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Albert Ellis Quotations

REBT's ABCs of Emotions


Albert Ellis Quotations Related to Counseling & REBT

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“REBT and CBT are concerned with the nature of thought and thinking like philosophy and also with the nature of emotions and behaviors like psychology, which means they integrate and benefit from both.” —Kevin Everett FitzMaurice

“I suggest that people take the challenge and adventure of creating and maintaining a profound attitude of unconditionally accepting themselves, other people, and world frustrations, no matter what occurs in life. They better make it an integral, unforgettable part of their living.” —Albert Ellis


Albert Ellis Quotations from Various Sources

Quotations Are Listed Alphabetically

“A life of ease and avoidance of responsibility may often be temporarily satisfying—especially on periods of vacation from a more active kind of life—but it is rarely continually rewarding.” —Albert Ellis

“Accept rather than rate the so-called self and strive for enjoyment rather than the justification of existence.” —Albert Ellis

“Accept, though not like, hassles and difficulties.” —Albert Ellis

“Acceptance is not love. You love a person because he or she has lovable traits, but you accept everybody just because they’re alive and human.” —Albert Ellis

“Accepting help from others does not make me a weakling and does not mean that I can’t also take care of myself.” —Albert Ellis

“Although emotions may sometimes exist without thought, it appears to be almost impossible to sustain an emotional outburst without bolstering it by repeated ideas.” —Albert Ellis

“And just as two wrongs don’t make a right, rage against offenders is probably the worst way to try to correct them.” —Albert Ellis and Robert A. Harper, A Guide to Rational Living, Third Edition, p. 130

“As ever, we use the Christian and REBT philosophy of accepting the sinner but not the sin.” ―Albert Ellis and Robert A. Harper, A Guide to Rational Living, Third Edition, p. 230

“Avoidance and denial are simply not long-term solutions.” —Albert Ellis

“Because you upset yourself, therefore you, luckily, can practically always un-upset the one person in the world whose thoughts and feelings you control you!” —Albert Ellis

“Because your disturbances include thoughts, feelings, and actions, you can make a three-way attack on them: change your thinking, your emoting, and your behaving. Use your head, your heart, and your hands and feet!” —Albert Ellis

“By honestly acknowledging your past errors, but never damning yourself for them, you can learn to use your past for your own future benefit.” —Albert Ellis and Robert A. Harper, A Guide to Rational Living, Third Edition, p. 194

“Clients are shown that they had better fight, in practice as well as in theory, against their acquired and invented irrational ideas and the dysfunctional behavior patterns that accompany these ideas.” —Albert Ellis

“Clients can be taught three main methods of disputing their Irrational Beliefs (IBs): (1) realistically dispute them to show that they do not hold water in the world of fact. (2) logically see that they are mistaken overgeneralizations. (3) pragmatically realize that they very likely will lead to poor results for themselves and others.” —Albert Ellis

“Conformism, which is one of the worst products of self-rating, generally means conformity to the time-honored and justice-dishonoring rules of the Establishment.” —Albert Ellis

“Counselor Kevin FitzMaurice has been campaigning for years against the human habit of turning thoughts into things and constructing misleading ‘thought-things.’ Thus, as I pointed out in my section on Unconditional Self-Acceptance (USA) in chapter 2, we frequently have a thought such as, ‘I shall conditionally accept myself and other people’—where accept is a verb—and we turn it into a noun, acceptance. Then we think that acceptance really exists as an entity in itself, a thought-thing. Accepting is something we do—an action—but we confuse it with a thing that has external embodiment.” —Albert Ellis, Feeling Better, Getting Better, Staying Better, p. 109

“Disputing your self-defeating, irrational beliefs is one of the main and most helpful methods of REBT.” —Albert Ellis

“Do! Don’t stew!” —Albert Ellis

“Does positive thinking work? Unquestionably at times. People have invented slogans that have at times helped to cure themselves of various kinds of ills. You can, too, if you use some well-chosen positive self-statements. Watch it, however! Emile Coué, the most popular therapist in the world in the 1920s, went out of business because his positive self-suggestions were often Pollyannaish and unrealistic. Who truly gets better day by day in every way? Not very many! Who actually, as Napoleon Hill pushes you to do, just thinks and grows rich? Hardly anyone!” —Albert Ellis

