The Historical and Philosophical Context of Rational Psychotherapy: The Legacy of Epictetus

Author(s) : Arthur Still, Author(s) : Windy Dryden

The Historical and Philosophical Context of Rational Psychotherapy: The Legacy of Epictetus

Book Details

  • Publisher : Routledge
  • Published : 2012
  • Cover : Paperback
  • Pages : 266
  • Category :
    Individual Psychotherapy
  • Catalogue No : 31977
  • ISBN 13 : 9781780490236
  • ISBN 10 : 1780490232
RRP : £32.99
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This book brings together the papers written by the authors over the last fifteen years on the historical and philosophical foundations of Albert Ellis' Rational Psychotherapy (later Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy, REBT) and its relationship to Stoicism, especially the later practical form represented by Epictetus. It goes beneath the well known similarities between Stoic "spiritual exercises" and modern psychotherapy, to look at the cause of these similarities. These lie in the conceptual continuities that connect the Stoics and other ancient philosophies with the modern cultural framework underlying psychotherapy.

Reviews and Endorsements

'"It is a characteristic of William James that he was not overawed by the achievements of Helmholtz, or the confident rhetoric of any other scientist, but was always able to stand back and reflect." So write Dryden and Still in the present volume. In spades, that statement is true of them too in this tour de force. If the reader invests in one text with a philosophical bent, or he or she is just interested in the history of ideas in high culture, buy this book: it is a gem! Reading the Introduction alone will be a treat for both the serious and casual student of history, modernity, and postmodernity. Each chapter presents ideas from among those that form the philosophical underpinnings of science, social and cognitive science, and the homology that links Albert Ellis (and Aaron T. Beck) to Epictetus as the synechdoche for the Stoics. It was difficult for me to stop reading this text once started: I judge that anyone who engages its pages will be in for a treat and mind expanding adventure.'
- James McMahon PsyD, PhD, ThD, ScD, Doctor Honoris Causa; Faculty Supervisor, Diplomate, and Vice President, Albert Ellis Institute, NYC

'This book is an authoritative and insightful collection of essays on the historical and philosophical context of Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT). Informed by a wealth of scholarship, ranging from Ancient Greek philosophers to Husserl, Foucault, and Bakhtin, the authors document homologies between Stoic philosophy and REBT, as well as tracing more modern influences. Particular strengths are the explication of the concept of rationality in REBT and clarification of the distinction between REBT and Cognitive Behaviour Therapy. The book is essential reading for anyone seeking a subtle and sophisticated understanding of cognitive approaches to psychotherapy.'
- Elizabeth Valentine, Emeritus Professor of Psychology, Royal Holloway, University of London

'This analysis of the background to Albert Ellis's Rational Therapy and its fortunes since the 1950s is nevertheless far from a narrowly focused specialist monograph. Still and Dryden demonstrate how such an exercise raises basic theoretical and conceptual issues about the nature of rationality, philosophy of science, morality, research methods, and "marginality". These, they argue, can only be understood in the context of a covert persistence of the Stoic philosophical tradition (which Ellis knew), concerned with right living, alongside overtly dominant concerns with empirical knowledge. Casting both
psychotherapy and psychology in a fascinatingly original light, they show what can happen when therapeutic practice meets genuine scholarship.'
- Graham Richards, Honorary Senior Research Fellow, University College London

About the Author(s)

Arthur Still taught psychology at the University of Durham until 1988. He then trained as a counsellor and psychotherapist and currently works in private practice in Edinburgh and the Scottish Borders. He was co-founder and editor of the journal History of the Human Sciences.

Windy Dryden was the first Professor of Counselling in Britain, and is now a Professor of Psychotherapeutic Studies at Goldsmiths College, University of London, where he runs the MSc course in Rational-Emotive and Cognitive Behaviour Therapy. He has authored or edited 195 books, and edited twenty book series. He was the founding editor of the British Journal of Cognitive Psychotherapy in 1982 and is now editor of the Journal of Rational-Emotive and Cognitive-Behavior Therapy.

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