and beat him to a pulp. Here, the clients action tendencies revealed his true beliefs and his actual behaviour revealed his ability to suppress his impulses and act counter to how he was feeling. Table 3 shows the most common behaviours / action tendencies associated with the major UNEs and HNEs.

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W. Dryden Table 3 The most common behaviours/action tendencies associated with the major UNEs and HNEs Negative emotion Anxiety (UNE) Concern (HNE) Depression (UNE) Sadness (HNE) Guilt (UNE) Remorse (HNE) Shame (UNE) Disappointment (HNE) Hurt (UNE) Sorrow (HNE) Unhealthy anger (UNE) Healthy anger (HNE) Unhealthy jealousy (UNE) Healthy jealousy (HNE) Unhealthy envy (UNE) Healthy envy (HNE) Dysfunctional behaviours and action tendencies Withdrawing from threat; avoiding threat; seeking reassurance even though not reassurable; seeking safety from threat Confronting threat; seeking reassurance when reassurable Prolonged withdrawal from enjoyable activities Engaging with enjoyable activities after a period of mourning or adjustment to the loss Begging for forgiveness Asking, not begging, for forgiveness Withdrawing from others; avoiding eye contact with others Keeping in contact with others, maintaining eye contact with others Sulking Assertion and communicating with others Aggression (direct and indirect) Assertion Prolonged suspicious questioning of the other person; checking on the other; restricting the other Brief, open-minded questioning of the other person; neither checking on the other nor restricting them Spoiling the others enjoyment of the desired possession Striving to gain a similar possession for oneself if it is truly what you want

Cognitive Cs So far, I have discussed the emotional and behavioural consequences of irrational beliefs. These are the most frequently discussed consequences in the REBT literature. However, it is also recognised (e.g. Ellis and Dryden 1997) that consequences of irrational beliefs can be cognitive in nature. Thus, Ellis and Dryden (1997) argue that the cognitive distortions often discussed by cognitive therapists (e.g. Beck et al. 1979; Burns 1980) are produced not just by a tendency for people to think distortedly, but mainly as a result of their tendency to think irrationally. REBT theory argues that irrational thinking is characterised by rigid and extreme thinking, while distorted thinking is largely inferential in nature. Thus, the REBT position is that when thinking is very skewed and distortedas they tend to be in the cognitive distortions outlined by cognitive therapiststhey stem from rigid and extreme thinking. Thus, if I believe that I must do well and I am faced with the prospect of not doing well my subsequent thinking at C will be far more distorted than if I were to hold a non-dogmatic preference about not doing well. Thus, holding an irrational belief, I may well think that I will never do well if I fail to do well on this occasion whereas I am far less likely to make such a distorted conclusion if I held the alternative rational belief. In the late 1980s, I conducted a series of experiments which demonstrated just this very point (e.g. Dryden et al. 1989). My view is that in addition to the differential effect that rational and irrational beliefs have on cognitive content at C they also have a differential effect on

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Errors and Confusions in REBT Table 4 The most common cognitive consequences of irrational beliefs associated with the major UNEs and HNEs Negative emotion Anxiety (UNE) Concern (HNE) Depression (UNE) Sadness (HNE) Guilt (UNE) Remorse (HNE) Shame (UNE) Disappointment (HNE) Hurt (UNE) Sorrow (HNE) Unhealthy anger (UNE) Healthy anger (HNE) Unhealthy jealousy (UNE) Healthy jealousy (HNE) Unhealthy envy (UNE) Healthy envy (HNE) Cognitive consequences of irrational beliefs Overestimating the negative consequences of the threat if it occurs Realistically appraising the negative consequences of the threat if it occurs Hopelessness; helplessness Viewing the future with hope; seeing self as able to cope with adversity Assigning too much responsibility to self and too little to others Assigning appropriate level of responsibility to self and to others Overestimating the negativity of others reactions to self and the extent of these reactions Realistically appraising others reactions to self and the extent of these reactions Thinking that the other has to put things right of their own accord Not thinking that the other has to put things right of their own accord. Thinking that one can initiate the healing process oneself Thinking that the other has malicious intent; thoughts of exacting revenge Only thinking that the other has malicious intent when there is clear evidence of this; thoughts of assertion rather than of exacting revenge Tending to see threats to ones relationship in the absence of evidence Tending to see threats to ones relationship only when there is clear evidence that such threats exist Tending to denigrate the value of the desired possession Honestly admitting to oneself that one wants the desired possession for its own sake and not because the other person has it

cognitive processes such as attentional focus and memory. Thus, if I were to hold an irrational belief about failure, my attentional focus would be far more on those aspects of my environment that I associate with failure than it would be if I held a rational belief about failure. Similarly, if I held an irrational belief about failure, I would access more failure-related memories than I would if I thought rationally about failure. These hypotheses about the differential effects of rational and irrational beliefs on cognitive processes such as attentional focus and memory await empirical enquiry. Table 4 shows the most common cognitive consequences associated with the major UNEs and HNEs.

Putting It All Together: Some Examples of the ABCsof REBT Having discussed the major elements of my ABC framework, let me put all this together by providing two examples. These examples will reect specic examples of two clients target problems (i.e. the problems that have been targeted for change at that particular time).

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Sally: An ABC of Hurt Sally reported that she felt hurt that her friends had gone to a party and had not invited her. She thought that they did not care about her so she decided to withdraw from them and resolved never to get close to a group of women again. Her ABC is as follows:
Situation = My friends went to a party and did not invite me to go with them A = They dont care for me iB = My friends must care for me and I cant stand it when they dont. Poor me! C Emotional = Hurt C Behavioural = Sulky withdrawal C Cognitive = I will never get close to a group of women again

Here is Sallys ABC after I had worked with her on challenging and changing her irrational belief to its rational alternative.
Situation = My friends went to a party and did not invite me to go with them A = They dont care for me rB = I want them to care for me, but sadly they dont have to do so. I can stand them not caring for me although it is difcult to do so. I am not a poor person, but a non-person in a poor situation C Emotional = Sorrow C Behavioural = Talk to my friends about how I feel and ask then why they did not ask me to the party C Cognitive = I will get close to another group of women again. Just because this group of women dont care for me, it doesnt mean that others wont

Sally talked to her friends about her feelings. Her friends were shocked that she thought they did not care for her. They explained that they did not invite her because they knew she was working on an essay and did not want to provide her with a temptation which might interfere with her work. Frank: An ABC of Health Anxiety Frank had always had a brownish mark on his arm. One day he thought that it had darkened and he panicked that he had a malignant melanoma and was going to die. He kept checking the mark and looked on skin cancer websites for reassurance which only served to further convince him that he had cancer. Being too scared to consult his doctor, he sought reassurance from his friends instead, but was not reassured when they assured him that it was not serious.
Situation = Thinking that the brown mark on my arm had darkened A = Not knowing if the change was benign or malignant iB = I must know right now that the change is benign and its terrible not knowing this C Emotional = Anxiety C Behavioural = Frequently checking the mark; looking at skin cancer websites for reassurance; seeking reassurance from my friends that it wasnt serious; avoiding going to my doctor C Cognitive = It must be a malignant melanoma and I am going to die

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Here is Franks ABC after I had worked with him on challenging and changing her irrational belief to its rational alternative.
Situation = Thinking that the brown mark on my arm had darkened A = Not knowing if the change was benign or malignant rB = I would very much like to know right now that the change is benign, but I dont have to have such an assurance. It is bad not knowing, but it is not terrible C Emotional = Concern C Behavioural = Refraining from checking the mark; not looking at skin cancer websites for reassurance; not seeking reassurance from my friends that it wasnt serious; consulting my doctor C Cognitive = It might be a malignant melanoma, but it is more likely to be a benign change. It is very unlikely that I am going to die

On consulting his doctor, Frank was reassured that the change was minor and not indicative of anything sinister. Having outlined the yardstick against which textbook portrayals presentations of the ABCs of REBT can be judged, let me discuss how the present study was conceptualised. Method Materials In this study, I randomly selected twenty textbooks on counseling and psychotherapy published in North America and Britain in a 10-year period between 1998 and 2008 that had a chapter or major section on REBT. There are two types of textbooks in the eld of counseling and psychotherapy: i) edited books containing chapters written by experts on the presented therapy approaches and ii) authored books where all such approaches are written by one or more authors. In my view, there are advantages and disadvantages of both types of book. The main advantage of the edited text is that each approach is written by an expert, while its main disadvantage is lack of consistency of writing style. The main advantage of the authored text is consistency of writing style and subject perspective, while its main disadvantage is variability of subject knowledge and possible subject bias. Perhaps the major purpose of a textbook in the counseling and therapy eld, irrespective of whether it is authored or edited, is to provide readers with accurate information on the subject covered. While it may be assumed that experts on REBT selected to contribute to edited texts would portray REBT accurately (an assumption that needs, however, to be tested), I decided to select authored rather than edited texts for investigation for two reasons. First, authored textbooks on counseling and therapy are more common than edited texts and second, since authors of such texts are not likely not to be REBT experts, the chances for errors and confusions about the ABCs of REBT are increased.

