The Philosophy of Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy (CBT): Stoic Philosophy as Rational and Cognitive Psychotherapy, 2nd Edition (Paperback) book cover

The Philosophy of Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy (CBT)

Stoic Philosophy as Rational and Cognitive Psychotherapy, 2nd Edition

By Donald J. Robertson


280 pages

Purchasing Options:$ = USD
Paperback: 9780367219147
pub: 2019-12-18
SAVE ~$7.99
Available for pre-order. Item will ship after 18th December 2019
Hardback: 9780367219871
pub: 2019-12-18
SAVE ~$28.00
Available for pre-order. Item will ship after 18th December 2019

FREE Standard Shipping!


This exciting new edition of The Philosophy of Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy (CBT) demonstrates how techniques and concepts from Socratic philosophy, especially Stoicism, can be integrated into the practice of CBT and other forms of psychotherapy. What can we learn about psychological therapy from ancient philosophers? Psychotherapy and philosophy were not always separate disciplines. Here, Donald Robertson explores the relationship between ancient Greek philosophy and modern cognitive-behavioural psychotherapy.

The founders of CBT described Stoicism as providing the "philosophical origins" of their approach and many parallels can be found between Stoicism and CBT, in terms of both theory and practice. Starting with hypnotism and early 20th century rational psychotherapy and continuing through early behaviour therapy, rational-emotive behaviour therapy (REBT), and cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT), the links between Stoic philosophy and modern psychotherapy are identified and explained. This book is the first detailed account of the influence of Stoic philosophy upon modern psychotherapy. It provides a fascinating insight into the revival of interest in ancient Western philosophy as a guide to modern living. It includes many concepts and techniques, which can be readily applied in modern psychotherapy or self-help.

This new edition, covering the growth in third wave CBT, including mindfulness and acceptance-based therapies, will appeal to any mental health practitioner working in this area, as well as students and scholars of these fields.


Praise for the First Edition:

"Robertson rightly reminds us of how much CBT owes its philosophical origins to the Stoics but, sadly, how often this debt is insufficiently acknowledged. He urges us to redirect our attention to the past to see how modern CBT still has much to learn from its ancient precursors. Highly recommended." --Michael Neenan, Co-Director of the CBT Programme, Centre for Stress Management, Bromley, Kent, UK

"Many of us have felt the need for a book that covers the underlying philosophy of the cognitive-behavioural therapies in much greater depth. This book is a fascinating read and could be considered as either a prequel or a sequel to the standard textbook read by a trainee or experienced cognitive-behavioural or rational emotive practitioner who wants to understand these approaches to therapy within an historical framework." --Professor Stephen Palmer, PhD, FARBT, FBACP, Director of the Centre for Stress Management, London

"The author has uncovered a wealth of connections between modern cognitive-behavioural therapies and ancient Stoic philosophy. It should be read by anyone interested in understanding the historical roots of CBT or in learning about how ancient psychotherapeutic methods can add to the modern therapist's toolkit." --Tim LeBon, UKCP registered psychotherapist and author of 'Wise Therapy'

Table of Contents

Foreword to First Edition by Prof. Stephen Palmer

Foreword to Second Edition by Prof. Windy Dryden

Introduction: Philosophy & Psychotherapy

Part I: Philosophy & Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy (CBT)

  1. The "Philosophical Origins" of CBT
  2. The Beginning of Modern Cognitive Therapy
  3. A Brief History of Philosophical Therapy
  4. Stoic Philosophy & Psychology
  5. Rational Emotion in Stoicism & CBT
  6. Stoicism & Ellis’ Rational Therapy (REBT)

Part II: The Stoic Armamentarium

  1. Contemplation of the Ideal Sage
  2. Stoic Mindfulness of the "Here & Now"
  3. Self-Analysis & Disputation
  4. Autosuggestion, Premeditation, & Retrospection
  5. Premeditatio Malorum & Mental Rehearsal
  6. Stoic Fatalism, Determinism & Acceptance
  7. The View from Above & Stoic Metaphysics
  8. Stoicism and the Third-Wave
  9. Conclusion: Fate Guides the Willing

Appendix 1: An Example Stoic Therapeutic Regime

Appendix 2: The View from Above Script

About the Author

Donald Robertson is a cognitive-behavioural psychotherapist, writer and trainer. He specializes in the treatment of anxiety and in the relationship between ancient philosophy and modern psychotherapy. He is the author of six books on philosophy and psychotherapy, including The Practice of Cognitive-Behavioural Hypnotherapy: A Manual for Evidence-Based Clinical Hypnosis (2013).

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
PSYCHOLOGY / Mental Health
PSYCHOLOGY / Movements / Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)