Articles and Papers on Emotive-Cognitive Embodied Narrative Therapy (E-CENT)
There are currently 28 papers on E-CENT counselling and psychotherapy theory and practice on this page (including a few which illustrate the ways in which E-CENT had to distinguish itself from Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy in the first few years of its life).
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There are now about 28 papers on various aspects of the theory and practice of Emotive-Cognitive Embodied Narrative Therapy (E-CENT) available on this page. And several papers on models of mind can be found on the New Writing on E-CENT page***
This page includes 9 papers on REBT (Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy), under the heading “The REBT birth-mark on the embryo of E-CENT”
Updated: 25th April 2016:
The Foundations of Emotive-Cognitive Embodied Narrative Therapy (E-CENT)
The main papers which laid the foundation for the development of Emotive-Cognitive Embodied Narrative Therapy (E-CENT) were as follows:
Byrne, J. (2009/2012) What is Emotive-Cognitive Embodied Narrative Therapy (E-CENT)? E-CENT Paper No.2(a). Updated May 2012. Hebden Bridge: The Institute for E-CENT. Brief extract: E-CENT is defined in terms of the models of therapy used. The E-CENT message to clients is this: “We deal with your emotions. We look at the connection between your thinking and your emotions; your experience and your emotions; your meanings and your emotions; your emotions and behaviours; and the stories within which you live your life. We encourage you to change your self-talk; your habitual behaviours; and to work on your bodily health and the story of your life. We try to provide the best possible analysis of the potential reasons, in the basement of your mind, for your current dysfunctional thoughts-feelings-behaviours. We aim to provide a ‘secure base’ for you within the therapeutic relationship.” This descriptive introduction will be helpful for clients and professionals. (The June 2012 update arose out of a decision to return to the use of the Stimulus>Organism>Response model). Pages: 7.
Byrne, J. (2009) An introduction to the ‘Windows Model’ of E-CENT. E-CENT Paper No.3. Hebden Bridge: The Institute for E-CENT. Brief extract: The Windows Model is the core model of Emotive-Cognitive Embodied Narrative Therapy (E-CENT). It is predicated on ‘frame theory’, which suggests that all of our perceptions are interpretative, and that our interpretations are driven by non-conscious, habit-based ‘framings’ of incoming stimuli, through our senses. The ‘frames’ that we use to interpret incoming stimuli are nested sets of inferences, which are derived from past experience. Depending upon the negativity or positivity of the frame through which you are perceiving an incoming stimulus, you will produce a correspondingly negative or positive emotional/behavioural response. Pages: 16.
Byrne, J. (2009) The “Individual” and his/her Social Relationships – The E-CENT Perspective. E-CENT Paper No.9. Hebden Bridge: The Institute for E-CENT. Brief extract: This paper begins with a recapitulation of the author’s approach to rethinking the model of the human individual implicit in Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy, using some of the core concepts of Freudianism to provide a structure. Next, the text returns to Freud’s writings to review some of those concepts, and in particular to challenge Feud’s view of human sexuality. The result is a more general view of power relations between children and parents, and emotional difficulties arising out of those conflicts, rather than through psychosexual stages of development. The text then reviews the theory and perspective of the Object Relations School of psychology/psychotherapy. This psychodynamic orientation sees relationship as being central to what life is about. It is not an optional extra. Human babies are ‘born to relate’. Relationship is integral to the survival urges and survival strategies of humans. Pages: 48.
Byrne, J. (2009) Some questions and answers about Emotive-Cognitive Embodied Narrative Therapy, and its creator. E-CENT Paper No.7. Hebden Bridge: The Institute for E-CENT. Brief extract: Nine questions and answers about Emotive-Cognitive Embodied Narrative Therapy and its creator. Based on the planned structure of a teleseminar by Dr Jim Byrne; hosted by Dr Pam Garcy, at the University of Texas. Pages: 12.