“Don’t upset yourself and give yourself the best chance of dealing with the adversity.” —Albert Ellis

“Emotionally healthy individuals are usually committed to some large life plan or goal—such as work, building a family, art, science, or sports. When they have steady personality growth they tend to be vitally absorbed in some large goal outside themselves, whether it be in the realm of people, things, or ideas. And they frequently have at least one major creative interest, as well as some outstanding human involvement, which is highly important to them and around which they structure a good portion of their lives.” —Albert Ellis

“Evaluating is a fundamental characteristic of human organisms and seems to work in a kind of closed circuit with a feedback mechanism: Because perception biases response and then response tends to bias subsequent perception. Also, prior perceptions appear to bias subsequent perceptions, and prior responses to bias subsequent responses. What we call feelings almost always have a pronounced evaluating or appraisal element.” —Albert Ellis

“Evaluation of an individual tends to bolster the Establishment and to block social change. Since most societies are run by a limited number of ‘upper-level’ people who have a strong, vested interest in keeping them the way they are, self-evaluation usually encourages the individual to go along with social rules, no matter how arbitrary or foolish they are, and especially to woo the approval of the powers-that-be.” —Albert Ellis

“Even silly rules that people learn and that they foolishly follow do not by any means necessarily disturb them. They largely disturb themselves by creating absolutist musts about these rules.” —Albert Ellis

“Even when people act nastily to you, don’t condemn them or retaliate.” —Albert Ellis and Robert A. Harper, A Guide to Rational Living, Third Edition, p. 205

“Failure doesn’t have anything to do with your intrinsic value as a person.” —Albert Ellis and Robert A. Harper, A Guide to Rational Living, Third Edition, p. 206

“‘Goodness’ itself can never accurately be determined, since the entire edifice of ‘goodness’ is based on concepts, which are largely definitional.” —Albert Ellis

“Have acceptance that your present path is not likely to work, acceptance that hassles will still exist, acceptance that you had better try a different path, and acceptance that the new path (or any new paths) may still not work.” —Albert Ellis

“Having an optimistic rather than a pessimistic view of themselves and their future is highly preferable, as long as people do not take this view to overoptimistic extremes.” —Albert Ellis

“Here are three main musts to look for when you bring on disturbed feelings: Must #1. ‘I absolutely must perform well on important projects and be approved by significant people or else I am an inadequate and unlovable person!’ [Leads to] Feelings of serious depression, anxiety, panic, self-downing. Must #2. ‘Other people, particularly those I have cared for and treated well, absolutely must treat me kindly and fairly, or else they are rotten individuals who deserve to suffer!’ [Leads to] Feelings of strong and persistent anger, rage, fury, impatience, bitterness. Must #3. ‘The conditions under which I live absolutely ought to be easy, un-frustrating and enjoyable or else the world is an awful place, and I’ll never be able to be happy!’ [Leads to] Feelings of low frustration tolerance, depression, self-pity.” —Albert Ellis

“I can rate my traits, deeds, acts, and performances for the purpose of surviving and enjoying my life more, and not for the purpose of ‘proving myself’ or being ‘egoistic’ or showing that I have a ‘better’ or ‘greater’ value than others.” —Albert Ellis

“I favor talking about human thinking, feeling, and behaving mainly in terms of verbs, to creating thought avoid-things that exist by themselves, out of our control.” —Albert Ellis

“I hate to be treated shabbily or unfairly but I don’t have to treated well and need not dwell on it or be vindictive when I am not. Obsessing about injustice is an injustice to myself.” —Albert Ellis, How To Make Yourself Happy and Remarkably Less Disturable

“I hope I am also not a devout REBTer, since I do not think it is a unmitigated cure for everyone and do accept its distinct limitations.” —Albert Ellis

“I suggest that people take the challenge and adventure of creating and maintaining a profound attitude of unconditionally accepting themselves, other people, and world frustrations, no matter what occurs in life. They better make it an integral, unforgettable part of their living” —Albert Ellis

