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The Philosophy of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy: Stoic Philosophy as Rational and Cognitive Psychotherapy
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The Philosophy of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy: Stoic Philosophy as Rational and Cognitive Psychotherapy

4.17  ·  Rating details ·  211 ratings  ·  23 reviews
Why should modern psychotherapists be interested in philosophy, especially ancient philosophy?

Why should philosophers be interested in psychotherapy?

There is a sense of mutual attraction between what are today two thoroughly distinct disciplines. However, arguably it was not always the case that they were distinct. The author takes the view that by reconsidering the genera
Paperback, 316 pages
Published September 27th 2010 by Karnac Books (first published 2010)
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Start your review of The Philosophy of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy: Stoic Philosophy as Rational and Cognitive Psychotherapy
I read this book accidentally, after an embarrassing lapse of drunk Inter-Library Loan requesting. I was quite astonished when my library told me they’d summoned a copy from a few hundred miles away, and then vaguely recalled stumbling over the title somewhere and — did I request it? Oh, I guess I did.

I felt bad: I already had too many books that I was putatively “currently reading”, and while this one still looked interesting, it probably wouldn’t have normally climbed to the top of the heap. B
Elf M.
May 29, 2013 rated it it was ok
Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a form of psychological counseling in which the therapist eschews the traditional seeking of root causes for a more objective and forward-seeking approach. Rather than help the patient seek reasons for their problems, the CBT therapist trains the patient in the use of psychological tools and rationalizations to help the patient manage and overcome their disorder. Through the building of habits, repetition, and framing, the patient is expected to develop a be ...more
Sep 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I started perusing this 5 years ago on my planning periods at school--very insightful look at how the ancient's prose model many of today's therapeutic methods, Mr. Robertson intersperses theory, quotes, and in-depth background information into his explanations. I like how he refers to Paul Dubois, Pierre Charcot, and the auto-suggestion methods of Emile Coue. This book is very comprehensive, useful, and historical

The "View from above" is extremely therapeutic--Marcus Aurelius exhorts you to vie
Gary Brooks
Apr 12, 2014 rated it really liked it
It took me four months to read this book as I purposely took my time to reflect on the chapters, and follow up on the references. Robertson has provided an exhaustive account of stoicism and its relation to CBT from the early history of psychotherapy to contemporary practice, and shows how each stage of CBT's evolution can be explicitly linked to a parallel practice in stoicism.

The book is authoritative and extremely well-written.

The only criticism I have is not to do with the content but how t
Aug 18, 2011 rated it it was ok
Recommended to K by: John
Shelves: 1read_chunks_of
Ack! So many thoughts! So hard to get them down in a logical sensical way for book club. It has been a long time since a book has rocked me page-by-page with such intense ambivalence.

am·biv·a·lence [am-biv-uh-luhns]
1. uncertainty or fluctuation, especially when caused by inability to make a choice or by a simultaneous desire to say or do two opposite or conflicting things.
2. Psychology- the coexistence within an individual of positive and negative feelings toward the same person, object, or
Fernando Rainho
Jan 09, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Livro excelente e bem escrito. Feito por alguém que claramente conhece a filosofia estoica assim como a prática psicoterapia em TCC. Existe um grande preconceito sobre o "ser estoico" como alguém frio que racionaliza de forma defensiva as emoções. Fruto de mas traduções e interpretações de termos antigos, bem como falta de aprofundamento teórico do conteúdo proposto e praticado por epicteus, seneca, marco aurélio... o estoicismo em muito é a base/raiz originária do trabalho em psicoterapia atual ...more
Sep 10, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction, mind-body
Well-written discussion of the links between Stoic Philosophy and Cognitive Behavior Therapy. For those who may feel a bit embarrassed about seeing a therapist or doing CBT self-help exercises, this book provides some useful historical context. I had little knowledge of stoic philosophy prior to reading this book; it was very eye-opening for me. I had never realized that any western philosophy was so practical or so focused on how to be happy.