Byrne, J. (2011-2013) The Innate Good and Bad Aspects of all Human Beings (the Good and Bad Wolf states). E-CENT Paper No.25: Hebden Bridge: The Institute for E-CENT Publications. Brief extract: The Native American Cherokee people had the concept of a war going on inside each human being. That war is between two wolves: the good wolf and the bad wolf. And the wolf that wins the war is the one that is fed the most! References to the Good and Bad Wolf, or the good and bad sides of human nature, can be found in various places in the papers and books published by the Institute for E-CENT. However, there is not an E-CENT paper on this topic which pulls all those ideas together. Therefore, as a short term stop gap, this page has been put together by extracting pieces from a couple of papers, and the original E-CENT book on Therapy After Ellis, Berne, Freud and the Buddha.
Core narratives which illustrate the power of E-CENT
Because E-CENT is a narrative form of therapy, it is best illustrated by the development of narratives or stories of the social-emotional struggles of individuals who are trying to make sense of their lives. The following papers serve that purpose:
Byrne, J. (2009) A journey through models of mind. The story of my personal origins. E-CENT Paper No.4. Hebden Bridge: The Institute for E-CENT. Brief extract: This paper began as an attempt to draft an article that would describe the birth of Emotive-Cognitive Embodied Narrative Therapy (E-CENT). It is a personal narrative about my origins; the beginnings of my life; and the struggles I had to ‘become a person’. As such it could give you some points of reference for your own life, or the lives of your clients or family members. In sharing this story, I am also modelling ‘emotional honesty’, which is very important to personal development and emotional well-being. Pages: 13.
Byrne, J. (2009) The status of autobiographical narratives and stories: Regarding human non-conscious functioning. E-CENT Paper No.5. Hebden Bridge: The Institute for E-CENT. Brief extract: In E-CENT Paper No.4, I presented one of my own autobiographical stories – my Story of Origins – which is typical of the kind of autobiographical narratives that I try to elicit from my E-CENT counselling clients. But what is the status of my autobiographical account, or the autobiographical stories presented by any of my clients? Are they true or false; subjective or objective; partial or complete; or something else? Just how non-conscious are human beings, and just how conscious do they think they are? Pages: 10.
Byrne, J. (2009) How to analyse autobiographical narratives in Emotive-Cognitive Embodied Narrative Therapy. E-CENT Paper No.6. Hebden Bridge: The Institute for E-CENT. Brief extract: How is it possible for a E-CENT therapist to analyse a client’s autobiographical story, given the various constraints or limitations of autobiography, in terms of subjectivism and non-consciousness? The E-CENT therapist does not have any absolutely true or certain answers. But s/he can ask useful questions, introduce useful models and concepts, present helpful processes, and get the client to go back over their narrative, to expand it, refine it, look deeper, look longer, be more creative, and be more scientific or forensic.
Byrne, J. (2010) The Story of Relationship: Or coming to terms with my mother (and father). E-CENT Paper No.10. Hebden Bridge: The Institute for E-CENT. Brief extract: In this paper, the author picks up the story of his relationship with his mother, which was introduced in Paper No.4, above, and takes it forward using four processes: investigation of the stages of child development; writing therapy; art therapy; and Gestalt therapy. In the process, he identifies the key to his long-term problems of lack of relationship with his mother and others. Using the processes mentioned, and then ending with his (then) Five Windows Model, he works through his stuck feelings, and ‘completes his relationship’ with his mother (and, to a lesser extent, his father), which was a major outstanding challenge. Pages: 49.
Byrne, J.W. (2011) What is the E-CENT approach to Narrative Therapy? E-CENT Paper No.16. Hebden Bridge: The Institute for E-CENT. Brief Extract: The E-CENT approach to the use of ‘narrative’ in counselling and therapy is a fusion of various pre-existing systems, as described below, plus some innovations by this writer. This paper incorporates three pieces of writing on the subject of narrative therapy. There are various forms of Narrative Therapy, and practitioners within different schools of counselling and therapy may use a narrative approach. So a narrative therapy session could be cognitive, psychodynamic, or social constructionist in nature. What makes a therapy session ‘Narrative’ is the decision of the counsellor or therapist to focus on the ‘story’ of the client’s life, rather than explore the ‘objective facts’ of their lives. When counselling and therapy are based on the idea that the client lives inside a socially-shaped story, and their way of helping the client involves exploring the possibility of ‘rewriting that story’, then Narrative Therapy is in progress.