“I will stop whining about the Adversities and stop demanding that they absolutely should not and must not exist.” —Albert Ellis

“I wish that the Adversity had not occurred and I don’t like it but I can live with it.” —Albert Ellis

“If one thinks that failing makes one a complete failure, this is an illogical jump, because a complete failure would have to fail at everything and one surely does not do that. A complete failure would also be doomed to fail in the future which cannot be proven.” —Albert Ellis

“If people stopped looking on their emotions as ethereal, almost inhuman processes, and realistically viewed them as being largely composed of perceptions, thoughts, evaluations, and internalized sentences, they would find it quite possible to work calmly and concertedly at changing them.” —Albert Ellis

“If people want to change their Irrational Bs (unhelpful Beliefs), which lead to self-defeating Consequences, to Rational Bs (helpful Beliefs), which lead to self-helping Consequences, they had better work on their Believing-Emoting-Behaving and not merely on their Believing. More specifically, they had better vigorously and forcefully (that is, emotively) change their dysfunctional Bs; and at the same time, they forcefully and persistently feel and act against them.” —Albert Ellis

“If you do not measure your self-hood, you tend to spend your days asking yourself, ‘Now what would I really like to do, in my relatively brief span of existence, to gain maximum satisfaction and minimum pain?’ If you do measure your self-hood, you tend to keep asking, ‘What do I have to do to prove that I am a worthwhile person?’” —Albert Ellis

“If you would stop, really stop, damning yourself, others, and unkind conditions, you would find it almost impossible to upset yourself emotionally—about anything. Yes, anything.” —Albert Ellis

“In the course of REBT, the focus is largely on what is happening to clients during the present, and particularly on what they tell themselves about what is happening.” —Albert Ellis

“Irrational and dysfunctional beliefs, then, are almost always involved in seriously disturbed feelings and actions. But these beliefs may be set off by biological processes, and then may also exacerbate these processes. Biological processes may also encourage disturbed feelings and behaviors that, once again, influence and help to create musturbatory and other dysfunctional beliefs.” —Albert Ellis

“It’s in our biological and learned nature for people to fall back to their dysfunctional beliefs all their lives and not to be completely rational or functional.” —Albert Ellis, All Out!, p. 549

“It is impossible for you to be harmed by purely verbal or gestural attacks unless you specifically let yourself—or actually make yourself—be harmed.” —Albert Ellis

“It is not a matter of teaching children how to control their emotions. It is rather a matter of teaching people philosophies of living different from the negative philosophies which now produce disordered emotions, and, through teaching these different philosophies, to help them change rather than to control their feelings.” —Albert Ellis

“It is the current philosophic and behavioral re-traumatizing that keeps the early disturbance alive in the present.” —Albert Ellis

“It (REBT) accepts the religious beliefs and values of its clients and shows them how to live undisturbedly with religious, mystical, or superstitious ideas. But it questions devoutness and sacredizing—whether theological, political, economic or social—and shows people how to combat rigid dogma and absolutism.” —Albert Ellis

“Just because people do not like adversity, they decide that it should not exist. They say, ‘You disturbed me,’ or, ‘It disturbed me,’ or ‘My mother disturbed me’ – They won’t accept responsibility for their own disturbance. They refuse to accept the way it is. And then they get depressed about their depression. They rage about their rage. They’re screwballs.” —Albert Ellis

“Kevin Everett FitzMaurice suggests that REBT theory can include: (1) USA, Unconditional Self-Acceptance, (2) UOA, Unconditional Other-Acceptance, and (3) ULA, Unconditional Life-Acceptance, when you can’t change conditions that you really don’t like. If you acquire ULA, you indeed have HFT, high-frustration tolerance! USA counteracts your self-downing, UOA counteracts your anger at others, and ULA counteracts your awfulizing and terriblizing.” —Albert Ellis, Feeling Better, Getting Better, Staying Better, p. 37

“Let me do my best to change the unfortunate condition or accept it and live with it if I truly find that I can’t change it. Whining about how awful it is will only make it seem worse than bad and make me feel more miserable!” —Albert Ellis

