[From Bill Powers (990519.MDT)]
I'll rely on Lloyd Klinedinst to give a more detailed report on the
Conference on Internal Control Psychology, but I thought a brief report
would be appropriate.
The four speakers were, in order, myself, Albert Ellis, Bill Glasser, and
Alfie Kohn. I gave a quick overview of PCT followed by the rubber bands, an
introduction to conflict, and a brief discussion of the role of conflict as
the chief problem psychotherapists must face. I'll post it after it appears
in the International Journal of Reality Therapy. You know what I would have
Albert Ellis, originator of Rational-Emotive Behavioral Therapy, spoke
about his theory that people's problems come from insisting on satisfying
their wants and desires exactly, while the rational person would simply
prefer that they be satisfied without going to emotional extremes over
them. Outside of that, his psychology was fairly conventional. His
therapeutic method seemed to consist mainly of confronting and opposing the
client's irrational desires as "aggressively" as necessary. Ellis
criticized Glasser's "basic needs" as being too needful, as Mary puts it.
Bill Glasser showed us an animation (that is, a role-play) of his new
"Structured Reality Therapy" as applied to a marriage counselling process.
It consisted of asking the clients five questions, at each stage offering
them the option of giving a negative answer and terminating the
counselling, at no charge to them. The last question entailed a committment
to go home and do something that would improve the marriage for the next 7
days, then return for the last session in which Glasser exhorted the couple
to go on doing the same sorts of things as long as they wanted the marriage
to last. The charge for both sessions, if successful, was $250, or nothing
if the couple decided not to continue their marriage. Those two sessions
were the entirety of the counselling for a couple. Glasser was conciliatory
to me and even incorporated the rubber-band demo into his talk. He seemed
surprised that I wasn't mad at him.
Alfie Kohn gave a spirited lecture in which he reviewed his arguments
against competition and "punishment by reward." He then went through a list
of a few criticisms of Ellis's approach and many of Glasser's. Before this
was finished, Ellis complained loudly that Kohn had run over his time
(Ellis is very deaf and admitted he didn't hear much of what Kohn said),
and then Glasser got to his feet and objected in strenuous and extended
terms to everything Kohn had said about him. That effectively ended Kohn's
presentation. I enjoyed Kohn's presentation very much, but don't remember
much of what was in it, possibly because there was little to disagree with.
The schedule for the next day was revised by popular vote to become a panel
discussion with questions from the audience, rather than a series of
detailed questionings of each presenter in turn. By that time, Kohn and
Glasser had managed to simmer down and the panel went smoothly. Glasser
even went out of his way to use words like "reorganization," and commented
that he was relieved to find that he and I were getting along as if our
previous troubles (unspecified) were no longer a problem. I said I had no
problems with his presentation, or him. I suggested that it might be
worthwhile for him to consider the possibility that conflict was an
important kind of problem to be addressed in therapy.
I'm sure Lloyd will have more details to add, especially about how the
IAACT people who attended felt about being in the midst of the Glasserians,
and how they were received in the working groups that formed twice the
first day and once on the second. Two people from Ed Ford's group attended
and were enthusiastic about my talk.
Larry Litwack, the organizer and also editor of the International Journal
for Reality Therapy, said that articles from Ed Ford's group, IAACT, and
the CSG would be welcome. He indicated a possibility that the name of the
journal might be changed to the International Journal for Internal Control
Psychology. He says his editorial policies are entirely independent of
Glasser, and I believe him.
The sessions were videotaped; more on how to obtain the tapes later, when I
hear (or Lloyd hears) from Litwack.