Byrne, J.W. and Watkins, A. (2012) The anatomy of a failed marriage: How to complete an undigested adult (marital) relationship failure, using writing therapy. E-CENT Paper No.20. Hebden Bridge: The Institute for E-CENT. Brief extract: In this paper, I (Jim Byrne) have outlined a four stage process of writing therapy for digesting a failed relationship from your past. The reason for digesting such a painful past would be to help to solve a psychological or psychosomatic/physical illness in the present moment. The implicit assumption is this: If you leave undigested emotionally traumatic experience, repressed into your non-conscious mind, then you will most likely begin to experience psychological and/or physical symptoms arising out of that incomplete trauma. Throughout this paper, I (JB) use my counselling relationship with a former client – Alan Watkins (not his real name) – to illustrate how to digest painful past experiences, in simple, manageable steps. And I, (Alan Watkins), have gladly participated in this ‘research process’, to see if I can both heal myself and help to heal others, by making a record of this work public. I am happy for my writing therapy process to be published in this jointly written document.
Byrne, J. and Watkins, A. (2012) Healing the so-called ‘father wound’ – using supported writing therapy. E-CENT Paper No.21. Hebden Bridge: The Institute for E-CENT. Abstract: The authors share their correspondence about Alan Watkins’ email counselling (or ‘supported writing therapy’) process, which addressed a sense of intense shame about his apparent physical cowardice. The therapy consisted of four rounds of submitting an email and getting a response; and doing some ‘homework assignments’ in the interval. In the process, the client (Alan) assessed his own emotional needs; worked on his sense of okay-ness and the okay-ness of his father; explored some definitions of courage; and assessed his own level of courage.
The REBT birth-mark on the embryo of E-CENT
However, before the project to develop E-CENT could get started, it was necessary to review the psychological underpinnings of Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy (REBT), because that was the original form of training undertaken by Dr Byrne. Here are the papers in which that re-thinking was undertaken:
Byrne, J. (2009) Rethinking the psychological models underpinning Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy (REBT). E-CENT Paper No.1(a). Hebden Bridge: The Institute for E-CENT. Brief extract:Emotive-Cognitive Embodied Narrative Therapy (E-CENT) arose out of Dr Byrne’s attempts to reconcile Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy (REBT) and certain other elements of therapy systems that he found useful: commencing with Transactional Analysis (TA), Zen philosophy, and later, attachment theory. It was also shaped by his discovery of some limitations of certain aspects of REBT theory. However, much of the foundations of REBT still serve as important elements of E-CENT. Pages: 24.
Byrne, J. (2009) Beyond REBT: The case for moving on. E-CENT Paper No.1(b). Hebden Bridge: The Institute for E-CENT. Brief extract: For a good number of years, Dr Byrne failed to notice that REBT was strongly (if unintentionally) advocating that people ignore social norms regarding moral judgement. For example, Dr Ellis’s repeated references to the claim that “Hitler was not a bad man!” And “Why must life be fair?” These seemed to be ‘harmless therapeutic tools’, but the time would come when they would be applied socially as guides to action or non-action. The author was finally awoken to this danger by widely circulating reports of the way in which Dr Ellis was treated in the final years of his life by some of his former colleagues; and by counter claims of imoral behaviour by Dr Ellis. Pages: 10.
Byrne, J. (2011) Additional limitations of the ABCs of REBT. E-CENT Paper No.1(c). Hebden Bridge: The Institute for E-CENT. Brief extract: E-CENT has problems with the simple A>B>C model of REBT, and we have evolved a more complex model of the ABCs, which are in line with Dr Albert Ellis’s more complex thinking from 1958-1962. The simple A>B>C model is useful and helpful, if used cautiously. It is an oversimplification of what happens in human functioning. It asserts that (1) something happens (at point A); then (2) the individual adopts a belief about it (at point B); and finally (3) this results in an emotional and behavioural response (at point C). Actually, human functioning is much more complex than this. Pages: 15.