The only criticism I have of the book is that while r
Chris Nagel
Apr 09, 2020 rated it really liked it
The butler did it.
Donald Robertson demonstrates the fruitfulness of connecting Stoic thought to Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy in this detailed and careful book. I think it suffers two main flaws. First is that it downs' quite settle one way or another on whether it is a scholarly work or a work showing a clinical approach to therapy, or even an attempt to reach a popular audience (which seems less the case than the other two). It may fail to reach either audience as a result, which is unfortunate
James Gartner
Dec 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Before I begin, I should say I have a Master's in Clinical Social Work from NYU and a Bachelor's in philosophy. So keep that in mind when reading this review.

This book is beyond doubt one of the absolute best looks into the philosophical underpinnings that make therapy so worthwhile. Beyond reading the theoretical developers of CBT, DBT, REBT, etc, this is a must-have for any therapist genuinely dedicated to their craft. Without this knowledge (which is explicitly ignored, forgotten, or mocked a
Mandy Nash
Dec 28, 2018 rated it liked it
I wish there was a category on Goodreads for "started to read but didn't finish." Because that was my experience with this book. So, my rating is for what I read of the introduction and part of chapter 1. Talk about some mind=boggling material! This is definitely a book for the philosophical mind. I thought I'd dip my toes in some stoic philosophy but found unable to understand and be excited about reading the material. Being that I am not in school, I want to read for a pleasurable past time, a ...more
Bastard Travel
Someone's graduate thesis on the similarities between stoic philosophy and REBT (and, to a lesser extent, CBT). Stoics practiced mindfulness, did extensive self-talk, played it through to the end, and journaled relentlessly. The same therapeutic processes that kept that perpetual sadsack Marcus Aurelius from falling on his sword remain the foundation of modern depression treatment. ...more
Oct 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A practical and philosophical gold mine

Having been interested in both Stoicism and REBT for decades, this book does a laudable job of explaining and discussing the impact of Stoicism on modern psychotherapy. It also gives countless pearls - both ancient and modern - for using these principles in everyday life. An excellent read.
Sep 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Really enjoyed this book - thought it was a good intro to stoicism and the comparison to modern psychology
Tyler Muse
Feb 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Practical book on stoicism

One of the best and most practical books on stoicism. Robertson shows how one can easily enact stoics principles and habits in your life.
Patty Hagar
Jul 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Helpful and clever crossing of the streams between OG philosophy and modern therapy.
I give this book 3 out 5 Stars because, although this book was written with a focus on Stoicism and its relations to Psychotherapy, the author makes references to Christianity and when he does the references are more so ignoramus and implied biased (e.g. Biblical God as Myth, The Laws seen as Arbitrary, Catholicism seen as Oppressive, etc...) one gets a sense of being spiteful toward Christianity, which is a shame considering the High Quality Intellectual work that went into the book.

The Author
Taylor Grayson
Jul 17, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This book is by far the best of several that I've read about Stoicism. Other books rely too heavily on large quotes of Roman or Greek authors, quotes that themselves are written as rather archaic translations, difficult to understand in a modern context.Robertson, instead, explains concepts in modern English, drawing upon concepts from modern cognitive therapy, then provides relevant quotes from the ancient authors. Even without the quotes, this book could stand alone as a good explanation of St ...more
Feb 29, 2012 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Reid by: GR John
Nice book. Lends support and evidence to the promise of Stoicism, the forerunner of CBT therapy, and records the links that were badly needed and mostly ignored, apparently, by the major rational and cognitive behavioral "originators" (Ellis, Beck). (An even better focus on Stoicism is A Guide to the Good Life: The Ancient Art of Stoic Joy by William B. Irvine.) ...more
Feb 03, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An excellent review of ancient Stoic philosophy and how it formed the basis of a number of therapeutic techniques in modern psychology, especially Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy. There is a lot of practical "how-to" advice that applies equally to self-therapy and Stoic philosophy . . . ...more
Kevin L
May 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Very helpful!

I have found Stoicism incredibly helpful. It is nice to know these techniques actually have basis in science. Great read!
Bill Mayer
Jan 23, 2016 rated it really liked it
A very good book, I think, best read in small doses. If you are in one of the helping professions....or just interested in the ancient philosophers - or both; this book is worth reading.
Jul 13, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A pretty good book for introduction to some of the therapeutic techniques employed by stoics.
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Author of How to Think Like a Roman Emperor: The Stoic Philosophy of Marcus Aurelius. I'm a philosopher and psychotherapist with a special interest in Stoicism and CBT. ...more

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