Dr. Robert Heller – Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy
While most people strive for self esteem, the founder of Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy, Dr. Albert Ellis, believed that it was far better to work on Self Acceptance. According to Ellis, if you strive for self esteem you are rating your self worth. You might feel worthwhile at times and worthless at other times. This means your self worth is conditional rather than unconditional. Conditional self worth leads to all sorts of problems. People start rating their worth based on arbitrary conditions. “ I feel worthwhile because I have this great job, good looks, money, talent etc.” Striving for self esteem causes us to view ourselves as “human doings”, rather than “beings”. Ellis’s view is we are far better off when we accept and CHOOSE to value ourselves for “being”, rather than for “doing”. We are, after all, human beings and not human doings!
I work in the affluent city of Boca Raton, Florida and sometimes see very wealthy and successful people from throughout the Palm Beaches. However in spite of their status, accomplishments, material wealth, etc., many of them suffer from lack of acceptance which leads to feelings of worthlessness and often, depression.
Developing a philosophy of unconditional self-worth takes some work as we are bombarded with thousands of messages from the culture, society and the media conditioning us to think in the other direction. Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy provides guidance for achieving this end.
My favorite book on self-acceptance in Ellis and Harper’s, “A New Guide to Rational Living.” At this point it is probably available through the bookstore at www.albertellisinstitute.org.
I have written a number of short guide books based, in part of Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy and cognitive therapy. The topics include: Depression, Anger, Stress, Weight lose, Alcohol, Drugs, Tobacco and Teenage Suicide. They are available on my website, www.cognitivetherapy.cc