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Procedure I read each chapter and/or major section on REBT as well as every other reference that was made to this therapy approach in the twenty textbooks and detailed major errors and confusions in the following ve categories: (1) The name of the therapy; (2) General issues related to the role of cognition in REBT; (3) The nature of A; (4) The nature of B; (5) The nature of C. While errors and confusions overlap in the sense that any error about REBT that an author makes will result, ultimately, in the reader having an incorrect and confused picture of that aspect of the approach, I differentiate an error and a confusion in the following way. An error occurs when the author provides incorrect information about REBT and does so clearly. On the other hand, a confusion occurs when it is not clear what the author meant or there is sufcient ambiguity that the reader will be unclear about some key aspect of the ABC framework. Put another way, an error occurs when an REBT expert says: This is wrong and a confusion occurs when that same expert says: I am not sure what the authors is saying on this point or the reader may be misled on this point. Results The Name of the Therapy REBT has undergone three major name changes since its inception. Originally known as Rational Therapy (RT), Ellis changed its name to Rational-Emotive Therapy (RET) in 1961 and to Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT) in 1993. Since the textbooks I appraised in this study were published between 1998 and 2008, they could all be expected to get the name of the therapy correct, whether present or past. Surprisingly, this was not the case. I discovered twenty incorrect instances of the name of the therapy covering seven incorrect names as shown below: Rational-emotive behavior therapyError: inclusion of hyphen (n = 6) Rational emotive therapyError: omission of behavior or old term used without the hyphen (n = 4) Rational emotive behavioral therapyError: use of behavioral not behavior (n = 4) Rational-emotive therapyError: old term used or if referring to the current name, omission of behavior and inclusion of hyphen (n = 3) Rational emotive behavioral therapiesErrors: use of behavioral not behavior and use of therapies not therapy (n = 1) Rational-emotive behavioral therapyErrors: inclusion of hyphen and use of behavioral not behavior (n = 1) Rational behavioral emotive therapyErrors: use of behavioral not behavior and behavioral placed before emotive (n = 1)

Thirteen of the twenty authors of the textbooks surveyed made name errors (see Table 6). While eleven of these authors each made one such error and one author (i.e.

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Ivey et al. 2007: 227, 230) made two different errors, one other author (i.e. Mobley 2005) made six errors covering four different incorrect names of the therapy. Thus, Mobley (2005) called the therapy Rational emotive therapy (p. ii), Rational emotive behavioral therapies (p. 91), Rational behavioural emotive therapy (p. 145) and on three different occasions called it Rational emotive behavioural therapy (pp. 11, 87, 163). Indeed, this author never called REBT by its correct name! General Issues Before I consider how each element of the ABCs are portrayed in the selected textbooks, let me consider what these authors have to say about REBTs views on the relationship between B and C. The Relationship Between B and C REBT has both a general model about the relationship between B and C and a specic model about this relationship. The general model states that C is largely determined by cognitive factors at B and this is synonymous with the general viewpoint outlined by many approaches within the CBT tradition. The specic model states that C is largely determined by beliefs at B and this is a distinctive feature of REBT (Dryden 2009). If textbook authors are to portray correctly REBTs views on this issue, they need, at the very least to describe with accuracy the specic model. If they outline the general model, they need also to outline the specic model and make clear that while the former shows REBTs allegiance to the CBT tradition, the latter is its distinctive view. Consequently, it would be an error for authors to state only the general model and imply that this is REBTs position on the relationship between B and C. I found ten such errors in the textbooks studied. Seven of these made the point that thoughts largely determine responses at C. A typical example of this is as follows: A primary focus of this approach is teaching clients to realise that feelings are derived from thoughts not events (Gladding 2005: 148). In addition, there were three errors that stated that these thoughts are interpretative in nature (e.g. A is the objective event, B is the persons interpretation of the event and C is the persons emotional or behavioural reaction found in Todd and Bohart 2006: 294). Six of the twenty authors made this error with four authors each making one error, one author making two errors (Archer and McCarthy 2007: 271-twice) and one author making four such errors (Gladding 2005: 142-twice, 148-twice) The Relationship Between B and Disturbed Responses at C The REBT view of the relationship between B and psychological disturbance at C is quite clear. It is that such disturbance is underpinned or largely determined by irrational beliefs at C. Despite this being clear in the REBT literature, I found the following eleven errors/confusions in the textbooks surveyed. Disturbance is largely determined by:

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thoughts (Archer and McCarthy 2007: 271) whatever you are telling yourself inside your head (Kottler 2002: 111) views4 (Ford and Urban 1998: 387) interpretations (e.g. the way they interpret an event that happens in a way that involves them personallyMobley 2005: 149 and Corey 2005: 271-2)

These ve instances may be read as any thoughts, views, personally relevant interpretations and what you are telling yourself, can lead to psychological disturbance. The following six instances, although problematic do, at least, indicate the presence of some negative or irrational cognitive process: self-defeating sentences (Corey 2005: 275) self-talk or catastrophising5 (Hough 2002: 115) irrational thinking (Hough 2002: 115) and irrational thoughts6 (Ivey et al. 2007: 253) negative thinking and inferences (Hough 2002: 126127) irrational statements7 (Ivey et al. 2007: 234)

These eleven citations can be seen as both errors and confusions for the reader. They are incorrect in that none explicitly mentions the term beliefs and they may confuse the reader who may think of them as beliefs. As can be seen from the above, seven of the twenty authors make such errors/confusions with ve each making one, two making two (i.e. Corey 2005 and Ivey et al. 2007) and one making three (i.e. Hough 2002). The Causation Error REBT theorists are careful to avoid saying that B causes C. Rather, the following terms are preferred: B largely determines C; B underpins C or B is at the core of C. From the outset, Ellis (1958) made clear that A, B and C are inter-related rather than separate processes and thus B cannot cause C since this would imply that they were separate factors. This important point needs to be reected in the language employed by authors of counselling and psychotherapy textbooks if the REBT position is to be accurately portrayed. Causation language, therefore, is an error and violates the inter-relatedness principle. I found eleven instances where authors of counselling and psychotherapy textbooks stated that B causes C and in ten of these eleven instances B was deemed to cause emotional problems. Two of these authors explicitly and
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Epictetus, who is often cited by REBT theorists, claimed that people are disturbed not by things, but by their views of things. The REBT version of this is: People are disturbed not by things; rather they disturb themselves by the irrational beliefs that they hold about things. While catastrophising is the old-fashioned term for the irrational belief known as awfulising, its pairing with self-talk here is confusing for the reader. It is the words thinking and thoughts that is the problem here, not the word irrational. The rst two words are too imprecise. It is the word statements here that is again the problem not the word irrational. It is too imprecise.

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incorrectly stated that this was Elliss position, albeit without citing any published evidence (Corey 2005: 274; Todd and Bohart 2006: 294). Nine of the twenty authors made the causation error in their textbooks with seven authors each making one error and two authors making two respectively (i.e. Archer and McCarthy 2007: 271-twice and Hough 2002: 121, 127-7). A In REBT, A stands for activating event. The term activating event is problematic and confusing. It can mean the situation in which the person experienced his disturbed feelings or it can be the precise part of the situation to which the person responds with disturbance (sometimes called the critical A), mediated of course by the persons irrational beliefs. In the framework that I presented in the rst part of this paper, A stands for the latter and this is its modern usage, but authors of textbooks can be forgiven for thinking that it is the former. Perhaps the major difference between the objective A and the critical A is that the latter is inferential in nature, while the former is not. In describing A without direct reference to an example, seven out of the twenty authors on one occasion each refer to A as an objective or factual event devoid of inferential meaning. For example, Seligman (2006: 320) describes an activating event as the external and objective source of discomfort and Ivey et al. (2007: 237) say that A represents the objective facts, events, behaviors that an individual encounters. When authors refer to A as an objective situation and provide an example, they often reveal the critical A in the content of what they put under B in this example. Here is an example of what I mean to be found in Sommers-Flanagan and Sommers Flanagan (2004: 265): Jems activating event: His wife is late for dinner Jems belief: His wife doesnt love or respect him any more She is probably having an affair I found ten instances where the critical A was revealed under B as described above. Four authors did so on one occasion each and three authors did so on two occasions each (Archer and McCarthy 2007: 272-twice; Fall et al. 2004: 342, 351; Hough 2002: 116, 119). Making a clearer distinction between the situation in which an episode of disturbance occurs (which I refer to as Situation in the framework that I introduced earlier) and what the person is most disturbed about (which I refer to as A in my framework) will help authors of textbooks have a clear understanding of the two ways in which the term activating event is used in the REBT literature and thus minimise errors about A. B Authors in the selected sample made most errors and confused readers most often when dealing with beliefs at B and particularly when covering irrational beliefs.

