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by Emmett Velten & Patricia E. Penn (with Inspiration from Albert Ellis)
by Emmett Velten & Patricia E. Penn (with Inspiration from Albert Ellis)

REBT For People With Co-occurring Problems: Albert Ellis in the Wilds of Arizona

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• 2010  464pp paperback   ISBN: 9781568871233

"Perhaps you think Albert Ellis' REBT (Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy) involves the mindless but forceful repetition of a few simple concepts.  This book should change your mind. REBT, presented by Velten and Penn as RAPT (Rational Assessment and Personalized Treatment), is capable of deeply responding to the complexities and nuances of life."

"Just as medical illustrations can be a better teaching tool than actual photos, the authors' constructed session 'transcripts' are an excellent tool for teaching the subtleties of REBT, particularly as applied to individuals with serious and combined substance and mental health problems.  The transcripts are interspersed with highly helpful explanations of what is happening in the sessions and how it is being responded to."

The book is set as an imaginary visit to Arizona. Ellis visits several treatment settings and conducts ten demonstration sessions.  These sessions illustrate how Ellis would work with a broad range of problems.  The initial sessions are with the professionals themselves.  Ellis asks them to consider how REBT could be applied to their own lives, and how their own lives are not fundamentally different than the lives of the clients they work with.  After working with a counselor depressed about not losing weight, and three counselors experiencing burnout, Ellis works with a methamphetamine user with psychotic symptoms, a woman with drinking problems diagnosed with DID (dissociative identity disorder), a methadone client not getting 'take home' doses of methadone because of pot use, a man with a history of alcohol and LSD use now diagnosed with schizophrenia who is frustrated because people do not believe he has microchips installed in him, another counselor working in a prison feeling stuck in his job, and an alcohol using man diagnosed as having rapid cycling bipolar disorder and placed on a locked psychiatric unit."

There are also didactic presentations on counselor burnout, the realities and language of 'dual diagnosis' and 'co-morbidity' (leading to the conclusion that 'co-occurring problems' is the most sensible term), the best practices for dealing with co-occurring problems, the principles of RAPT, responding to seemingly hopeless and unmotivated clients, and SMART Recovery.  There is even a 'radio interview' of Ellis as he addresses a popular audience about REBT."

"This book is ideally suited for professionals in the public treatment system, on either side of the substance abuse/mental health divide the authors hope to help end.  Because of the rich clinical wisdom throughout this book, even experienced REBT practitioners are likely to admire and learn from it.  Those who knew Ellis personally will re-experience him on these pages. . . .  As noteworthy as the clinical wisdom is the humor.  Ellis has a well-deserved reputation as a humorist, and Velten and Penn carry on this tradition.  Their humor will be especially meaningful to public treatment system professionals, whose world is well understood by Velten and Penn. However, I suspect just about all readers will come away from this book as I did, laughing with my clients and with myself.  To laugh and learn simultaneously, what a treat!"

A. Tom Horvath,
PhD, ABPP, President, Practical Recovery; President, SMART Recovery

"Often labeled as 'Dual Diagnosis' most patients have co-occurring problems on DSM Axes I, II, III, and IV, and poor functioning coded on Axis V.  They present for therapy with what I have called 'symptom profusion.'  Drs. Emmett Velten and Patricia Penn have developed a model they term Rational Assessment and Personalized Treatment (RAPT), based in Ellis' REBT.  In this volume they offer a conceptual framework, a strategy for cognitive, emotional, behavioral and philosophical change, an explication of the RAPT techniques, and superb clinical examples. This book is essential reading and study for all CBT therapists."
     -Arthur Freeman
, EdD, ScD, ABPP,
Visiting Professor, Governors State University, University Park, IL:

Table of Contents
    Chapter 1:  Behind the Scenes
    Chapter 2Shortcuts
    Chapter 3:  Ellis by Air and by Land
    Chapter 4The ABCs of Treatment and Self-Help
    Chapter 5A Demonstration of REBT With a Counselor
    Chapter 6Burnout, Part I - Causes and Cures
    Chapter 7Burnout, Part II - How To Proof Yourself Against It
    Chapter 8"Dual Diagnosis" and Its Contenders
    Chapter 9Best Practices: Integrated, Unique Treatment for Integrated, Unique People
    Chapter 10:  Radio KOPE: Ellis on the Airwaves
    Chapter 11Rational Assessment and Personalized Treatment (For People With Co-occurring Problems)
    Chapter 12Unmotivated, Defensive, In Denial ? Hopeless Case
    Chapter 13Ramsay Ramsay, Quite Contrary
    Chapter 14In Deep Mañura
    Chapter 15:  SMART Recovery
    Chapter 16Medication-Assisted Treatment - The Clinic
    Chapter 17Ellis in the Garden of Eden
    Chapter 18The House of Corrections
    Chapter 19:  Inpatient Psychiatric Locked Unit
    Chapter 20Going Home

References & Resources

CE Program
A supplemental 15-credit, 150 question continuing education program is available for this book.  To order the complete program (this book and CE test module, or test module alone if you already have access to this book), go to: REBT For People With Co-occurring Problems - CE Program (15 Credits)

For information about our approved continuing education sponsorships
and acceptance by state, please click here:
Continuing Education

About the Authors
Emmett Velten, PhD, has a private practice in Phoenix where he sees people in person and by phone.   He was, for many years, Clinical Director at Assisted Recovery Centers of America, a private program in Phoenix, AZ using cognitive-behavioral therapy together with anti-craving and other medications, to treat people with alcohol and/or opioid problems.  Dr. Velten is a long-time practitioner and trainer in Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy.  He was a founding member of Alcohol and Drug Abuse Self-Help Network, and was a long-time member of the Board of Trustees of the Albert Ellis Institute in New York City.  With Ellis, he co-authored two books, When AA Doesn’t Work for You, and Optimal Aging.  He edited Under the Influence: Reflections of Albert Ellis in the Work of Others, and Albert Ellis: American Revolutionary (in press).  He has held a variety of posts, including Clinical Development Director at Bay Area Addiction Research & Treatment (BAART), a nationwide substance abuse treatment and primary healthcare organization headquartered in San Francisco, where he left his heart and lives part-time.

Patricia E. Penn
, PhD,
is a psychologist and the Director of Research and Evaluation at La Frontera Center in Tucson, Arizona.  She has been the principal investigator or evaluation director for projects funded by federal and state grants, including NIDA, SAMHSA’s National Child Traumatic Stress Network, the NIDA Clinical Trials Network, the Arizona Biomedical Research Commission, CSAT, and CSAP.  These were primarily to develop and study treatments for co-occurring conditions.  She was an invited member of the American Society for Addiction Medicine’s work group to revise their Patient Placement Criteria to include co-occurring conditions, the Arizona Integrated Treatment Consensus Panel (SAMHSA funded), and an expert panel on improving treatment for co-occurring conditions sponsored by SAMHSA. She led the development of ADMIRE Plus, an integrated treatment program for co-occurring conditions, which received an Award of Excellence from the National Council for Community Behavioral Healthcare in 2000.  In 2003, she received a leadership award from the Arizona Practice Improvement Collaborative.  She also directs La Frontera’s comprehensive program evaluations and is faculty in their psychology doctoral internship program.  In addition, she teaches meditation and mindfulness at Miraval Resort.

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