“Loving often stems from personal strength, meaning that loving people do not really care that much whether others love them and are therefore strong enough to be truly interested in others.” —Albert Ellis

“Masturbation is good and delicious but musturbation is bad and pernicious.” —Albert Ellis

“Neurosis is just a high-class word for whining.” —Albert Ellis (Ellis was quoted as saying this by Merrill Brockway in his book “Surprise Was My Teacher” page 183)

“‘Neurotics’ choose to over-react to unfortunate adversities by foolishly insisting that they must not occur.” —Albert Ellis

“No matter what conditions exist in my life yes, even poverty or fatal illness I can still find some enjoyable pursuits if I think I can and if I try to find them! So I can stand, can tolerate, almost anything that I really don’t like.” —Albert Ellis

“No miracles as many ‘New Age’ treatises cavalierly promise you. But, with hard work and practice, you can make yourself less upsettable. Yes, you can.” —Albert Ellis

“No, our wills are not completely free, nor are we completely governed by our heredity and environment. We seem to be born and reared with some degree of choice, agency, or self-control but have to work at accepting its limitations and push ourselves to use it adequately.” —Albert Ellis

“No, we cannot accurately say that some people are essentially evil. Even those who commit many immoral acts would have to do so all the time to be evil people. As Alfred Korzybski wrote in 1933, calling anyone an evil person is to falsely overgeneralize and to completely damn her or him for some evil acts. Invariably, the Hitlers and the Ted Bundys of the world, who steadily commit some of the worst crimes, also do a number of good and kind deeds. And some “bad people,” like St. Augustine when young, later achieve sainthood. Humans are fallible—and changeable.” —Albert Ellis

“Nothing yes, nothing is awful, horrible, or terrible, no matter how bad, inconvenient, and unfair it may actually be.” —Albert Ellis

“Once one tells oneself for a long enough period of time that one need not upset oneself about annoyances or dangers, one will then find it difficult to get over-excited about them and will find it easy to remain calm when they occur.” —Albert Ellis

“Once people accept these irrational beliefs from their parents or culture and once they create some of them largely on their own, they almost always derive self-defeating and society-defeating inferences from them such as awfulizing, I-can’t-stand-it-itis, self-deprecation, damnation of others, personalizing, overgeneralizing, phonyism, etc.” —Albert Ellis

“Once you damn an individual, including yourself, for having or lacking any trait whatever, you become authoritarian or fascistic; for fascism is the very essence of people-evaluation.” —Albert Ellis

“People’s intrinsic value or worth cannot really be measured accurately because they’re including their becoming. They are a process with an ever-changing present and future.” —Albert Ellis

“People learn overgeneralized self-deprecating from their family, peers and teachers. ‘You are a bad boy because you do bad things!’” —Albert Ellis

“Powerful wishes, desires, goals, purposes, and emotional attachments add to your life and makes the world go round. Passive and detached humans may be sensible and free from much pain, but pretty damned blah. The trick is to want to strive like all get-out, but not to think that you absolutely need what you want.” —Albert Ellis

“Practically all humans are born very gullible or teachable, especially in the course of their childhood, and consequently they accept many kinds of ideas, feelings, and actions that their parents and other caretakers tell them are beneficial and often reward them for believing, feeling, and behaving.” —Albert Ellis

“REBT’s Insight No. 1 holds that you have both healthy and unhealthy emotions.” ―Albert Ellis, How To Stubbornly Refuse To Make Yourself Miserable About Anything–Yes, Anything!