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Irrational Beliefs In REBT theory irrational beliefs are either rigid (e.g. demands) or extreme (i.e. awfulising beliefs, discomfort intolerance beliefsalso known as low frustration tolerance beliefsor depreciation beliefs). Irrational Belief Errors The authors in the present sample made ve types of error when discussing irrational beliefs. 1. Irrational beliefs are really inferences at A. One of the most frequent errors that new trainees make when they rst learn REBT is to identify distorted inferences when they think that they are identifying irrational beliefs. I found fteen examples of this type of error. Here are some examples of inferences that authors state are irrational beliefs: Charles thinking thatthe divorce was his fault (Archer and McCarthy 2007: 272) Nick doesnt love me anymore (Day 2008: 376) The employee who believes the boss is angry with him because she did not say hello to him in the hall (Fall et al. 2004: 339) The essay must be awful.8 She doesnt even feel its worth mentioning. She probably thinks Im not up to much (Hough 2002: 116) The reason I have nothing is that the rich have taken it all (Ivey et al. 2007: 234) Life isnt fair (Kottler 2002: 109) My boss must9 be out to get me (Nystul 2006: 245) His wife doesnt love or respect him anymore. She is probably having an affair (Sommers-Flanagan and Sommers Flanagan 2004: 265)

Half of the sample of authors (n = 10) made this irrational belief as inference error with seven making it once, one making it twice (Day 2008: 376-twice) and two making it on three occasions (Archer and McCarthy 2007: 272, 276, 277) and Kottler 109, 111, 113). 2. Irrational beliefs are really cognitive consequences at C. One of the more recent developments in REBT theory has been to refer to highly distorted inferences that are skewed to the negative and appear to stem from irrational beliefs as cognitive consequences at C. An example of the difference between an inference at A and an inferential cognitive consequence at C is shown on p. 10 of this article where the person infers at A: My friends dont care for me and concludes at C: I will never get close to a group of women again. Typical examples of cognitive consequences are black and white thinking and making always and never statements.

The inclusion of the words must and awful here do not indicate the presence of an irrational belief. The meaning seems to be that the person thinks that the essay is very bad. Again the presence of the word must does not indicate the presence of an irrational belief. The person appears to have a strong conviction that his inference that his boss is out to get him is correct.

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Ellis was not consistent in his placing of what I am calling cognitive consequences in the ABC framework. Sometimes he stated clearly that they stemmed from irrational beliefs and, by denition, are cognitive consequences at C (e.g. Ellis and Dryden 1997), while at other times he saw them as irrational beliefs at B (e.g. in Ellis and MacClaren 1998). Consequently, authors making the irrational belief as cognitive consequence may well be reecting the confusion that appears in the REBT literature on this point. Having said that, I found sixteen instances where authors had described or listed cognitive consequences as irrational beliefs of which three had made this error in general terms and in thirteen other instances, authors demonstrated this error in an example. From a general perspective, Kottler (2002: 115) argued that overpersonalizing (sic), disqualifying and perfectionism are examples of derivative irrational beliefs from a basic must, when they are more appropriately viewed as cognitive consequences. James and Gilliland (2003: 239) listed a number of cognitive distortions such as overgeneralizing and all-or-none thinking and called them hot cognitions with which REBT is mainly concerned.10 Finally, Ivey et al. (2007: 234) stated that the word never is a useful indicator of irrational thinking when it is a cognitive consequence of such thinking. The following are a few of the thirteen examples where this error was demonstrated: I will never make my mother happy (Archer and McCarthy 2007: 276) No one will ever love me again (Fall et al. 2004: 342) This means that I will never be a good therapist (Kottler 2002: 111) Ill always do poorly in job interviews (Nelson-Jones 2006: 322) No-one will ever respect me (Sharf 2008: 307)

Half of the sample (n = 10) committed the irrational belief as cognitive consequence error with seven authors demonstrating this error on one occasion, three authors demonstrating it twice (Archer and McCarthy 2007: 276, 277); James and Gilliland 2003: 239, 246; Kottler, 2002: 111, 115) and one demonstrating it three times (Fall et al. 2004: 341, 342, 351). 3. Failing to distinguish between role evaluation and self-evaluation. In REBT theory, a distinction is made between role-depreciation and self-depreciation. The latter is an irrational belief, the former is not. Thus, it is possible for someone to say I am a poor father and for him to accept rather than to depreciate himself. Consequently, it is an error to regard role depreciation to be an irrational belief. I found ve instances of this error with two authors responsible for the ve errors. Archer and McCarthy (2007) made four of these errors: Charles thinking that he was an inadequate husband (p. 272) I was never a good enough husband (p. 274) I am not a good enough daughter (p. 276) Im not a real man unless I have a good body (p. 277)

10 Since REBT is mainly concerned with irrational beliefs, readers could easily infer that these hot cognitions are, in fact, irrational beliefs.

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The other error was made by Seligman (2006: 317): I am a terrible mother Clients often imply self-depreciation when they engage in role-depreciation, but in textbooks, authors need to make this point clear to readers and clarify this distinction as, interestingly enough, Archer and McCarthy (2007: 272) did themselves: .she is not a perfect daughter (woman) because she doesnt have a family/ children that she is not a worthwhile person because of this (sic)

4. Conditional musts as irrational beliefs. Just because the word must appears in a sentence does not necessarily indicate the presence of an irrational belief. Thus, some musts are conditional whereas the musts that underpin disturbance are unconditional. I found only one instance of this error: I must have a wife to be happy (Archer and McCarthy 2007: 274)

5. Catastrophising as irrational belief. REBT theory makes clear distinctions between concepts that appear, at rst sight to be synonymous or similar, but are not. Thus, awfulising is different from catastrophising in that in REBT, the former is seen as an irrational belief and the latter as a cognitive consequence from an irrational belief. Thus, a person can believe: It is awful that this catastrophe occurred or It is very bad that this catastrophe occurred, but not awful. The latter belief is deemed to help the person to process the catastrophe, grieve and move on while the latter belief interferes with this process. I do concede that this is an understandable error for authors to make since it is not prominent in the REBT literature, but it is an error nonetheless and it occurred on two separate occasions in the textbooks surveyed. For example, Hough (2002: 121) says: The urge to catastrophise about the inevitable is a fundamental cause of unhappiness in clients James and Gilliland (2003: 238) compound this error by making it clear in the following example of awfulising that catastrophic is worse than awful whereas, the reverse is the case in REBT theory: I have no job. Im 45 years old. I cant get another job. My family will starve. This is not just awful. It is catastrophic. 6. Failing to distinguish between cant tolerate and will not tolerate. In REBT, there is an important difference between cant tolerate (which is an irrational belief and will not tolerate (which appears to be a determination not to put up with something passively). In the latter, the person often believes that he can tolerate the adversity, but he is determined not to do so. I found one instance of this error. James and Gilliland (2003: 238) say: I-cant-stand-it-itis: I will not tolerate them ring me. I am totally destroyed by this and I will get even if its the last thing I do. Irrational Belief Confusions In this section, I will present eight ways (n = 18) in which authors confused readers about irrational beliefs together with four other instances where the authors meaning was not clear and therefore these instances of confusion were difcult to categorise. 1. Confusion about the nature of an irrational belief. I found six instances where readers would be confused about the nature of an irrational belief after reading the author on this point. I will discuss these in turn:

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I must have a date for New Years by tomorrow or I will be the laughing stock of the community (Seligman, 2006: 317). Here it is not clear if the demand is an irrational belief with the statement I will be the laughing stock of the community representing the cognitive consequence of this demand or whether it is a conditional must as in in order for me to prevent myself from becoming the laughing stock of the community, I must have a date for New Years by tomorrow. Gladding (2005: 142) says: Another goal of REBT is to help people change self-defeating habits of thought or behavior. He then presents the ABC model where B stands for thoughts (1. Positive, 2. Negative, 3. Neutral and 4. Mixed). Since Gladding is referring to self-defeating thought, the reader will end up thoroughly confused concerning what constitutes such thought, leaving aside the more obvious point that Gladding does not mention beliefs, let alone irrational beliefs. McLeod (2003: 132) mentions the following belief which he says is irrational because it is exaggerated and overstated: I must have love or approval from all the signicant people in my life. McLeod confuses the reader who will not know whether this belief is irrational because of the must or because of the all or both. If McLeod had provided the standard criteria for a demand being irrational (i.e. it is rigid, false, illogical and helpful) rather than being exaggerated and overstated the reader would be clearer, particularly if the rigid criterion was emphasized. I would never want to bring a child into this insane and awful world. This statement by Nystul (2006: 244) confuses the reader because it appears that the inclusion of the word awful here makes the belief an irrational awfulising belief. This may not the case. The meaning of the word awful here is ambiguous. It could mean very bad. A clear example of an awfulising belief would be as follows: I would never to bring a child into this insane world. It would be awful if I did so. Perhaps the most confusing example of an author presenting an irrational belief was that found in Day (2008: 376). She begins by incorrectly stating that belief at B is: The often spontaneous, often irrational, thought within the clients mind in response to A. She goes on to give the following example of this: Sera thinks: Nick knows that I want to watch our favourite television series together in fteen minutes, and that cigar will take all night to nish! He hates to smoke just half, and he will never come in on time to watch our show. He is so inconsiderate. I just cant stand it. He always does things like this to ruin our time together.

