Tag Archives: Epictetus

The Philosophy of Unconditional Acceptance

Dr. Albert Ellis (1913 – 2007)

The Greek Stoic Philosopher, Epictetus, wisely observed that

“Men are disturbed not by things, but by the views which they take of them.” 

Though the statement itself may be short and simple, the philosophy behind it is profound.  It is a philosophy that was not lost on Dr. Albert Ellis who, as a result of his own neurotic self-disturbing, learned at an early age what Stoics like Epictetus had known long before — we are, with few exceptions, responsible for our own psychological well-being and that, for the most part, we create our own neurotic tendencies.  It is upon the foundation of this simple philosophy that Ellis created the forerunner of all cognitive-behavior therapies — Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT).  It is a therapeutic approach which empowers the individual by exposing the myth of self-esteem, and by offering instead the philosophical approach of unconditional acceptance.

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A Brief Survey of Step Four

Step 4:  Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.

In the essay, On Human Nature, three basic human instincts — the survival instinct, the social instinct, and the happiness instinct — are described as the foundation of all cognition, behavior and emotion.  Though the means by which we endeavor to satisfy these innate end objectives vary greatly by individual and by society, the most common manifestations thereof were first noted by the renowned psychologist, Andrew Maslow.  In a 1943 article entitled A Theory of Human Motivation, Maslow proposed a universal hierarchy of instrumental needs which exist as means to satisfy instinctual end objectives.

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