Some publications are from the collaboration of by Dr. Abrams with Dr. Albert Ellis who is generally considered to be the founder of all modern therapies and before that the first full time sex therapist in American. Both Dr. Mike Abrams and Dr. Lidia Abrams studied and collaborated with Dr. Ellis for 17 years. Dr. Ellis developed Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy which was the first of the cognitive or cognitive behavioral therapies. The linchpin of this approach is avoidance of moral judgments and the striving to understand all problems from the client point of view. CBT has been researched to be effective irrespective of the history of the person seeking help. REBT and CBT rejects the unsupported conjecture of unconscious transference and therefore, accepts all client actions, emotions and communications as real and legitimate.
Its humanistic perspective holds that each individual has developed his or her own unique construction of the world that must be understood and appreciated before any psychotherapeutic intervention can be developed. Importantly, when a person is anxious, despondent or behaving a non-optimal way it is because the person construction of the world is not allowing the individual function optimally. Thus, REBT and CBT will help you find those aspects of your world-view, your personal philosophy, or your beliefs that have become the source of your distress, fear or despair. Working together with you he will help change those constructions that are keeping you from reaching your personal best.
Dr. Mike Abrams and Dr. Lidia Abrams approach problems in life by continually listening for client beliefs that lead to emotional distress. This humanistic technique applies to social, interpersonal, family and sexual problems. It is derived from the discoveries that led what is now know as cognitive behavior therapy. Specifically, it is not the past or a person's history that leads to his or her painful emotions but his or her beliefs about the past. Dr. Mike Abrams and Dr. Lidia Abrams are among the few psychologists in new jersey Board Certified in these methods. To help illustrate the type of thinking we help people to change we have set forth some of the core beliefs that cause emotional disturbance.
The Philosophy of Rational Emotive Behavior therapy and Cognitive behavior therapy. Dr. Mike Abrams and Dr. Lidia assiduously apply this philosophy with all of their clients.
Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT / CBT) is a comprehensive approach to psychological treatment that deals not only with the emotional and behavioral aspects of human disturbance, it places a great deal of stress on the thinking component of distress. Human beings are exceptionally complex and they doesn't seem to be any simple way in which people become "emotionally disturbed" nor is there a single way in which they can be helped to be less-defeating. Our psychological problems arise from misperceptions and mistaken cognitions about what we perceive from our emotional under reactions or overreactions to normal and unusual stimuli and from our habitually dysfunctional behavior patterns which enable us to keep repeating non adjustive responses even when we “know” that we are behaving poorly or even foolishly.
HEALING BY CHANGING ONE's LIFE PHILOSOPHY
REBT is based on the assumption that what we label our “emotional” reactions are largely caused by our conscious and unconscious evaluations, interpretations and philosophies. Thus, we feel anxious or depressed because we strongly convince ourselves that it is terrible when we fail at something or that we can’t stand the pain of being rejected. We feel hostile because we vigorously believe that people who behave unfairly to us absolutely should not act the way they indubitably do and that it is utterly insufferable when they frustrate us.
Like stoicism, a school of philosophy that existed some two thousand years ago, rational emotive behavior therapy holds that there are virtually no good reasons why human beings have to make themselves very neurotic no matter what kind of negative stimuli impinge on them. It gives them full leeway to feel strong negative emotions such as sorrow, regret, displeasure, annoyance, rebellion and determination to change social conditions. However, it believes that when they experience certain self-defeating and unhealthy emotions (such as panic, depression, worthlessness or rage), they are usually adding an unrealistic and illogical hypothesis to their empirically-based view that their own acts or those of others are reprehensible or inefficient and that something would better be done about changing them.
Rational emotive behavior therapists — often within the first session or two of seeing a client can almost always put their finger on a few central irrational philosophies of life which this client vehemently believes. They can show clients how these ideas inevitably lead to emotional problems. Hence to presenting clinical symptoms can demonstrate exactly how they forthrightly question and challenge these ideas that can often induce them to work to uproot them and replace with scientifically testable hypotheses about themselves and the world which are not likely to get them into future neurotic difficulties.