“REBT assumes that clients often resist psychological treatment and that they frequently do so because they have a biological tendency to keep habituated to their dysfunctional thoughts, feelings, and behaviors.” —Albert Ellis

“REBT assumes that human thinking, emotion, and action are not really separate or disparate processes but that they all significantly overlap and are rarely experienced in a pure state.” —Albert Ellis

“REBT accepts the usual moral rules of any society or culture and shows clients how they are wrong and immoral if they act against these rules. But it particularly tries to help them to only criticize and regret their dysfunctional behavior and not to put themselves down, as total humans, for engaging in immoral behavior.” —Albert Ellis

“REBT consequently specializes in showing people what their own basic theories about themselves and the world are and how these hypotheses often lead to destructive feelings and actions, how they can be forcefully falsified and replaced with more workable philosophies.” —Albert Ellis

“REBT helps people gain unconditional self-acceptance and to believe that they are okay or are good just because they exist had better be taught to all children in the course of their schooling, from early childhood onward.” —Albert Ellis

“REBT is a pioneer relationship therapy because when people relate to each other they also upset themselves about each other. Not all of the time, but most of the time, and that’s why we see them for psychotherapy.” —Albert Ellis

“REBT is also a double-systems therapy in that it helps people un-upset themselves while they are still in a bad system, such as a bad family, or a bad work system, and then it helps them go back to point A, the activating events or the adversity in their lives and work out practical and problem-solving solutions to these realistic problems.” —Albert Ellis

“REBT is much more than didactic, rational, and philosophic. In addition to verbal discussion between clients and therapists, it strongly emphasizes that logical parsing and rational persuasion on the part of both therapists and clients be employed to help the clients act and work against their neurotic attitudes and their self-defeating habit patterns.” —Albert Ellis

“REBT often encourages people to make many things and events important in their lives as long as they do not make these things sacred and insist that success at them is completely imperative.” —Albert Ellis

“REBT partly subscribes to some elements of postmodern philosophy, which shows that nothing, including science, is sacred.” —Albert Ellis

“REBT uses reason, empiricism, logic, and flexible, alternative-seeking ways of thinking. But it also stresses the use of metaphor, hermeneutics, philosophy, narrative, drama, humor, and other presumably non-rational and non-logical means of understanding and alleviating human disturbance.” —Albert Ellis

“Remember that it never was, in the first place, an original traumatic experience that made people disturbed but their attitude toward this experience at what I call point ‘B.’” —Albert Ellis

“Remember there are no heroes or heroines, any great people. These are fiction, myths which we fallible humans seem determined to believe in order to ignore the fact that we presently are, and probably will always be, highly inefficient, mistake-making animals.” —Albert Ellis

“Science and reason are good and useful. But so are art and emotion. Reason often implements desire and emotion; and feelings can also implement reasoning. Both/and rather than either/or!” —Albert Ellis

“Seek happiness today—and also tomorrow! Do cost-benefit calculations to determine if your gains, now and in the future, are too costly.” —Albert Ellis

“Short-term hedonism has its distinct disadvantages: eat, drink and be merry for tomorrow I may be dead. Chances are, you’ll still be alive but with a hangover!” —Albert Ellis

“Show yourself that your very Belief, ‘I can’t accomplish this! I’ll never be able to do so!’ is often a self-fulfilling prophecy that will encourage you prematurely to give up and to ‘prove” that you can’t. Don’t act like many people who derive grim satisfaction from ‘successfully’ predicting their failures!” —Albert Ellis

“Some dreaded events—such as your ultimately becoming seriously ill or dying—are inevitable and nothing, including your worrying about them, can possibly prevent them from occurring.” —Albert Ellis

“Stop damning yourself and others by fully accepting the view that wrong, unethical, and foolish acts never can make you or them into bad or rotten people.” —Albert Ellis

“Strong feelings are fine; it’s the overreactions that mess us up.” —Albert Ellis

“Surrender your demand to be perfect.” —Albert Ellis

“Teaching the principle of emotional responsibility can be one of the hardest tasks in REBT as clients may have habitually blamed others for their problems and now the therapist is pointing to the true source of their emotional problems–themselves.” —Michael Neenan and Windy Dryden, Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy: Advances in Theory and Practice, p. 43

“Tell me one thing about the past. I’ll prove it’s not what upset you. It’s how you philosophized about it that made you disturbed.” —Albert Ellis

“The absolutist musts and overgeneralizations that people add to their desires to perform well and to be approved by others, are (a) unrealistic (b) exaggerated conclusions, and (c) definitional.” —Albert Ellis