The only statement here that is an irrational belief is: I just cant stand it. The other statements seem to be descriptive and inferential in nature. But how is the reader to know which is the irrational belief? Day provides no help here. Day (2008: 376) goes on to provide disputing interventions designed to help Seras therapist to ask questions about the B that came between A and C. Perhaps these will help the reader identify Seras irrational belief. Sadly, these questions only deepen the readers confusion.

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Does Nick know what time it is? Does he want to smoke that particular whole cigar? Does he do considerate things, ever? Could there be another reason for his choice of cigar. Other than to ruin her evening? How bad could it really be if they missed watching part of their show together? Isnt it true that she can stand an incident like this, even if he is ignoring her?

Only the last question is targeted at an irrational belief. The other questions are primarily targeted at inferences at A. Strikingly, the one thing that Day does not teach her readers is the centrality of the demand in disturbance, an issue I will discuss in greater detail later. Five authors confused their readers about the nature of irrational beliefs with four doing so on one occasion each and with one doing so on two occasions (Day, 2008: 376-twice). 2. Confusion between an irrational belief and an inference. I found two instances where an author indicated that an inference might be an irrational belief, but this was not clear. Fall et al. (2004: 339) state that teaching people how to identify irrational thinking and how to produce rational thinking is the primary thrust of REBT. However, they provide three examples of inferences determining emotional and behavioural responses (e.g. the adolescent girl who believes He hates me when her boyfriend does not call her one evening). Readers are thus given two different views of the determinants of emotional and behavioural responses and will end up being confused. Todd and Bohart (2006: 295) claim that the following is an irrational need: I deserve to be well liked. This is confusing since while deservingness is often taken as an irrational belief, this statement is best regarded as an inference. The irrational belief would be: Since I deserve to be well liked, I must get what I deserve.

3. Confusion between an irrational belief and a cognitive consequence. I found four instances where an author indicated that a cognitive consequence might be an irrational belief or vice versa, but this was also not clear. McLeod (2002: 133) says that the irrational belief leads to catastrophizing. Since it is not clear whether McLeod regards catastrophizing as a derivative irrational belief or a cognitive consequence, the reader will be confused. Sharf (2008: 307) lists the following irrational belief: I must get an A on my exam, or I will be a worthless person, and no-one will ever respect me. This is confusing because the reader will think that the statement and no-one will ever respect me is part of the irrational belief, not a cognitive consequence of it. Parrott (2003: 313) says: Once clients begin to identify their irrational beliefs, the counselor can help group them into themes and goes on to list the following: all-or-nothing thinking, mind reading, over-generalization, discounting,

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magnication, emotional reasoning and self-blame. Apart from the latter, all the above are examples of cognitive consequences of irrational beliefs (Ellis and Dryden 1997). However, by recommending that counsellors group clients irrational beliefs into themes, it is not clear what the author is saying. Thus readers could easily conclude that Parrot is saying that they are irrational beliefs. Colledge (2002: 231) states that Individuals usually make over-generalised and unrealistic inferences in response to their absolutistic demands. For example, awfulising, terribleising, horribleising; I cant stand it-itis; a feeling of worthlessness and self-hatred and a prediction of continuous failure. While it is correct that distorted inferences stem from absolutistic demands and are thus best regarded as cognitive consequences of these demands, Colledge implies that the three major derivatives are over-generalised and unrealistic inferences and not derivative irrational beliefs which will be confusing for the reader.

4. Confusion between an irrational belief and a rational belief. I found two instances where an author confused an irrational belief with a rational belief. Colledge (2002: 233) notes that Bs and Cs interact as follows. Preferential Beliefs (Bs) lead to consequences (Cs) that reciprocally inuence Bs. So if people are rejected and consequently feel depressed they avoid anyone who may reject them because they have constructed the belief that he is an idiot and isnt worth bothering with. Leaving aside the point that it is not clear who holds the belief outlined (i.e. he is an idiot and isnt worth bothering with), the author gives an example that shows the impact of an irrational belief not a rational belief that his opening point about preferential beliefs suggests. Thus, the reader is likely to be confused on both points. Hough (2002: 102) says the following in considering the need for approval: Besides people who want to be loved and approved of at all times set impossibly high standards for themselves, since such an ambition requires continual hard work and expenditure of energy. Insecurity is also generated by this constant need for approval, and ingratiating behaviour is likely to follow. Hough confuses the reader by seeming to equate wants with needs and also by implying that desires lead to disturbed consequences.

5. Confusion between irrational beliefs. I found one instance where the author confuses the reader by making a point about one irrational belief (a rigid belief) and then by exemplifying this point with reference to a different irrational belief (an awfulising belief). Thus, Corey (2005: 280) says: Clients learn that musts, oughts, and shoulds can be replaced by preferences. Instead of saying It would be absolutely awful if, they learn to say It would be inconvenient if 6. Confusion about what is meant by a distorted evaluation. Archer and McCarthy (2007: 271) say the following: we have this basic idea that human evaluation of events is often distorted and that this distortion causes many of our problems and difculties. Readers will be confused in that they will not know what is meant by distorted evaluation. Also, the word distorted is more frequently used to describe inferences rather than evaluations (which when extreme are a cornerstone of derivative irrational beliefs). This will also add to readers confusion.

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7. Confusion due to vagueness. I found one instance where an author confuses the reader by being too vague. Ford and Urban (1998: 379) state that Both Ellis and Beck propose that deciencies in conceptual models and hypothesis-building and testing processes are the primary source of clients dysfunctional behaviour. Apart from no mention being made of irrational beliefs in the case of Ellis and REBT, this statement is far too vague and will confuse readers because it is vague. 8. Confusion about emphasis. I found one instance where the author confuses the reader concerning REBTs emphasis with respect to irrational beliefs. Thus, Ivey et al. (2007: 253) say: Ellis encourages clients to become aware of the automatic thinking that underlies many of the irrational thoughts that contribute to their psychological distress, depression and personal dissatisfaction with life! While Ellis may have encouraged clients to do this, it is not what REBT is known for11 and in the context in which this statement appears, it is misleading and confusing. The authors also confuse the reader by seeming to imply that irrational thinking contributes to depression (which is true), distress (which may be true depending upon what the authors mean by the term distress) and dissatisfaction (which is more accurately a reection of unmet rational beliefs). 9. Confusions about irrational beliefs which were difcult to categorise. I found four instances where authors confusions about irrational beliefs were difcult to categorise. Fall et al. (2004: 340) say that REBT proponents.believe that dysfunction arises out of a need to criticize self and make comparisons between self and others. Ellis views these comparisons and self-evaluations as thoroughly destructive and irrational.

This statement is confusing for two reasons. First, Ellis (2005) distinguished between two types of comparison: a) where someone compares his entire self with the self of another and b) where the person makes a comparison between an aspect of his self with an aspect of the other persons self without the aforementioned comparison of selves being made. Ellis and other REBT proponents argue that only the rst type of comparison is irrational and largely destructive. Fall et al. (2004) confuse their readers by implying that all comparisons between self and others are irrational and destructive. Second, it is not clear what Fall et al. mean by a need to criticise self. In REBT, self-criticism tends to occur when a person makes a demand on herself which she does not meet. This is very different from that person criticising herself because she has a need to do so. As a result, such lack of clarity will result in reader confusion. Gladding (2005: 148) says the following: You talk with Linda about how the use of words such as must, should, ought, have to and need make demands of wishes and lead to irrational thinking. Since musts etc. are irrational, the author confuses the reader by stating that they lead to irrational thinking. If he had said that musts etc. lead to derivative irrational beliefs such as awfulising, then this would have been clear, but he didnt.
This is more typical of Becks cognitive therapy (Wills 2009).