Byrne, J. (2011) On the Conceptual Errors of Bond and Dryden (1996): or how to scientifically validate the central hypotheses of REBT. E-CENT Paper No.1(d). Hebden Bridge: The Institute for E-CENT. Brief extract: This paper was originally written as ABC Occasional Paper No.7, and published six years before the first E-CENT paper above, in August 2003. This document was designed as the first of several inquiries into the nature and veracity of Bond and Dryden’s (1996) critique of Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy (REBT). (See also E-CENT Paper No.1(a) above). The author was convinced that REBT could be effectively defended against these criticisms, and that the work of Dr Albert Ellis could be shown to be beyond reproach. In practice, this document identified some conceptual errors on the part of Drs Bond and Dryden, but also some ambiguous formulations of his ideas by Dr Albert Ellis. Pages: 90.
Byrne, J. (2010) Fairness, Justice and Morality Issues in REBT and E-CENT. E-CENT Paper No.2(b). Hebden Bridge: The Institute for E-CENT. Brief extract: A E-CENT therapist cannot ignore problems of social injustice. It would be immoral for a therapist to always assume their clients are wrong in claiming that they are being treated unfairly. It could also have a detrimental effect on the well-being of an individual to have their just claim for fairness dismissed out of hand by their counsellor or therapist. And in discounting claims of unfairness by a client, the therapist runs the risk of road-blocking their communication. Pages: 41.
Byrne, J. (2010) Self-acceptance and other-acceptance in relation to competence and morality. E-CENT Paper No.2(c). Hebden Bridge: The Institute for E-CENT. Brief extract: Dr Byrne’s stance on acceptance is this: “I do not accept you (or anybody else) unconditionally. There is no law of the universe that says I must do so! And there may be a virtual law of the universe that says I must respond (relatively) vengefully whenever anybody treats me unfairly, according to Haidt (2006). Instead of offering individuals Unconditional Acceptance, E-CENT therapists offer One-Conditional Acceptance: ‘I will accept you totally without reserve, no matter how incompetently or inefficiently you act or think, so long as your are committed to living a moral life. That is an absolute condition of our relationship.” Pages: 44.
Byrne, J. (2011) Some clarifications of the parting of the ways: An open letter to Dr Albert Ellis, on the fourth anniversary of his death. E-CENT Paper No.12. Hebden Bridge: The Institute for E-CENT. Brief extract: This paper is written in the form of an open letter to Dr Albert Ellis, and this is how I defined my goals for the writing of this document: My main goals today are: (1) to honour your value as a human being, and as a great psychotherapist, who helped me, and perhaps tens of thousands of others, to get over their emotional disturbances – through your therapy sessions, books, videos, audio programs, public lectures, and (in my case) personal letters and emails; and: (2) to clarify some of the ways in which I have moved on from REBT into the somewhat overlapping territory of E-CENT. Pages: 18.
Byrne, J. (2012) Reviewing some strengths and weaknesses of Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy (REBT) – and outlining some innovations. E-CENT Paper No.22. Hebden Bridge: The Institute for E-CENT. The author explores his association with Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy (REBT); outlines some of its strengths; summarizes the main weaknesses and deficiencies in REBT; and looks at the role of Goals in human disturbance. He also explores the concept of ‘human emotional needs’, which is not considered valid in REBT; explores some refinements of the A>B>C model; illustrates aspects of the complex A>B>C model; and critiques the typical structure of an REBT session. He then advocates restoring the Stimulus>Organism>Response model to replace the A>B>C model; outlines the E-CENT session structure; and contrasts the process of ‘disputing irrational beliefs’ with the gentler, less conflictual process of ‘re-framing the problem’, which is used in Emotive-Cognitive Embodied Narrative Therapy (E-CENT).