“The action required for willpower involves strong, persistent commitment to act and to keep acting until changing becomes solid.” —Albert Ellis

“The best years of your life are the ones in which you decide your problems are your own. You do not blame them on your mother, the ecology, or the president. You realize that you control your own destiny.” —Albert Ellis

“The cardinal rule of treatment in REBT is: ‘Cherchez le should, cherchez le must!’” —Albert Ellis

“The emotionally mature individual should completely accept the fact that we live in a world of probability and chance, where there are not, nor probably ever will be, any absolute certainties, and should realize that it is not at all horrible, indeed—such a probabilistic, uncertain world.” —Albert Ellis

“The emotionally sound person should be able to take risks, to ask himself what he really would like to do in life, and then to try to do this, even though he has to risk defeat or failure. He should be adventurous (though not necessarily foolhardy); be willing to try almost anything once, just to see how he likes it; and look forward to some breaks in his usual life routines.” —Albert Ellis

“The goals of psychotherapy are twofold: to help clients disturb themselves less emotionally and to enable them to lead happier and more fulfilling lives. Unless they achieve the first of these goals, attaining the second one is, while not impossible, damned difficult!” —Albert Ellis

“The greatest sickness known to man or woman is called self-esteem. If you have self-esteem, then you’re sick, sick, sick, because you say: I’m okay because I do well and because people love me, so when I do poorly, which I’m a fallible human and will, and people hate me because they may jealously hate me or they just don’t like me, then back to shithood I go.” —Albert Ellis

“The more sinful and guilty a person tends to feel, the less chance there is that he will be a happy, healthy, or law-abiding citizen. He will often become a compulsive wrongdoer. This is because he does not merely blame his behavior—but also blames his total self, his entire being.” —Albert Ellis

“Therapists had better encourage their clients to check their strong tendencies to automatically and habitually think, feel, act. If clients mindfully and consciously contemplate and examine their self-defeating and society-destroying dysfunctioning, they can appreciably contribute both to their feeling better and their getting better.” —Albert Ellis

“There’s no evidence whatsoever that men are more rational than women. Both sexes seem to be equally irrational.” —Albert Ellis

“There are no horrors except in our heads. We make hassles into horrors.” —Albert Ellis

“There can be no absolute ethics except for angels and God.” —Albert Ellis

“There is no goddam deservingness in the universe. The universe doesn’t give a fuck for you one way or the other.” —Albert Ellis

“There is no magic, no free lunch. Self-change, while almost always possible, requires persistent work and practice.” —Albert Ellis

“Things and processes exist on a both and/and and—and/also basis. Thus almost every human act or condition has its advantages and disadvantages.” —Albert Ellis

“This is the essence of intellectual fascism: it is a belief about humans which convinces not only the believers, but usually their victims as well, that people acquire intrinsic worth not from merely being, but from being intelligent, talented, competent, or achieving. It is politico-social fascism with the trait names changed—the same hearse with different license plates.” —Albert Ellis

“To help people achieve the three basic REBT philosophies of unconditional self-acceptance, unconditional other-acceptance, and unconditional life-acceptance, cognitive, emotional, and behavioral methods, which are described in this monograph, are used.” ―Albert Ellis, Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy

“Tolerating frustrating events well increases your power to change what you can change.” —Albert Ellis

“Try to create a vital meaning and absorbing interest in your life that you adapt from others or mainly construct yourself. Dedicate yourself, but not rigidly, to developing and following your meaning.” —Albert Ellis

“Unconditional Self-Acceptance (USA) instead of Conditional Self-Esteem (CSE). You rate and evaluate your thoughts, feelings, and actions in relation to your main Goals of remaining alive and reasonably happy to see whether they aid these Goals. When they aid them, you rate that as “good” or “effective,” and when they sabotage your Goals you rate that as ‘bad’ or ‘ineffective.’ But you always—yes, always—accept and respect yourself, your personhood, your being, whether or not you perform well and whether or not other people approve of you and your behaviors.” ―Albert Ellis, How To Stubbornly Refuse To Make Yourself Miserable About Anything – Yes, Anything!