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McLeod (2003; 136) lists a number of irrational beliefs and then says: The belief statements used in RET [sic] reect the operation of a number of distorted cognitive processes. For example, over-generalisation is present if the client believes that he or she needs to be loved at all times. This is confusing for two reasons. First, McLeod considers the need to be loved to reect the distorted cognitive process of over-generalisation. In REBT theory this need reects the cognitive operation of rigidity and leads to the distorted cognitive consequence of over-generalisation. Second, it is not clear what McLeod regards as distorted (his term) in the belief, he needs to be loved at all times. Is it the need to be loved component or the at all times component? In REBT, it is the need component since a person can believe I want to be loved at all times and this would not be irrational as long as the person also believes but I dont have to be. Conversely, if the person believes that he needs to be loved by one person, then in REBT theory this would be regarded as an irrational belief. McLeod fails to help readers understand these subtle but important distinctions made in REBT theory. The nal instance of how an author can bafe readers concerning the nature of irrational beliefs demonstrates just how confused an author can be in their own minds about this topic. Thus, Ivey et al. (2007: 234) say the following: In counseling and psychotherapy, clients will frequently use such irrational statements as12 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. If I dont pass the course, it is the end of the world Because my parents have been cruel to me as a child, there is nothing I can do now to help myself Since the economy is lacking jobs, I cant have a good life If I cant get a scholarship, all is ended The reason I have nothing is that the rich have taken it all

All of these statements at one level are true, but all of them represent helpless thinking, a common end result of irrational thought. Iveys statement is very confusing for the following reasons: (a) It is not clear if the authors intend these statements to be examples of irrational beliefs as the meaning of the term irrational statements here is not dened (b) Only statement 1 above is an example of an irrational (awfulising) belief. Statements 2 and 3 seem to be cognitive consequences of irrational beliefs, statement 4 is confusing (it may be an awfulising belief or it may be a cognitive consequence of an irrational belief) and statement 5 is an inference. Irrational Beliefs: Theory not Emphasised I found two major areas where REBT theory was not emphasised in the discussion of irrational beliefs. i. Rigid beliefs. Perhaps the most distinctive feature of REBT theory is the central role given to rigid beliefs i.e. demands, musts, absolute should, etc. in accounting for psychological disturbance (Dryden 2009). Thus, it is important
I have inserted numbers in this quote to aid comprehension.

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for authors of textbooks to make clear the core place of rigid beliefs in such disturbance. It is not sufcient, therefore, for authors to make reference to derivative irrational beliefs without, at the very least, also mentioning rigid beliefs. Six authors mentioned derivative irrational beliefs without mentioning rigid beliefs on twelve occasions in total. 1. Archer and McCarthy (2007: 270) state that discomfort disturbances basically involve beliefs that lead to an inability to deal with frustration when things in life dont go as one wants or expects. Things become terrible and awful when one is treated unfairly or blocked in some avenue of life. Here, the authors mention awfulising, but omit any mention of rigid beliefs which according to Ellis (1994) are the breeding ground for the three other derivative irrational beliefs including awfulising. Archer and McCarthy (2007: 272-twice) give two examples where no mention is made of a rigid belief, but where reference is made to other derivative irrational beliefs. Charles thinking that he was an inadequate husband, the divorce was his fault and that his has ruined his life forever. In the following example, there are two different irrational beliefs provided and the demand is present in only the second: Sharons irrational beliefs that she is not a perfect daughter (woman) because she doesnt have a family/children that she is not a worthwhile person because of this,13 and that her mother must approve of the lifestyle choices she (Sharon) makes.14

2. Hough (2002: 115) say that According to the [ABC] model, it is not what happens at point A which causes an individual to experience disturbance or discomfort; on the contrary, it is the individuals own self-talk or catastrophising which inicts the damage, and this place at point B. Once again the author mentions catastrophising,15 but omits any reference to rigid beliefs. Hough (2002: 117, 119) goes on to give two examples where no mention is made of a rigid belief, but where reference is made to other derivative irrational beliefs. Paul believes Its awful that I failed the test and Im useless for having failed (Hough 2002: 117). There will be a lot of students there. Many have studied the Romantic poets before. They are likely to know a lot about the subject. They may not appreciate what I have planned to say to them. Some might even leave the lecture hall in boredom. My God, it would be awful. I would just dieit would be terrible (Hough 2002: 119).

3. James and Gilliland (2003: 263) say: Rational-emotive therapy theory suggests that emotional disturbance may be explained by ABC theory. This theory states that when an unpleasant event (activating event) occurs at point A, an
13 14 15

This is the rst irrational belief. This is the second irrational belief. See footnote 5 for the difference between awfulising and catastrophising.

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individual may react in two ways. One is to conclude that this event is unfortunate and disadvantageous (a rational belief).orthat circumstances are terrible or even catastrophic and therefore should not exist (irrational belief). James and Gilliland (2003: 235) provide one example where no mention is made of a rigid belief, but where reference is made to other derivative irrational beliefs, in this case, awfulising again and other-depreciation. In reality, however, Dr. James tells himself, Here is another example of stupidity and incompetency insinuated on me, and it is a major catastrophe that this jerk is now making me late for my therapy session.

4. Day (2008) give two examples where no mention is made of a rigid belief, but where reference is made to other derivative irrational beliefs, self-depreciation in the rst example and discomfort intolerance in the second. See I am a loser. No one will ever want a long-term relationship with me (Day 2008: 372). Nick knows that I want to watch our favorite television series together in 15 min, and that cigar will take all night to nish! He hates to smoke just half, and he will never come in on time to watch our show. He is so inconsiderate, I just cant stand it.16 He always does things like this to ruin our time together. (Day 2008: 376).

5. Fall et al. (2004: 342) give one example where no mention is made of a rigid belief, but where mention is made of all three derivative irrational beliefs. That is horrible! I must be a complete loser. No one will ever love me again! I am all alone, unloveable, and I cant live without her.

6. Kottler (2002: 111) give one example where no mention is made of a rigid belief, but where mention is made self-depreciation. I cant believe I blew this assignment completely. Im such an idiot!

ii.

Unqualied shoulds. As discussed above, REBT emphasises the rigid nature of irrational beliefs. In this context, the word should is sometimes referred to by the authors of counselling and psychotherapy textbooks, but without a qualier (such as absolutely should) and as such REBT theory is not brought to the fore. As I have showed elsewhere, REBT theory acknowledged that the word should has several different meanings and that only the absolute should is deemed to be irrational in REBT (Dryden 2010).

Six of the selected sample of twenty authors did this, ve on one occasion each (Archer and McCarthy 2007: 270; Fall et al. 2004: 341; James and Gilliland, 2003: 263); Kottler 2002: 111; and Seligman (2006: 317) and one Hough (2002) on three occasions. Thus Hough refers to demands as unqualied shoulds in the following examples:
16

I just cant stand it is the discomfort intolerance belief in this example.

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People should always like me (Hough 2002: 127) People should always believe me (Hough 2002: 127) Things should always be the way I want them to be (Hough 2002: 137).

Rational Beliefs In REBT theory rational beliefs are either exible (e.g. non-dogmatic preferences) or non-extreme (i.e. non-awfulising beliefs, discomfort tolerance beliefsalso known as high frustration tolerance beliefsor depreciation beliefs). Rational Belief Errors The authors in the present sample made ve types of error when discussing rational beliefs. 1. Rational beliefs are really inferences at A. I mentioned earlier that one of the most frequent errors that new trainees make when they rst learn REBT is to identify distorted inferences when they think that they are identifying irrational beliefs. This is also the case when they come to formulate rational belief alternatives. I found fteen instances of this error where rational beliefs are really inferences: one as a general point and fourteen in examples. In general, Fall et al. (2004: 343) state that: When faced with situations they nd difcult, rational people interpret the events as hurtful or disappointing but not catastrophic. Here are some of the fourteen examples of inferences that authors state are rational beliefs: I will be a good daughter and do what I can for my mother, but I am not responsible for her happiness (Archer and McCarthy 2007: 277) I havent found the right way to choose relationships yet (Day 2008: 372) My boss seems to have concerns about my report (Nystul 2006: 245) My wifes behaviour is independent of my own success and accomplishments (Parrott 2003: 315) I believe that my supervisor is not really familiar with my work and so is not giving me the praise I would like (Seligman 2006: 318).

Nine of the sample of authors made this rational belief as inference error with ve making it once, three making it on two occasions (Archer and McCarthy 2007: 277-twice; Mobley 2005: 150-1-twice and Seligman, 2006: 318-twice), and one making it on four occasions (Day 2008: 372, 376-three times). 2. Rational beliefs are really cognitive consequences at C. I mentioned earlier in this paper that a recent development of REBT is the emphasis placed on the cognitive consequences of beliefs. When these beliefs are irrational, their cognitive consequences tend to be highly distorted and skewed to the negative and when they are rational, their cognitive consequences are realistic and balanced. I found just one instance when an author put forward a rational belief that was really a cognitive consequence. Thus, Todd and Bohart (2006: 297) put forward the rational belief: I would prefer not to act that way. I will try to do better next time. The latter statement forms part of the rational belief, but is really a cognitive consequence of that belief.

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3. Rational beliefs are really role evaluations. In the section on irrational belief errors, I mentioned that it was an error to state that a role evaluation was an irrational belief. I found one instance where an author stated that a role evaluation was a rational belief: I will be a good daughter and do what I can for my mother (Archer and McCarthy (2007: 277). 4. Rational beliefs are really feeling statements. On three occasions, McLeod (2002) gives examples of rational beliefs which seem to be feeling statements rather than beliefs. Thus: I enjoy being loved by others. (McLeod 2003: 133) I feel most secure when the majority of the people in my life care about me. (McLeod 2003: 133) I enjoy the feeling of being loved and accepted by another person, and if this is not available to me I can sometimes feel unhappy. (McLeod 2002: 136)

5. Rational beliefs lessen disturbance. REBT theory states that rational beliefs are qualitatively, rather than quantitatively different from irrational beliefs. As a result, rational beliefs do not lessen disturbance; rather they help people to have a healthily negative, but undisturbed set of responses to lifes adversities (Dryden 2009; Ellis 1994). Hough (2002) makes this error on three separate occasions. Thus: .and to substitute rational and less disturbing beliefs in their place (Hough 2002: 139). Homework assignments.are designed to correct the clients irrational beliefs and to help him replace them with more realistic and less disturbing language or self-talk (Hough 2002: 128). Eleanor was also asked by the counsellor to practise changing her internal language so that her thinking would become less rigid and self-sabotaging (Hough 2002: 137).