Byrne, J. (2012) My final farewell to Dr Albert Ellis: An open letter. E-CENT Paper No.23. Hebden Bridge: The Institute for E-CENT. Just as on previous anniversaries of the death of Dr Albert Ellis, I feel the need to communicate with that part of Al which is still stuck in my mind. I am striving to achieve completion with that part of him, and I believe I have finally achieved it with this open letter. Just as on previous anniversaries of the death of Dr Albert Ellis, I feel the need to communicate with that part of Al which is still stuck in my mind. I am striving to achieve completion with that part of him, and I believe I have finally achieved it with this open letter.
Paper No.8 has been reclassified as Paper No.1(a), above.
Some practical applications of E-CENT
We have also published a number of papers on subjects as diverse as anger management, processing of emotional experience, and various approaches to self-healing:
Byrne, J. (2011) Understanding Anger in Yourself and Other People: What the experts say. E-CENT Paper No.11. Hebden Bridge: The Institute for E-CENT. Abstract: The author reviewed the most available literature on anger and aggression from cognitive and social psychology, zoology, and philosophy: and especially from Stoicism, Buddhism, Rational Emotive and Cognitive Behaviour Therapy, Freudianism, Attachment theory, the Human Givens approach, assertiveness training, and a small element of Transactional Analysis, the neurobiological perspective, his own Emotive-Cognitive Embodied Narrative Therapy, and some generic anger management perspectives. Pages: 101.
Byrne, J. (2011/2016) Completing your experience of difficult events, perceptions, and painful emotions. E-CENT Paper No. 13. Hebden Bridge: The Institute for E-CENT. Brief extract: The core of the techniques of Emotive-Cognitive Embodied Narrative Therapy (E-CENT) is built around the concept of “reframing your experience” of life, so that it will show up in a more tolerable and bearable way than if you frame it illogically and unreasonably. However, sometimes a client may have a problem buried in their past, about which they know nothing, and this buried problem – this ‘denied pain’ – is the main driver of their current depression, anxiety, panic, or anger. With these kinds of archaic problems of repression, we use techniques related to the concept of “completing” that archaic experience. Pages: 7.
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Byrne, J.W. (2011) Attachment Theory and Psychotherapy – Dr David Wallin’s theory and process. E-CENT Paper No.14. Hebden Bridge: The Institute for E-CENT. Brief overview:Attachment theory is hugely important to those of us who are committed to improving human happiness. Why? Because children become either securely or insecurely attached to their parents, during their early formative years, and their attachment style (secure or insecure) determines their chances for a life of happiness or unhappiness in all subsequent relationships. Of course, we continue to be malleable, and we (who begin with an insecure attachment to mother/father) can correct our attachment style if we are fortunate enough to have ‘curative relationships’ with significant others in which we achieve ‘earned security’. Counselling and psychotherapy, practiced in the Wallin format, has the potential to provide earned security based on such a curative relationship.
Byrne, J.W. (2011) The psychology and philosophy of happiness. E-CENT Paper No.15. Hebden Bridge: The Institute for E-CENT. Brief extract: The psychology of happiness, as explored by Positive Psychology researchers, says that we have to develop our virtues and our strengths, and to live from our virtues and our strengths, in order to be optimally happy. (See the work of Dr Martin Seligman and others, especially Seligman’s book, ‘Authentic Happiness’). Being virtuous is not difficult to understand. It involves being honest and compassionate and charitable, and avoiding harming others. It also involves being brave in the face of life’s difficulties. It especially involves not playing the game of the neo-liberal promoters of social inequality. Equality is better for EVERYBODY, and so living a virtuous life necessarily involves being pro-social and anti-individualistic, and anti-materialistic.