“Unconditional self-acceptance is the basic antidote to much of your depressed self-downing feelings.” – Albert Ellis

“Unconditional self-acceptance is the basic antidote to much of your depressed self-downing feelings. Self-appraisal almost inevitably leads to one-upmanship and one-downmanship. If you rate yourself as being ‘good,’ you will usually rate others as being ‘bad’ or ‘less good.’ If you rate yourself as being ‘bad,’ others will be seen as ‘less bad’ or ‘good.’ Thereby you practically force yourself to compete with others in ‘goodness’ or ‘badness’ and constantly feel envious, jealous, or superior. Persistent individual, group, and international conflicts easily stem from this kind of thinking and feeling.” —Albert Ellis

“Unconditional Self-Accepting means you refuse to give your self, your personality, your being—any global rating.” —Albert Ellis

“Vital absorption may mean being distinctly concerned about (a) people, or (b) things, or (c) ideas, or (d) any combination of (a), (b), or (c).” —Albert Ellis

“Wanting and not needing changed me forever.” —Albert Ellis

“We can actually put the essence of neurosis in a single word: blaming–or damning.” —Albert Ellis and Robert A. Harper, A Guide to Rational Living, Third Edition, p. 127

“We create the depression and anger we feel by demanding that the universe not be as rotten as it is. The reality is that the whole universe is not rotten nor is all of life rotten. Only certain elements of it are. Accept that along with many good things, bad things exist, change them if you can, and accept what you can’t change. Remember it’s your thoughts that create the way you feel. It’s practically never hopeless. Acceptance is the key.” —Albert Ellis

“We do not have any absolute certainty about what reality is or what it will be.” —Albert Ellis

“We say that nothing is awful, nothing. Rape, incest, terrorism, Hitler-it isn’t awful. Not that they aren’t bad, but a rational person would recognize that the world is inherently unfair.” —Albert Ellis

“We teach people that they upset themselves. We can’t change the past, so we change how people are thinking, feeling and behaving today.” —Albert Ellis

“When people change their irrational beliefs to undogmatic flexible preferences, they become less disturbed.” —Albert Ellis

“When people confront Adversities (A) and they experience dysfunctional emotional and behavioral Consequences (C) about these Adversities, they almost always have self-helping or Rational beliefs (RBs) about these Adversities as well as self-defeating or Irrational Beliefs (IBs) about them. Therefore, A X B = C. This formula is the root of the theory and practice of REBT, as well as is fundamental to many other forms of cognitive-behavior therapies (CBT).” —Albert Ellis

“When people disturb themselves, they view ‘bad’ things as ‘awful’ or ‘terrible’ and think that they absolutely must not occur.” —Albert Ellis

“When we choose to create profound meanings and long-range goals for ourselves and our community we tend to lead more satisfying and less disturbed lives.” —Albert Ellis

“When your important Goals are blocked by Adversities, you can largely choose to have either healthy or unhealthy feelings and you can also choose to act either helpfully or self-defeatingly.” —Albert Ellis

“Whenever obnoxious or unpleasant activating events occur in people’s lives, they have a choice of making themselves feel healthily and self-helpingly sorry, disappointed, frustrated, and annoyed, or making themselves feel unhealthily and self-defeatingly horrified, terrified, panicked, depressed, self-hating, and self-pitying.” —Albert Ellis

“Who said I have to be successful? Why do I always have to be accepted and approved? Why should I be utterly loved and adored? Who said so?” —Albert Ellis

“Will has no power without action.” —Albert Ellis

“Willpower includes the intention, the decision, and the determination to change—and, particularly, the action required to do so.” —Albert Ellis

“Why should I live up to any other individual’s standards?” —Albert Ellis

“You accept all humans because they’re human. You don’t like what they do and you stay away from some of them and you put some of them in jail if they act immorally, but still fully accept them as persons.” —Albert Ellis

“You can train yourself to behave for your own interest, and for the interests of the social group in which you choose to live. When you behave neurotically, you create problems within yourself (intrapersonal problems) and problems with and for others (interpersonal and social difficulties).” —Albert Ellis

