Rational Emotive Therapy and humanistic Judaism have a lot in common. Both were developed by dynamic leaders, Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy by psychologist, Dr. Albert Ellis and Humanistic Judaism by Rabbi Sherwin Wine. Having just returned from attending services on the holiest of the Jewish High Holidays, Yom Kippur, I was reminded of the similarities between the ideas and philosophy of secular humanistic judiasm and those of Rational-Emotive Behavioral Therapy, REBT. The founder of humanistic Judiasm, Rabbi Sherman Wine and the founder of Rational-Emotive Behavioral Therapy, Dr. Albert Ellis, founded their movements in the early 1960’s, independently of each other, yet the principles and practices that flow from they are strikingly similar. Both men believed in the power of the human spirit and did not believe in God. The ideas that as human beings, we are all imperfect and need to accept ourselves with our flaws, forgiveness of ourselves and others, saying what we believe and believing what we say are but of small part of the important values that IF we learn to embrace, can lead to less anxiety and depression and far greater happiness in our lives. Free of psychobabble, Rational Emotive Therapy and Humanistic Judaism support the importance of following up our words with deeds and actions. The power of the present is far more important than what happened in the past. Both approaches emphasize the importance of universal human values to achieve a happier and more satisfying lives.
As I reflect and absorb what I have heard and read in our services over the past 10 days I shall attempt to integrate this knowledge in both my personal life and professional work with my clients.
I have found the combined philosophies of Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy and Humanistic Judaism to be practical approaches to having healthy relationships with others and to leading a more fulfilling life.