Rational Emotive / Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Demonstrates that a Person's Beliefs is the Fundamental Cause of Distress
HOW CBT/REBT DIFFERS FROM OTHER PSYCHOTHERAPY APPROACHES
One of the most common mistakes of therapists treating couple in crisis is a function of the often exaggerated self-important self-image of many practitioners. Specifically, some therapists presume that a couple that has had failing communications, deception, romantic or sexual infidelity (to name a few of problems that bring people to couple's counseling) will suddenly sit side by side in front of the all-powerful therapist and the facades, lies, deceptions, miscommunications etc. all will come to abrupt halt. Why on earth should people suddenly come clean and bare their soul in front of some stranger. Aucontraire (pardon my French) but they will more often redouble their efforts out of shame, fear or simple recalcitrance. Imagine how you would feel after you have been withholding from or even deceiving the person closet to you when you are suddenly confronted by a complete stranger to reveal all. Tell the truth.... you would tell him to f__k off in eloquent and calm terms but continue the lies and deception. If you lie to someone you love or supposedly love but have come to resent, why the hell should you prostrate yourself in front of a stranger with couple of degrees and do an veracity dump?
Dr. Mike Abrams was personally trained by sex therapy founder, Dr. Albert Ellis in couples therapy and marriage counseling. His approach is to see each member of the couple separately (while both are present in the office) assuring complete confidentiality for all content conveyed in the partial-session to each. Dr. Abrams then formulates -- using the the two perspectives he would now have apprehended -- a model relationship from the participant's points of view. From this he has a clear idea of the difficulties the relationship faces to survive and the specific actions required of each participant to achieve a working and loving relationship.
He then meets with them together and has each recapitulate that portion of what was disclosed in confidence that he or she is willing to reveal in the presence of his/her partner. From this point on the couple is asked to view themselves, the partner and relationship itself in a new light with renewed goals, expectations and demands.How to Select a Psychologist, Therapist or Counselor
In most major cities, people seeking to provide you with mental health services. The first thing to check for is a license. This may seem unnecessary but unfortunately there is a significant number of people who are not licensed to provide professional services and circumvent the licensing laws by using terms that do not fall under the license laws, terms like life coach or professional advisor are among those that are not regulated. A Google search for licensees in each field should separate this type of wheat from the chaff.
One you have found an individual with a license you will want to ascertain the amount of training or experience they have in the problem you are having. Have they taken courses? Have they taught in the field? Have they published in the area? These are key questions for determining competence.
Related to the previous, determine what they have done to keep up with the field. Find out what they do to learn the latest evidenced based treatments. In general, an educated integrative approach is best.
Here the therapist has developed some competence in several treatment methods and have specific criteria for selecting the one most appropriate for your problem. A major and often overlooked requirement of quality healthcare is the measure the therapist uses to support his or her own diagnosis, progress and hypotheses about you. You would not see a physician who uses no testing to confirm his/her diagnosis. Why would you expect less of a therapist? In fact, some authors have found that therapists that do no have an objective measure of their client's mental status tend to improve minimally with experience.
Finally determine how they bill, how they work with insurance, and how their rates compare with others providing similar services. The very best people do not necessarily charge the highest fees.
Half a century ago Albert Ellis noted that a typically intelligent person would often act in ways that seem self-defeating or foolish. His explanation for this phenomenon became the basis of all psychotherapies that are called any of cognitive behavioral, cognitive, interpersonal or Rational Emotive. In contrast to both the psychotherapeutic dogma of his time and his clinical education Ellis came to a novel explanation of emotional dysfunction. His epiphany was that it was not unconscious forces or conflicts that led to adversities that fall within the realm of mental health. Based on a pattern observed among clients, he concluded that all dysfunctions that can be ameliorated by psychotherapy are a result of two factors. The first is a function innate constitutional propensities, the second is the inevitable tendency towards and irrational thinking (ref). Importantly, he observed that people are fully aware of most of their irrational beliefs yet tend to tenaciously maintain them despite their leading to despair and dysfunctional behavior. These conclusions, the product of his early clinical work, and his work as a sex therapist led in 1953 his break with psychoanalysis. Once this break was complete he commenced calling himself a rational therapist through which he advocated psychological interventions with goal of changing peoples irrational thinking and behavior.
