Sunday, 28 February 2010

Behaviour Education in Schools

We don't get upset but rather we make ourselves upset because of the way we think about (our philosophical views) ourselves, others and the world. Epictetus said in 100 AD that events don't make us feel and act as we do but it is the way we think of them that drives how strong we feel and the actions we take.' Did he 'make me mad' beacuse he wouldn't let me join in the game or did I make myself mad beacuse I believe 'he should have' let me join in and he didn't? Dr. Albert Ellis' Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy embraces Epictetus' wisdom and through his ABC Theory of Emotional Disturbance Ellis has provided us with the tools to help us understand how we can make ourselves upset and how we can better manage our self inflicted disturbances.

Dr. Albert Ellis strongly encourages us to apply the theory and practice of REBT in the school setting so that students can learn to manage themselves emotionally and behaviourally more successfully. Dr. Ellis encourages the layperson (parents, teachers, counsellors) to learn howto help themselves achieve social/emotional and behavioural well being by understanding his ABC Theory of Emotional Disturbance and applying it to themselves and using it to help others. His ABC theory was created to help people who were struggling with issues of mental health in a curative setting (counselling, psychotherapy) but he also understood from the outset its potential in terms of preventative, educative applications. 

Dr. Ellis would be happy to know that since his death in July 2007 a lot of work has been done to continue his legacy. His wife, Dr. Debbie Joffe Ellis is busy proofreading Ellis' autobiography to be published in July this year. She is the guest presenter at a workshop in Adelaide on April 16th this year at the Education Development Centre in Hindmarsh.

Dr. William Knaus is organising a number of books to be published in the Legacy Book Series dedicated the life and work of the late Dr. Ellis ( Since the 1970's he has written REE (Rational Emotive Education) materials for schools and you can download a free teaching REE resource from the above website.

The author of this post is busy helping schools apply the principles and practices of REBT in schools across all curriculum areas, so that preventative mental health is embedded in policy and daily school practices. Dr Ellis was an enthusiastic supporter of my work up until his passing in 2007. There will be more about this in future posts.

REBT offers teachers and counsellors the means with which to help students learn how to less seriously disturb themselves so that they will be less likely to suffer the bebilitating effects of anxiety, anger and depression.