By Ted Alston, Volunteer Meeting Facilitator
In 2005, William White and Martin Nicolaus wrote that SMART Recovery and other secular recovery groups “were influenced by the work of Carl Rogers and Albert Ellis”1. Ellis gave us the ABC Model and other tools. The influence of Rogers is less direct. I find the writings of Rogers to be tough reads. However, the following quote is clear and may be of interest to students of SMART2.
“We regard the medical model as an extremely inappropriate model for dealing with psychological disturbances. The model that makes more sense is a growth model or a developmental model. In other words we see people as having a potential for growth and development and that can be released under the right psychological climate. We don’t see them as sick and needing a diagnosis, a prescription and a cure; and that is a very fundamental difference with a good many implications” — Carl Rogers, 1978
SMART has no position on the so-called medical model, and Rogers did not find that model necessary. Furthermore, he cautioned against labels.
At different times, Ellis and Rogers were individually recognized as the Humanist of the Year by the American Humanist Association. From the photos, it is hard to say which psychologist sported the pointiest shirt collar.
2 The quote is from an interview and was selected by editor David Webb for the preface to Significant Aspects of Client-Centered Therapy, Psychology Classics, Carl Rogers.
Details of the interview are at
A Tribute to Albert Ellis
September 27, 2013 is the 100th anniversary of the birth of Albert Ellis, founder of Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy. REBT is an action-oriented approach for helping people manage their emotions, cognitions, and behaviors. The techniques used in REBT have been found to be helpful for people working on addiction recovery and many have been incorporated into the SMART Recovery 4-Point Program.
Dr. Ellis is generally considered to be one of the originators of the cognitive revolutionary paradigm shift in psychotherapy and the founder of cognitive-behavioral therapies. Based on a 1982 professional survey of USA and Canadian psychologists, he was considered as the second most influential psychotherapist in history (Carl Rogers ranked first in the survey; Sigmund Freud was ranked third). Prior to his death, Psychology Today described him as the “greatest living psychologist.” During his career he authored or co-authored over seventy-five books, including “When AA Doesn’t Work for You: Rational Steps to Quitting Alcohol.”
Tom Horvath, Ph.D., President of SMART Recovery, recounts (below) highlights from the memorial that was held for Albert Ellis, Ph.D. at the 2007 annual convention of the American Psychological Association. In contrast to his public reputation as a kind of “Lenny Bruce of therapy”, Ellis was remembered by many for his kindness, courage, wisdom, wit, curiosity, learning, professional contributions, and personal generosity. Continue reading
Albert Ellis in the Wilds of Arizona
by Emmett Velten, PhD, & Patricia E. Penn, PhD
(with inspiration from the real Albert Ellis)
Professional Resource Press, 2010
Reviewed by A. Thomas Horvath, Ph.D.
Perhaps you think Albert Ellis’ REBT (Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy) involves the mindless but forceful repetition of a few simple concepts. This book should change your mind. REBT, presented by Velten and Penn as RAPT (Rational Assessment and Personalized Treatment), is capable of deeply responding to the complexities and nuances of life.
Just as medical illustrations can be a better teaching tool than actual photos, the authors’ constructed session ‘transcripts’ are an excellent tool for teaching the subtleties of REBT, particularly as applied to individuals with serious and combined substance and mental health problems. The transcripts are interspersed with highly helpful explanations of what is happening in the sessions and how it is being responded to.
The book is set as an imaginary visit to Arizona. Ellis visits several treatment settings and conducts ten demonstration sessions. Continue reading