Saturday, 21 November 2015

Dalai Lama and Albert Ellis - of like minds

'Human potential is the same for all. Your feeling, “I am of no value”, is wrong. Absolutely wrong. You are deceiving yourself. We all have the power of thought – so what are you lacking? If you have willpower, then you can change anything. It is usually said that you are your own master.' 

Dalai Lama
Dalai Lama

The Dalai Lama talks here about the power of thought (belief). It is 'absolutely wrong' (irrational) to believe we are of no value. It is this belief that undermines our students ability to realise their potential. It is this false premise that causes our students of all ages to feel depressed, anxious. angry. 

Rational Emotive Behaviour Education teaches students the Success Helper belief that they can never be worthless. This is based on evidence. Once students develop this foundation belief they grow in confidence and become as Albert Ellis said 'less self disturbable.'

Students learn that:

  • No one gives them their worth
  • A bad deed does not make a bad person 
  • A good deed does not make a good person
  • They are not their behaviour
  • They are not the opinion of others

This is what teachers do at Para Hills School P-7, Port Augusta West Primary and in many other schools in South Australia through Rational Emotive Behaviour Education. Great stuff!

Sunday, 15 November 2015

REBT in Schools - making kids less self disturbable

Making kids less self disturbable? What does this mean? Aren’t people disturbed by things that happen to them? Don’t we hear ourselves and others say ‘it’ makes me mad when so and so happens? Wouldn’t the world be a better place if what’s her name was this way instead of that way? etc.

If we could make ‘it’ disappear then we’d all feel better wouldn’t we? ''Please make it so that I will not be inconvenienced today and that my day will be one free of discomfort and full of joy!'' we implore. We can wish this be the case but can we guarantee it will be that way?

The problem is that inevitably we will experience discomfort in our day and how disturbed we make ourselves depend on what we expect of our day in the first place. How do we view the events of the day?


'Men are disturbed not by things, but by the view which they take of them.'

The students that come to see me are dealing with questions like; why must I do writing when I want to play on the ipad? Writing makes me mad why must I do it! Why is the teacher so mean, she won’t let me draw and she makes me mad. I’m so dumb and hopeless. You get the picture don’t you? Don’t I? Don’t they?

No they don’t and that is why they present with self defeating, debilitating feelings of anger, anxiety, shame and depression. Please make writing disappear! Please make the teacher let me do what I want when I want to! Please take ‘it’ away and then and only then can I feel OK!

'The universe doesn’t care about you, it’s not for or against you, it just doesn’t give a shit.'
Albert Ellis

Albert Ellis
If Epictetus and Ellis are right and we can’t make ‘it’ disappear then is there another way to deal with challenge and adversity, discomfort, failure and rejection? Why are these children disturbed if it isn’t ‘it’ causing them to be? Is there another cause; another factor or factors at work here?

Albert Ellis said that schools and educators could help children learn how to be less disturbable when things don’t go so well. He argues that as constructivists we have all developed our own habits of thinking (beliefs) and these mostly unconscious personal philosophies determine how strong we may respond to events and happenings. 
  • I must absolutely get what I believe I must have!
  • She must be my friend (she is such a louse/I am such a loser)!
  • I must always get an A for my assignments (if I don’t I’m a loser)!
  • It’s unfair when things don’t go my way (as they should)!
 Jonas Salk who developed the polio vaccine said to Martin Seligman:

'If I were a young scientist today, I would still do immunisation. But instead of immunising kids physically, I’d do it your way. I’d immunise them psychologically. I’d see if these psychologically immunised kids could then fight off mental illness better. Physical illness too.'
Jonas Salk
Ellis tells us that poor mental health is not so much a consequence of the ‘outside it’ but more to do with the ‘inside it!’ Children (and us) are making ourselves disturbed because of what we believe about ourselves, others and life in general. If children can learn how their thinking, feeling and behaving are linked they then have a way to begin to work out how to manage themselves more effectively i.e. so they make themselves less disturbed and more able to handle challenge, discomfort etc. This is what Salk meant about psychologically immunising children with the means to see things in a rational way. Ellis gives us this opportunity through Rational Emotive Behaviour Education and educators are taking heed!

A growing number of schools in South Australia are teaching students how as constructivists they ‘make’ ‘build’ ‘construct’ the ‘thinking rules’ that underpin how they feel and how they behave through Rational Emotive Behaviour Education. They are taught to:
  • Identify what they believe
  • Decide whether they are helpful (rational) or unhelpful (irrational) beliefs
  • Challenge, change and replace errant habits of thinking with more helpful (rational) ones
  • Practise, practise, practise until old habits of thinking are replaced with new ones (automatic helpful thinking feeling and behaving)
Rational Emotive Behaviour Educators are doing this on a daily basis in schools like Para Hills School P-7 and Port Augusta West Primary School and in many others. Get on board the REBE bandwagon and see the difference it makes!