Early in the process of developing an new therapeutic paradigm Ellis also noted that people with sexual and intimacy problems were also victims of the same type of irrational thinking. Specifically, the preponderance of sexual difficulties were spawned by rigid inflexible thinking and obsessive demands on people, including oneself. In essence irrational thinking and acting in sexual affairs led to disruptions of relationships, difficulty in achieving stable bonds and emotional distress in encounters. Sexual intimacy in the best of circumstances can be difficult, especially enduring intimacy. In any cases sexual passion lasts just long enough for copulation, occasionally it endures long enough to wean a child in rare and uniquely romantic cases. Love and sex and remain intimately connected for the lifetime of one of the partners.
Sadly, the third case is rare. The dismal reality, based on the high rate of divorce and relationship dissolution is that the transition from romantic love to an enduring conjugal love commonly fails to manifest. Although, divorce rates remained fairly constant in the last two decades, there has been a trend towards fewer couples marrying. For example, approximately 85% of people born from 1940 to 1944 were married by the age of 30 in contrast to the 65% of people born from 1970 to 1974. Estimated divorce and separation rates range from 40% to higher rates as those found by Martin and Bumpass who concluded that when allowing for underreporting the actual rate is closer to 66%. Whatever the precise rate of divorce, it likely understates the rate of relationship dissolution, as many relationships fail before marriage is achieved.
Given high rate of divorce, relationship instability and the range of negative emotions that arise from disrupted relationships it would seem to beg the question is there evidence that the same type of distorted thinking that is addressed in all modern therapies the foundation of despair in love and intimacy. This was studied at this center utilizing two surveys of total of 550 people, it was found that those people who most strongly endorsed the irrational beliefs detailed by Ellis had the greatest degree of sexual difficulties.
In 1895 Breuer and Freud published a book titled Studies in Hysteria that paved the way for a century of psychoanalytic explanations of human behavior. The theme of the explanations is that expressed or repressed sexuality, aggression underlie and direct all human behavior. Indeed, even the most creative acts are viewed as resulting from disguised sexual intentions in the form of sublimation. Although, psychoanalytic theory has largely failed to meet research support, it seems to have stumbled onto a key principle of today’s zeitgeist, evolutionary psychology. Evolutionary psychology supports the idea that sex does permeate most every aspect of our lives. A man does not buy the expensive sports car only because he wants to drive fast. A woman does not dye her hair or buy a snug fitting dress because she wants to look good for herself. Even someone cramming for college entrance exams might be trying to bring his or her grades up for reasons other than college admissions. Entrance into a better school leads to increased income and consequently better access to a mate.
Supporting this perspective, psychologist David Buss theorized that virtually all male violence has a sexual basis. This point was compellingly detailed by authors Malcolm Potts and Thomas Hayden who cogently argue that most wars can be traced to innate sexual competition. This evolutionary perspective of violence is based on both direct and indirect sexual jealousy. Direct sexual jealousy usually involves a male guarding his mate, whereas indirect jealousy extends to encounters that are tangential to the love relationship. For example, the rage a man feels when slighted is abstractly sexual, as it may result in his losing prestige or social standing. Since all men are potential sexual competitors, loss of face typically leads to a diminution in a man’s access to females. Indeed, many evolutionary psychologists opine that homicidal jealousy is an evolutionary adaption since killing a direct or indirect sexual competitor was an efficient solution during human evolution. Why not? There were no jails, lawsuits or any consequences save for revenge by the slain man’s kin. Killing one’s sexual competitor smoothed the path towards passing one’s genes to future generations. In short, evolution may have made it more adaptive to kill than be cuckolded. The need to take an evolutionary view of sex is emphasized by Dobzhansky, who said “nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution. By logical extension it follows that nothing in sexuality makes sense except in light of evolution. Psychologists who attempt to understand and treat couples in distress must at least make an attempt to understand human social behavior in terms of our evolutionary past.