Rational Belief Confusions In this section, there were four instances where, in my view, readers would have been confused about the nature of a rational belief after reading what three of the samples authors had to say on this topic. In giving a rational belief alternative to the following belief: I must be approved or accepted by people I nd important, James and Gilliland (2003: 254) provide the following: While it would be grand if everyone thought I was great, thats not going to happen, particularly if Im me. And if I am me and people like me, Ill know they really like me for what I really am and not for what I pretend to be. Furthermore, Im only anxious about this. It isnt dangerous. Its a bit uncomfortable right now, but risk in any new situation is distressing.

The above statement contains a number of different components. Parts of it provide partial components of rational beliefs which are not negated (see below), while others are inferential. One is even a feeling statement. Consequently readers will be confused about why this statement is rational.

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Kottler (2002: 111) provides the following: Oh well, so what if the grade isnt what I wanted. Ill do better next time. While Kottler does not state that this is a rational belief, it is put forward as a contrast to an irrational belief in a section under the heading The Irrational Belief. This is confusing in itself. In addition, the statement oh well, so what if can be taken as an indifference belief rather than a rational belief. Finally, the statement Ill do better next time seems more like a cognitive consequence of a rational belief than an integral part of such a belief. In short, the reader will be left very confused by Kottler on the nature of a rational belief after reading his example. Another statement put forward by Kottler (2002: 113) as a rational belief is even more confusing for the reader. This statement is as follows: Well it is a little disappointing that I didnt do well as I had hoped. And I do think that the assignment was rather unclear and inconsistently graded. But that is the way things sometimes go in this imperfect world. Just because I didnt perform perfectly doesnt mean I wont do better on the next assignment. Even if I dont improve, these tasks in class dont reect how well I will do in the eld. But they do provide useful feedback that I can use to improve my knowledge and skills. So this is hardly a terrible disaster, merely a very minor setback.

Only the last sentence is an accurate example of a (non-awfulising) rational belief where the badness component is acknowledged (albeit in a diluted form i.e. very minor) and the awfulising component is negated. The other parts of the statement are partial rational beliefs or inferences. Seligman (2006: 322) begins by presenting the following irrational belief: My supervisor should praise me more and is a jerk for not seeing how hard I work. It is awful that I work so hard and am not valued as I ought to be. Then Seligman puts forward the following rational belief alternative to Martins irrational belief: Although I am disappointed that my evaluation was average, it is not the end of the world. I will take steps to familiarize my supervisor with my work and hopefully obtain a more positive evaluation next time.

This rational belief is not a point-by-point alternative to the irrational belief, which it needs to be if readers are to be clear about the nature of the rational belief provided. Also, Seligman fails to provide a exible, non-dogmatic preference alternative to the (unqualied) should in the rational belief. Compare my own proposed rational belief alternative to that provided by Seligman: I wish my supervisor would praise me more, but sadly he does not have to do so. He is not a jerk for not seeing how hard I work. Rather, he is a fallible human being who is doing what I consider to be the wrong thing. It is bad, but not awful that I work so hard and not valued as I would to be, but dont have to be. Rational Beliefs: Theory Not Emphasised I found ve areas where REBT theory was not emphasised in the discussion of rational beliefs.

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i. No exible beliefs mentioned. REBT theory states that at the core of a healthy response to adversity is a exible belief where the person asserts her preference and negates her demand. I found six instances where neither a full nor a partial exible belief was put forward in the authors discussion of a rational belief. In the one general case of this de-emphasis that I found, James and Gilliland (2003: 263) state the following: Rational-emotive therapy theory suggests that emotional disturbance may be explained by ABC theory. This theory states that when an unpleasant event (activating event) occurs at point A, an individual may react in two ways. One is to conclude that this event is unfortunate and disadvantageous (a rational belief).or.that circumstances are terrible or even catastrophic and therefore should not exist (irrational belief). In this statement, by only mentioning a nonawfulising belief (albeit in a partial form) and omitting the exible belief, James and Gilliland (2003) are clearly de-emphasising the REBT theoretical position on the central role of exibility in rational beliefs. I found ve examples of this de-emphasis. Here are a couple of examples: Too bad I failed the test. Its disappointing. Ill have to take more lessons. (Hough 2002: 117) How unfortunate it is that I have been red because it will be inconvenient to look for a job. (James and Gilliland, 2003: 238).

The six instances (ve examples and one general point) of the de-emphasis of exibility in rational beliefs were found in the work of three authors with two examples found in Hough (2002: 117, 119) and three in James and Gilliland (2003: 235, 238, 263). ii. Partial rational beliefs presented: Partial exible beliefs (or partial preferential beliefs). In the rst part of this paper, I presented my version of the ABC framework and was very clear in distinguishing rational from irrational beliefs. Thus, the essence of a exible belief is where the person states his preference and notes explicitly that this preference does not have to be met (e.g. I want to do well, but I dont have to do so). If he just articulates his preference, this is known as a partial exible or preferential belief and the person can implicitly transform this into a rigid belief (e.g. I want to do well.and therefore I have to do well). I found eight instances of this de-emphasis; one was a general point and the other seven were examples of this point. In the one general point that I found, NelsonJones (2006: 308) states: B Belief system involving preferential thinking: I prefer to have my important Goals unblocked and fullled. It would have been more accurate for Nelson-Jones to have stated: I prefer to have my important Goals unblocked and fullled, but I dont have to do so. Of the seven examples, each was made by one author. Here is a selection of these examples with the full version of this exible belief also provided: I would like to make my mother happy (Archer and McCarthy 2007: 276). The full version would be: I would like to make my mother happy, but it does not follow that I have to do so.

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I dont like this failure, and I wish it had not occurred (Ford and Urban 1998: 390). The full version would be: I dont like this failure, and I wish it had not occurred, but that does not mean that my wish must be fullled. I dont like to fail a test (Sharf 2008: 305). The full version would be: I dont like to fail a test, but there is no reason why I must not do so.

iii. Partial rational beliefs presented: Partial non-awfulising beliefs. A full awfulising belief occurs where the person asserts the badness of the adversity, but explicitly negates that it is awful (e.g. It would be is bad if I dont do well, but it would not be awful). If the person just asserts the badness of the adversity, this is known as a partial non-awfulising belief and the person can implicitly transform this into an awfulising belief (e.g. It would be bad if I dont do well.and therefore it would be awful). I found ve instances of this de-emphasis: two made in general points and three in examples. Dealing with the general points rst, Corey (2005: 280) says: Clients learn that musts, oughts, and shoulds can be replaced by preferences. Instead of saying It would be absolutely awful if., they learn to say It would be inconvenient if. What would be more consistent with REBT theory would be the statement: It would be inconvenient, but not awful if James and Gilliland (2003: 263) say that concluding that an event is unfortunate and disadvantageous is a rational belief. Once again they do not make it clear that a full non-awfulising belief would involve negating the idea that it would be awful. The three examples of a partial non-awfulising belief were as follows: Too bad I failed the test. Its disappointing Hough (2002: 117) How unfortunate it is that I have been red because it will be inconvenient to look for a job. (James and Gilliland 2003: 238) This is too bad; I dont like to fail a test. (Sharf, 2008: 305)

Four authors de-emphasized the importance of stating a full non-awfulising belief, three doing so on one occasion and one doing so on two occasions (James and Gilliland, 2003: 238, 263). iv. Partial rational beliefs presented: Partial acceptance beliefs17A full acceptance belief occurs where the person does three things: (a) acknowledges the negativity of an aspect of himself or what has happened to him, (b) negates that this aspect or experience means that he is worthless and (c) asserts his fallibility, unrateability and that he is in ux (e.g. I have been demoted, but this does not mean that I am worthless. I am fallible, unrateable and capable of change and this is true whether I was demoted or not). If the person only takes the rst two steps, this is known as a partial self-acceptance belief and the person can implicitly transform this into a self-depreciation belief (e.g. I have been demoted, but this does not mean that I am worthless. However, I would be worthier if I hadnt been demoted.) I found two instances where the author did not present a full selfacceptance belief.
17 In this section I will discuss this issue with respect to partial and full self-acceptance beliefs. The same points are relevant to partial and full other-acceptance and life-acceptance beliefs.

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Even if I do behave foolishly at times, this does not make me a foolish person (Corey 2005: 279) Just because I dont understand everything about these theories doesnt make me stupid (Parrott 2003: 317).

