Ellis and Epictetus: Dialogue vs. method in psychotherapy.

Dryden, Windy and Still, A.. 2003. Ellis and Epictetus: Dialogue vs. method in psychotherapy. Journal of Rational-Emotive & Cognitive-Behavior Therapy, 21(1), pp. 37-55. ISSN 08949085 [Article]

No full text available

Abstract or Description

Some recent commentators have found problems in the scientific status of Ellis's REBT, which seem not to be present in Beck's CBT. We argue that this may be partly because they drew differently from the traditions of thought available to them, which appears most clearly in their first published articles. Beck's articles were more in the modern medical tradition, whose history forms part of the search for method leading to abstract knowledge and control that has been so powerful a feature of Western culture. Ellis was more discursive in style and drew more explicitly on the dialogic tradition, in which obstacles to self-awareness and freedom are removed by enlisting the power of reason through question and answer. Socrates and Epictetus are the classical representatives of this tradition, and Ellis's first article shows clear signs of being modelled on Epictetus. Later, however, though continuing in this tradition in his personal style and popular self-help books, Ellis also developed abstract models and methods that belong to the medical tradition. His dual allegiance has made him vulnerable to criticism from both sides.

Item Type:


Identification Number (DOI):


Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Social, Therapeutic & Community Engagement (STaCS)


March 2003Published

Item ID:


Date Deposited:

12 Mar 2009 15:42

Last Modified:

10 Jul 2017 08:37

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.



Edit Record Edit Record (login required)