Many psychotherapists still treat anxiety based on the theories of a 19th century Vienna physician who along with collaborator Josef Breuer proposed that anxiety arises when unconsciously repressed sexual and aggressive impulses begin to force their way into consciousness. Despite more than a century of discredit people with anxiety spend hours with therapists who futilely seek to uncover these secret urges as a means to mitigate the anxious anguish of their client. This is a sad waste of time and money.& Anxiety is a natural adaptive emotion that arises primarily from a brain module called the amygdala. This part of the brain mediates fear, aggression, and many other survival related affects. Importantly, in some people it is far more active than in others. That is, some people feel fear more intensely and pervasively than others. Indeed, there are a few people who have been documented to never experience fear or anxiety at all. And sadly, their are others who are plagued with dread or even terror with the most minor or provocations.
People with anxiety of the kind described above are bi necessarily deficient. Instead they may very well be adapted for dangerous environments in which fearfulness and the associated vigilance would enhance their survival chances. However, too much of a good (or adaptive) thing can be problematic. When someone's amygdala interprets too many events as dangers - and these events include the person's own thoughts -- then fear will be handicapping or even disabling. Such a person needs to first understand the nature of his or her fears, the circumstances in which they become worse and unique way in which they manifest. Anxiety is not always perceived as dread but can be experienced as dizziness, fatigue, irritability, and a range of other physical expressions. One reason for this is one of the many connection sites of the amygdala is the insular cortex that can link bodily sensations to emotions. An understanding of the multifaceted expressions of anxiety can act to reduce the secondary fears that often accompany it. The sufferer must then learn to identify the triggers of the the anxiety -- and this is often not readily accomplished.. Joseph LeDoux of New York University has experimentally demonstrated that there are at least two fear pathways one largely conscious and the other unconscious. Consequently, a person can experience fear or anxiety after being exposed to a thing or event that unconsciously represents danger without any awareness of the anxiety trigger.
Recent research by Dr. Abrams has shown that people with health problems often use irrational beliefs to evade appropriate self-care. Using a brief measure of personality, Dr. Abrams and his co-workers found that people resistent to new ideas, with less emotional resilence, and less commitement to consciencious behavior often allow their health to deteriorate. If you have a chronic health problem it is very much in your interest to be aware that your personal philosophy can lead to a unique type of denial that can endanger your health. Indeed, In his latest study Dr. Abrams found that people with chronic illnesses like diabetes can be expect to have better outcomes if they are made aware of the irational components of their thinking.
Unlike most other health professionals psychotherapists are often self restrained by dogma derived from schools of thought. These include psychodyanamic, Rational Emotive, Cognitive, Cognitive Behavior, Interpersonal and so on. The consumer of mental health services needs to carefully evaluate the approach that each therapist applies and his or her ability to apply other approaches. Very often in reviewing psychologist websites one will find statements indicating that a psychologist is psychodynamic - applying a variation of Fredian Therapy - but that they also claim to use CBT when think it appropriate. This is very much like a physician saying that they use chiropractic healing but apply real scientific medici wehen necessary. First, one must ask is the therapist trained in all of these approaches that they claim to use. Second, it is helpful to know when they think switching approaches is beneficial to the client. The recent dominance in research of CBT has led many poorly trained therapists to claim to use this approach when in reality they have had no more than a weekend seminar. What is particularly vexing about this trend is that Cogntiive therapies are not functionally compatible with the traditional dynamic psychotherapies. The latter predicate their treatment on giving the client insight into the origin of his or her problems. And from this is posited that the insight cures. Categorically, this is absurd. If you were to find that you have low self esteem because you had poor bonding with your mother, do you really think that this discovery will make it go away? Sadly, things are not that easy; like all major life changes it requires hard work, practice, and commitment to change. Although the therapist's talent is a key factor in therapeutic efficacy, there are certain factors that aid in healing. Blame is at the core of most emotional disturbances such as Irrational idea (e.g., I must be loved by everyone)à internalize à self-defeating. We have a tendency to make ourselves emotionally disturbed by internalizing self-defeating beliefs. CBT hypothesizes that we keep ourselves emotionally disturbed by the process of self-indoctrination CBT holds that neurotic problems directly stem from magical, “unvalidated” thinking.