Self-Help Advice Books A Guide to Rational Living Part 1

About the self-help book A Guide to Rational Living by Albert Ellis, history and advice from the book.



The Head Men: Prominent sexologist and developer of Rational Emotive Therapy, Albert Ellis grew up in New York City, where he received his Ph.D. in clinical psychology from Columbia University. His disenchantment with traditional psychotherapy resulted from his work as a marriage and family counselor; he saw patients gaining insights but not solving their emotional problems. So he developed a therapy which sought to eliminate the irrational ideas underlying emotional problems and substitute rational ones in their place. The therapy was often successful. Today Ellis directs New York's Institute for Rational Living and the clinical services department of the Institute of Advanced Study in Rational Psychotherapy. He is a fellow of the American Psychological Association and past president of the Society for the Scientific Study of Sex.

Also a psychologist, Robert A. Harper received his Ph.D. from Ohio State University. He is past president of the American Association of Marriage Counselors and the American Academy of Psychotherapists. Since 1953 Dr. Harper has been in private practice in Washington, D.C. He has authored a number of other books, including Creative Marriage (with Albert Ellis) and 45 Levels to Sexual Understanding and Enjoyment (with Walter R. Stokes).

Overview: The authors' point of view toward the human condition is hard-nosed yet optimistic: Almost everyone is capable of change, can get to root causes and accept reality, can stop blaming oneself and others, and can become happy in an imperfect world. According to the authors, "man can live the most self-fulfilling, creative, and emotionally satisfying life by intelligently organizing and disciplining his thinking." Neurosis is "stupid behavior by a non-stupid person." Self-worth does not result from being loved or being successful. One must accept the responsibility for one's own feelings about what happens, recognizing that it is not the event but how one responds to it that counts. This does not mean denying emotions--only self-defeating emotionalizing. People give themselves unconscious messages like "You are a bad person," which they can replace with more positive ones. None of this is easy; it involves vigilance, keeping at it, sometimes forcing one-self to do things.

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