As can be seen from these two examples, in partial self-acceptance beliefs, the person makes clear who he is not, but does not make clear who he is. v. The pantomime horse. In what I call the pantomime horse rational belief, the person asserts the rst part of one rational belief and negates the irrationality of a different rational belief. A common pantomime horse belief pairs the front half of a exible belief with the back half of a non-awfulising belief. This pairing appears in the two instances of the pantomime horse rational belief that I found in our sample. Its nice to be liked, but not everybody will like me, and that isnt the end of the world (Corey 2005: 279) It would be nice to live in a warm country abroad, but it isnt awful that I dont (Hough 2002: 137).

To make REBT theory transparent here, both parts of the two rational beliefs need to be expressed in their full form (e.g. It would be nice to live in a warm country abroad, but I dont have to do so. It would be bad if I dont, but not awful. C In the rst part of the paper, I noted that C can be emotional, behavioural and cognitive. The present sample of authors largely discussed emotional Cs. Emotional Cs Emotional C Errors I found ten errors when authors discussed emotional Cs 1. More than one C in an ABC In the rst part of this paper, I distinguished between what might be called the situational A and the critical A. The former represents the situation in which the person disturbed himself and latter is that aspect of the situation about which the person was most disturbed. The latter tends to be used as A in modern REBT. This distinction is important when considering C. When A is situational, many Cs can be experienced, but it is not clear what these emotions are about. However, when A is critical, only one C can be experienced and there is a theme in the A that is representation of that emotion (Dryden 2009). It follows therefore that a number of critical As can be found within one situational A. I found ten instances where the author provided more than one C when outlining an ABC example with two authors doing this twice (Archer and McCarthy 2007: 272-twice and Colledge 2002: 232-twice). In nine of the ten instances, the ABC described a psychologically disturbed response to a negative situational A. In ve of these, the author provided three unhealthy negative emotions (UNEs), in two the author provided two UNEs (Colledge 2002: 232-twice), in one instance the author (Sommers-Flanagan and

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Sommers Flanagan 2004: 265) provided four UNEs and one HNE (healthy negative emotion) and in one the author provided three UNEs and one HNE (Archer and McCarthy 2007: 272). Here are a few examples: A = Sharons mother showing her the picture of her sisters baby and remarking that her grandchildren are the only things that really make her life worthwhile. C = anxious, angry and hurt (Archer and McCarthy 2007: 272) A = My supervisor gave me an average rating on my evaluation. C = anger, shame, and anxiety (Seligman 2006: 321). In the one instance where the ABC described a psychologically healthy response to a negative situational A, the author provided three HNEs (Hough 2002: 117) as follows: A = Paul fails his driving test; C = regret, disappointment, irritation

2. Emotional Cs are too vague. REBTs emotional theory requires specicity and clarity in detailing emotional Cs when explaining the ABC model and exemplifying this model (see Dryden 2009). I found four instances when such specicity and clarity in authors writings on this issue were lacking with three authors doing this once and one author doing so twice (Hough 2002: x, 126127). In three of these four instances, authors talked about the vague term emotional upset instead of the term preferred in REBT theory i.e. emotional disturbance. The other vague term employed was serious emotional reaction (Nystul 2006: 244). I found two instances where authors were also too vague in exemplifying the ABC of emotional disturbance. Hough (2002: 117) mentioned the term unhappy while Mobley (2005: 89) referred to tired of acting shy. 3. Emotional Cs are really inferences at A. I found four instances where authors (n = 3) used inferences to refer to emotional Cs. Thus, the following refer to the following inferences as UNEs: victimised and ignored (Day (2008: 376) betrayal Fall et al. (2004: 351) frustration (Parrott 2003: 317)

Fall et al. (2004: 351) also refer to frustration as a feeling, but this time as a HNE. However, as Trexler (1976) noted, frustration is best regarded as an A, not a C. 4. Emotional Cs are really beliefs at B. I found ve instances where authors (n = 4) used an irrational belief to refer to emotional Cs. Archer and McCarthy (2007: 272 and Colledge (2002: 232-twice) referred to worthless as a UNE. Although this is clearly an error, given that worthless is a belief not a feeling, it is permissible to refer to feelings of worthlessness as a UNE in REBT since this phrase makes clear that feelings are being discussed, not irrational beliefs. A similar mistake was made by Parrott (2003: 316) and Seligman (2006: 216) who referred to self-criticism which is an irrational belief as a UNE, while Parrott (2003: 316) referred to criticism of ones behavior which is a rational belief as an HNE. 5. Emotional Cs are really behavioural Cs. As I pointed out at the beginning of this section, Cs can be emotional, behavioural and cognitive. However, it is an error to list behavioural Cs when discussing emotional Cs.

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This error was made by Day (2008: 376) when referring to HNEs. The following statement lists four behaviours under the heading FFeelings (new): (i)18 being affectionate toward Nick, (ii) leaving him alone, and (iii) watching the program herself. She might even (iv) simply go ask him if he plans to smoke that whole cigar! What is also confusing is that, having used the FFeelings (new) heading, Day (2008: 376) refers to the above as behaviours before listing them, thus also confusing the reader. 6. A quantitative theory of the model is used rather than a qualitative model. One of the distinctive features of REBT is to be found in how it conceptualises emotions (Dryden 2009). REBT is based on a qualitative model which regards helping clients experience healthy negative emotions about adversities to the same or similar level of intensity to the unhealthy negative emotions they originally experienced as a primary goal of therapy. The qualitative model of the emotions follows logically on from REBTs position on rational beliefs (given that they are exible and nonextreme) being very different from irrational beliefs (given that they are rigid and extreme). The quantitative model of the emotions is based on the idea that it is a legitimate goal of therapy to help clients reduce the intensity of disturbed emotions, This model implies that the difference between a UNE and a HNE is in its level of intensity. This places UNEs and HNEs on the same continuum of intensity level, whereas in the qualitative model (supported by and used in REBT) these are placed on separate continua of intensity level. I found ve instances where authors (n = 4) incorrectly employed the quantitative model rather than the qualitative model when talking about the goals of REBT in dealing with UNEs. Thus: You also work with her on not responding more emotionally to an event than is warranted (Gladding 2005: 148) As a therapeutic procedure, the client is often asked to rate on a 110 scale just how upset he feels (Kottler 2002: 112). As noted above, given that Kottler is advocating the use of a single scale, he is wrongly saying that REBT is based on a quantitative model of the emotions. But it is reasonable to expect that you can reduce signicantly the magnitude of the emotional arousal, basing it more in reality (Kottler 2002: 113). In talking about the purpose of shame-attacking exercises, Nystul (2006: 246) says that in these exercises clients learn to overcome shame by becoming less concerned about how they are perceived by others. Nystul not only puts forward a quantitative model here, he also implies that concern is an unhealthy negative emotion. Finally, James and Gilliland (2003: 235), in an example, say: If Dr. James were to tell himself, Its inconvenient that Im stuck here, but its not the end of the world, and the next time Ive got to budget my time better, then he would tend to feel disappointment, chagrin and a bit of guilt. It is the bit of guilt here that reveals the authors use of the quantitative model.
i to iv inserted by me to aid clarity.

18

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W. Dryden Table 5 REBTs view concerning which HNEs represent constructive alternative to which UNEs

Unhealthy negative emotions (UNEs) Anxiety Depression Guilt Shame Hurt Unhealthy anger Unhealthy jealousy Unhealthy envy

Healthy negative emotions (HNEs) Concern Sadness Remorse Disappointment Sorrow Healthy anger Healthy jealousy Healthy envy

7. Failure to distinguish between a UNE and an HNE. I found only one instance where an author failed to distinguish between an unhealthy negative emotion and a healthy negative emotion. Archer and McCarthy (2007: 276) say that: The main curative effort in REBT is to get the client to dispute and change the irrational beliefs. According to the theory, when this occurs, the negative consequences (C) will stop or be diminished. 8. The healthy negative emotion (HNE) provided is not an accurate alternative to the unhealthy negative emotion (UNE). Given that REBT is based on a qualititative rather than a quantitative model of the emotions, REBT puts forward a set of healthy negative emotions (HNEs) which are deemed to be constructive alternatives to unhealthy negative emotions (UNEs). REBT therefore species which HNEs represent constructive alternatives to which UNEs. While there is no agreed terminology, Dryden (2006) has suggested that the terms are used as listed in Table 5 (above). I found two errors that authors made when suggesting HNE alternatives to UNEs. Thus: Archer and McCarthy (2007: 277) put forward disappointment as a healthy alternative to anxiety and guilt about not pleasing her mother and not being the ideal daughter. The REBT-based alternatives in this case would be concern and remorse. Parrott (2003: 317) puts forward relief and mild tension as healthy alternatives to confusion, frustration and anxiety. As the only clear UNE here is anxiety the HNE alternative would again be concern.

9. The healthiness of a negative emotion is determined by A not B. As we have seen, the REBT model of emotions is based on the ideas that emotions are largely determined by the beliefs held (at B) about adversities at A. Despite this being a key principle of REBT, I found three instances where two authors argued that the healthiness, or otherwise, of a negative emotion is determined by how realistic or warranted this feeling is rather than on what belief underpins it. This is a fundamental misunderstanding of the REBT model of emotions. Thus, Gladding (2005: 148) says: You also work with her on not responding more emotionally than is warranted.