“You desire what you want, but don’t need it.” —Albert Ellis

“You have choice and will to change yourself, but your will power includes strong determination and, especially, action.” —Albert Ellis

“You largely constructed your depression. It wasn’t given to you. Therefore, you can deconstruct it.” —Albert Ellis

“You mainly choose to upset yourself by creating absolutistic musts and demands by taking your healthy preferences for success, approval, and pleasure, and turning them into unhealthy insistences and commands.” —Albert Ellis

“You need to know when to speak your mind and what the penalty will be for doing so. Sometimes it’s worth it, and often it’s not!” —Albert Ellis

“You’d better strongly think, believe, and yes! feel that you can control your own emotional destiny. Not others’ thoughts and actions. No. Not the fate of the world. No. But your thoughts, feelings and actions.” —Albert Ellis

“You’re never a good person. Because if you do a good deed—save a child, for example, from drowning at the risk of your own life—that’s a good deed. But ten minutes later you might kill somebody, or steal, or lie. So you’re a person who does good, valuable, self-helping, and bad, unfortunate, self-defeating things.” —Albert Ellis

“Your basic goals are to remain alive and be reasonably happy. Whatever discomfort, pain, or unhappiness you experience whether it be physical or mental you observe, think about it, and push yourself to reduce it.” —Albert Ellis

“Your main goals are to remain alive for many more years and to live happily.” —Albert Ellis

“Your neediness leads you to rate your desire as necessary and potentially self-downing.” —Albert Ellis

“Your parents, friends, and culture often encouraged you to damn yourself, others, and the world. In spite of your biology, your family, and your culture you don’t need to stupidly disturb yourself.” —Albert Ellis

“Your totality is too complex and too changing to measure. Repeatedly acknowledge that.” —Albert Ellis


Recommended Books by Albert Ellis

Ellis, Albert. “RET Abolishes Most of the Human Ego.” Psychotherapy: Theory, Research and Practice. 13:4, 343-348. 1976. Reprint available from the Albert Ellis Institute,145 East 32nd Street, 9th Floor, New York, NY 10016. (212) 535–0822.

Ellis, Albert. Reason and Emotion in Psychotherapy, Revised and Updated. Carol Publishing, New York. 1994.

Ellis, Albert. How to Control Your Anxiety Before It Controls You. Carol Publishing Group, Secaucus, NJ. 1998.

Ellis, Albert. Feeling Better, Getting Better, Staying Better: Profound Self-Help for Your Emotions. Impact Publishers, Atascadero, CA. 2001.

Ellis, Albert. The Myth of Self-esteem: How Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy Can Change Your Life Forever. Prometheus, Amherst, NY. 2005.

Ellis, Albert, and Windy Dryden. The Practice of Rational-Emotive Therapy (RET). Springer, New York. 1987.

Ellis, Albert, and Robert A. Harper. A Guide to Rational Living, Third Edition. Wilshire Book Company, North Hollywood, CA. 1997.

Ellis, Albert, and Raymond C. Tafrate. How to Control Your Anger Before It Controls You. Kensington Publishing, New York. 1997.


Additional Information on REBT & Ellis

  1. 3 Main Philosophies & Strategies of REBT
  2. Albert Ellis: 2nd Most Influential Psychologist: External Link
  3. Albert Ellis: “The New Yorker” Article
  4. Albert Ellis on FitzMaurice’s Books
  5. Albert Ellis on Using REBT with Religious Persons: External Link
  6. Memes on REBT & CBT
  7. REBT (Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy): List of Pages
  8. REBT: What Is REBT? 3 Main Strategies
  9. REBT & CBT Collection of Memes
  10. REBT & Compatibility with Religion
  11. REBT Is Deeper than CBT, CT, & Other Counseling Theories
  12. REBT Is Integrative, Not Electic (Scroll down for this section.)
  13. REBT’s 4 Issues As System
  14. REBT’s 10 Must Scripts
  15. REBT’s 11 Irrational Beliefs
  16. REBT’s ABCs of Emotions
  17. REBT’s ABCs of Emotions: YouTube Whiteboard-Animation by Windy Dryden
  18. REBT’s Main Website: External Link
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