Byrne, J.W. (2011) Counselling for Health (1): Chronic Pain – How Tim Parks’ journey can help us to heal. E-CENT Paper No.17: An extended essay review of Tim Parks’ book, Teach Us to Sit Still: A sceptic’s search for health and healing. Hebden Bridge: The Institute for E-CENT. Brief extract: If you are suffering from chronic pain, or any chronic medical condition which could be stress related, you might find this web page helpful. It explores one man’s journey from chronic pain towards self healing. That journey is shared with the world in the form of an excellent book by Tim Parks. By way of introduction, here is an extract from a review (at Amazon dot com) of Tim Parks’ book,Teach Us to Sit Still: A sceptic’s search for health and healing. London: Harvill Secker / Random House. 2010. “Teach Us to Sit Still will be of great interest to anyone with a chronic medical condition which the doctors seem unable to cure, but also to anyone who is concerned about work/life balance and the long-term effects of ignoring the body’s needs. I can’t say I’m in either of those categories but I still found it a fascinating read. But the book is not only about pain and a quest for healing, for Tim, being the writer and scholar that he is, digresses frequently into philosophical and literary themes which break up the stark accounts of medical processes.”
Taylor-Byrne, R. and Byrne, J. (2011) Counselling for Health (2) – Exercise is good for your body, brain and general health. E-CENT Paper No.18. Hebden Bridge: The Institute for E-CENT. Brief extract: If you have ever done any form of systematic physical exercise, of eastern or western origin, you will have experienced some of the physical and mental benefits of that practice. Your body takes in more oxygen and you burn off stress hormones. You secrete endorphins, or ‘happiness chemicals’ in your brain. You just know it’s good for you, and that it’s pleasurable. However, the tendency towards laziness, which is endemic in each of us, tends, over time, to drag us back to inactivity – to couch potato status. This is one of the problems. It takes real commitment and determination to exercise our bodies day after day after day. And that is what is required, because the benefits of physical exercise, which are actually remarkable, drain away after only a few days of inactivity. That was why we were so excited about finding a wonderful book – Spark: How exercise will improve the performance of your brain– because it gives us dozens of good reasons to keep persisting in our daily exercise. (The authors are Dr John Ratey and Eric Hagerman; and the book was published by Quercus, in London, in 2009).
Byrne, J.W. (2012) Counselling for Health (3): How Your Mind Can Heal Your Body. E-CENT Paper No.19. Hebden Bridge: The Institute for E-CENT. Brief extract: This paper is based mainly on a review of some of the key insights of a book by Dr David Hamilton (2008). David Hamilton spent four years in a pharmaceutical company, working on the testing of medical drugs. In the process he did his PhD research on a subject that included an examination of the placebo effect. As a result, he put his work and his academic research conclusions together and came up with a very strong thesis that individual humans may be able to heal themselves of almost any disease by using the power of their mind; especially optimism and positive thinking. He includes some original visualization techniques which are designed to positively impact the body.
We are currently working on E-CENT Paper No.26, which is a review of models of mind by major theorists from Plato, through Freud, Jung, Adler, and the behaviourists, cognitive behaviourists, object relations and attachment theory, and on and on… Watch this space; or go to New Writing on E-CENT for a preview…
Plan to launch an Online Journal of Emotive-Cognitive Embodied Narrative Therapy (E-CENT)
Over the past five years, we have demonstrated beyond all reasonable doubt that Emotive-Cognitive Embodied Narrative Therapy (E-CENT) is a distinct form of counselling and psychotherapy, which integrates some of the most helpful models that were bequeathed to us by, among others, Sigmund Freud, the Object Relations school, Bowlby and Ainsworth’s Attachment Theory, Eric Berne’s Parent-Adult-Child model, Albert Ellis’s ABC model, some elements of moral philosophy and Zen Buddhism, and others.
Our next goal is to seek collaborators who want to take this work forward in the form of creating The Online Journal of E-CENT Counselling.
A team of six or eight individuals, committed to writing for, and peer-reviewing articles for, a quarterly online, electronic journal would be ideal.
If you are committed to seeing E-CENT survive, expand and thrive, and you are willing to put in the work required to make this idea of an online journal work, then I would love to hear from you.
Dr Jim Byrne, Doctor of Counselling, Executive Director of the Institute for E-CENT
Updated on 8th April 2017