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The Difference is Personal: A Comparison of the Theory and Practice of Ellis and Beck Open Access


Other title
Aaron T. Beck
Novice Therapist Training
Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy
Cognitive Therapy
Albert Ellis
Type of item
Degree grantor
University of Alberta
Author or creator
Nordlund, Felicia K
Supervisor and department
Whelton, William (Educational Psychology)
Examining committee member and department
McInnes, Alison (Educational Psychology)
Buck, George (Educational Psychology)
Department of Educational Psychology
Counselling Psychology
Date accepted
Graduation date
Master of Education
Degree level
Psychology students are introduced to several major schools of modern psychology, including Albert Ellis’ rational emotive therapy (RET), and Aaron Beck’s cognitive therapy (CT). Both of these theories are based on analyzing and changing the way clients think. However, introductory psychology textbooks typically do not compare and contrast these two major theories in any depth. As such, the goal of this thesis was to compare RET and CT. The author found that a few differences exist between the theories of RET and CT, and that the main distinction lies in the style of therapeutic relationship recommended and practiced by each theorist. All the differences identified by the author appear to be at least partly due to Ellis’ and Beck’s divergent personal backgrounds and interpersonal characteristics. The implications of this conclusion for training novice psychologists are discussed.
Permission is hereby granted to the University of Alberta Libraries to reproduce single copies of this thesis and to lend or sell such copies for private, scholarly or scientific research purposes only. Where the thesis is converted to, or otherwise made available in digital form, the University of Alberta will advise potential users of the thesis of these terms. The author reserves all other publication and other rights in association with the copyright in the thesis and, except as herein before provided, neither the thesis nor any substantial portion thereof may be printed or otherwise reproduced in any material form whatsoever without the author's prior written permission.
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