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Kottler (2002: 112) when talking about emotional Cs says that in REBT: Distinctions are made between unhealthy emotional responses and those that are reasonable given the circumstances. Kottler (2002: 113) also says the following: but it is reasonable to expect that you can reduce signicantly the magnitude of the emotional arousal basing it more in reality.

Ellis used to employ the terms appropriate and inappropriate negative emotions before heeding Gilmores (1985) advice to change these terms to healthy and unhealthy negative emotions respectively. Gilmore pointed out that the terms appropriate and inappropriate suggest that emotions are judged as appropriate or inappropriate to the situations in which they are experienced rather than in response to the beliefs held about salient features of these situations. It may be that that Archer and McCarthy (2007) and Parrott (2003) were relying on Elliss old writings, but this is doubtful since the terms healthy and unhealthy when applied to negative emotions began to be used soon after the publication of Gilmores (1985) critique. 10. Healthy negative emotions (HNEs) are positive. It is clear what an HNE is. It is negative in tone and healthy in effect. So when Nystul (2006: 244, 246) says, on two occasions, that the purpose of disputing is to generate a positive emotion rather than a HNE, he is making an error with respect to the REBT theory of emotions. Errors and Confusions in REBT: Are Some Authors More Culpable than Others? So far in this paper, I have focused on the errors and confusions that can be found in the writers of twenty counselling and psychotherapy textbooks when they cover the ABCs of REBT. I will now consider whether some authors were more culpable in this regard than others. To this end, I constructed a grid listing the major ABC errors and confusions and showing which authors were responsible for which errors and which confusions (see Table 6). Overall, the twenty authors made a total of 240 errors and confusions (mean = 12.0; SD = 7.4; median = 10.5). As you can see from this table, there is considerable variation among authors concerning the number or errors and confusions made overall and within each of the categories listed in the table. Nelson-Jones (2006) made the least number of overall errors and confusions (n = 2) and Archer and McCarthy (2007) made the most (n = 31). Errors and Confusions in REBT by Category When we break down the number of errors and confusions by category, some interesting ndings emerge. The greatest number of errors and confusions etc. made by our sample of authors concerned irrational beliefs with our 20 authors making 82 errors/confusions (mean = 4.10; SD = 3.49 median = 3.0). Five authors made only one error/confusion concerning irrational beliefs (Ford and Urban 1998; Mobley 2005; Nelson-Jones 2006; Sommers-Flanagan and Sommers Flanagan

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123
The relationship between B and Cb The relationship between B and disturbed responses at Cc 1 3 2 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 2 1 1 2 1 1 1 1 2 3 2 3 1 3 2 4 4 7 7 8 7 1 2 1 1 1 1 3 2 4 2 4 1 2 5 4 2 1 6 1 1 1 4 2 1 5 4 2 2 4 3 1 Causationd Irrational beliefsf Rational beliefsg Ae Ch Total 1 1 4 1 1 2 4 4 6 7 8 8 9 9 10 11 11 12 14 16 16 17 17

Table 6 Errors and confusions in the ABCs or REBT made by different authors by category

Author

Name of therapya

1. Nelson-Jones (2006)

2. Ford and Urban (1998)

3. Sommers-Flanagan and Sommers Flanagan (2004)

4. Sharf (2008)

5. Todd and Bohart (2006)

6. Colledge (2002)

7. McLeod (2003)

8. Gladding (2005)

9. Ivey et al (2007)

10. Mobley (2005)

11. Corey (2005)

12. Nystul (2006)

13. Parrott (2003)

14. Seligman (2006)

15. Day (2008)

16. Kottler (2002)

17. Fall et al (2004)

W. Dryden

18. James and Gilliland (2003)

Table 6 continued The relationship between B and Cb The relationship between B and disturbed responses at Cc 3 1 2 2 14 4 2 2 9 8 4 6 Causationd Irrational beliefsf Rational beliefsg Ae Ch Total

Author

Name of therapya

19. Hough (2002) 2

28 31

20. Archer and McCarthy (2007)

Errors and Confusions in REBT

Authors make errors with respect to the name of the therapy: rational emotive behavior therapy

Authors make errors with respect to the relationship between beliefs at B and responses at C

Authors make errors with respect to the relationship between irrational beliefs at B and disturbed responses at C

Authors do not put forward an accurate account concerning the causal relationship between B and C

Authors either claim that A is situational not critical or reveal the critical A in the belief at B

With respect to irrational beliefs, authors make errors, confuse the reader or do not emphasise REBT theory on iBs

With respect to rational beliefs, authors make errors, confuse the reader or do not emphasise REBT theory on rBs

Authors make errors with respect to emotions at C

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2004; Todd and Bohart 2006), while Archer and McCarthy (2007) again made the most (n = 14). Our twenty authors were more accurate when it came to rational beliefs with 50 errors/confusions being made (mean = 2.50; SD = 2.21; median = 2.0). Four authors did not make any errors/confusions with respect to rational beliefs (Colledge 2002; Gladding 2005; Ivey et al. 2007; Sommers-Flanagan and Sommers Flanagan 2004) while Hough (2002) made the most (n = 8). Our sample of authors made a combined total or 132 errors and confusions, etc. with respect to beliefs (both irrational and rational). They were more accurate with A and C factors. If we take C factors rst, our twenty authors made a total number of 39 errors and confusions (mean = 1.95; SD = 1.96; median = 1.5). Seven authors did not make any error/confusion about C (Corey 2005; Ford and Urban 1998; Ivey et al. 2007; McLeod 2003; Nelson-Jones 2006; Sharf 2008; Todd and Bohart 2006), while once again Archer and McCarthy (2007) made the most errors/confusions in this category (n = 6). Our twenty authors made a total number if 17 errors/confusions with respect to A (mean = 1.85; SD = 0.75; median = 1.0). Seven authors did not make any error/confusion in this category (Colledge 2002; Ford and Urban 1998; James and Gilliland 2003; McLeod 2003; Mobley 2005; Nelson-Jones 2006; Sharf 2008), while four authors made the most errors/confusions (n = 2) about A(Archer and McCarthy 2007; Fall et al. 2004; Hough 2002; Seligman 2006). Finally, our authors made 32 errors/confusions in the combined three general categories (the role of beliefs rather than thoughts in determining C and disturbance and the causation issue) that are directly relevant to the ABC model (mean = 1.6; SD = 1.67; median = 1.0). Seven authors did not make any errors/confusions in these general categories (McLeod 2003; Mobley 2005; Nelson-Jones 2006; Nystul 2006; Parrott 2003; Seligman 2006; Sommers-Flanagan and Sommers Flanagan 2004), while two authors made the most errors/confusions (n = 5) here (Archer and McCarthy 2007; Hough 2002).

Discussion Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy was founded in the mid 1950s and as it approaches its 60th year, it is still bedevilled by the misconceptions that some in the eld hold about its theory and practice (Dryden and Branch 2008) that have contributed to its marginalisation (e.g. Still 2001). While previous research has studied the misconceptions that patients hold about the ABCs of REBT (Dryden et al. 2008), there has been little systematic research on the misconceptions held by professionals. The current study has focused on how REBT has been portrayed in a large sample of authored (as opposed to edited) counselling and psychotherapy textbooks. Such textbooks communicate to students in the eld information about REBT that is assumed by that readership to be accurate and authoritative. The results of this study have shown that this assumption is unwarranted. Twenty authors made a total of 240 errors and confusions about the ABCs of REBT including 20 about its name! Such errors/confusions were made mainly about the

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nature of irrational and rational beliefs, although errors/confusions about A, C and a number general issues directly related to the ABC model were routinely made. It is not clear why authors of textbooks on counselling and psychotherapy made so many errors and demonstrated such confusions about REBT. It is not as if there is a dearth of material on the theory and practice of this therapeutic approach. This, however, may be the problem. Textbook authors may think they know REBT, but overestimate their knowledge. To correct this, I suggest the following remedy. The Albert Ellis Institute should commission a group of REBT experts to prepare a document for authors of counselling and psychotherapy textbooks and the publishers of these textbooks that provides an authoritative and clear outline of the key theoretical and practical components of REBT. My suggestion is that these experts should also detail common misconceptions that are held about REBT and why they are wrong. The current research can inform the preparation of such a document. While the current study has sought to be comprehensive, it has obvious weaknesses. While the researcher is an expert of REBT, he does have his own idiosyncratic views (detailed earlier in the paper) and it may be that other REBT experts may have come up with different ndings. However, the listed categories of errors and confusions that are found in this paper could be used in future research where the development of a checklist of such errors and confusions should be a priority. Future studies that use more than one judge should be undertaken so that the reliability of judgments can be made. Despite the weaknesses of the current study, however, it can be regarded as a useful rst step in the study of how the ABCs of REBT are understood by the professional community.

References

References marked with an asterisk indicate textbooks included in the study.


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