Unconditional Self Acceptance and Depression

Unconditional Self Acceptance and Depression

Author: Dr. Murat Artiran, Clinical Psychologist


In Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy, therapists use concept of unconditional self acceptance to treat depression. What is unconditional self acceptance?

Flett, Besser and Davis (2003) explained it as following:

‘Seminal theorists such as Albert Ellis and Carl Rogers have suggested that conditional self-worth is associated with psychological distress, but unconditional self-acceptance is a condition that fosters personal adjustment and well-being (Ellis, 1962; Rogers, 1951). Ellis (1962, 1977, 1995) has gone so far as to suggest that people with extremely high self-esteem are vulnerable individuals because they are often characterized by conditional self-acceptance as well as an excessive focus on evaluations, including social comparisons with other people. The perfectionism literature abounds with case descriptions of perfectionists who find it difficult to unconditionally accept themselves, and parenthetically, these individuals are greatly concerned and preoccupied with obtaining the approval and avoiding the disapproval of other people (Flett & Hewitt, 2002). This inability to unconditionally accept the self sometimes extends to an inability to accept other people.’

Depressive clients believe that the life and themselves worthless and inadequate. Unconditional Self Acceptance is actually take a depressive patient to self-actualization. As in Flett et al.’s research, perfectionism may be linked to depression over unconditional self acceptance. The formulation may come up such: depressive patient think that he/she should be perfect or should be perfect like others then start ruminating about how he/she is worthless and inadequate, then, feel depressed. We may add Aaron Beck’s concept of hopelessness to the formulation. In the REBt treatment Unconditional Self Acceptance provide a source of nonjudgemental state of being so the client finds the space to escape depressive mood.

For the article go to:



Journal of Rational-Emotive & Cognitive-Behavior Therapy, Vol. 21, No. 2, Summer 2003 ( 2003)
DIMENSIONS OF PERFECTIONISM, UNCONDITIONAL SELFACCEPTANCE, AND DEPRESSION Gordon L. Flett Avi Besser Richard A. Davis York University Paul L. Hewitt University of British Columbia




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