Our Memories of Maxie C. Maultsby Jr. 1932–2016

  • Mariusz WirgaEmail author
  • Michael DeBernardi
  • Aleksandra Wirga


In this article, the authors present the life and work of Dr. Maxie C. Maultsby, Jr, the most distinguished and influential black psychiatrist, as well as the founder of Rational Behavior Therapy (RBT), a comprehensive cognitive-behavioral therapeutic model. We document the pioneering ideas and concepts formulated by Dr. Maultsby and present RBT as a distinct form of theory-driven cognitive-behavior therapy, grounded in neurophysiology, its singular learning theory, unique concepts, and specific therapeutic techniques. His exceptional idealism of making mass mental health prevention and therapeutic interventions accessible to the underserved populations produced the unparalleled self-help features of RBT, allowing for its effectiveness and lasting results to be attainable to the average person. Dr. Maultsby was innovative in identifying clear criteria for healthy thinking that were empowering, patient-centered, and applicable to all forms of beliefs including spiritual, religious, existential, and deeply philosophical. His thorough knowledge of cognitive neuroscience and its underlying mechanisms of learning and re-learning of emotional habits gave rise to a radical reformulation of existing concepts like the traditional ABC model of emotions. This article is the first in a series about RBT and its founder.


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


  1. Ellis, A. (1975). Foreward. In M. C. Maultsby Jr. (Ed.), Help yourself to happiness trough rational self-counseling (p. 255). New York, NY: Institute for Rational Living.Google Scholar
  2. Ellis, A. (1994). Reason and emotion in psychotherapy, revised and updated (Revisded a). New York, NY: Carol Publishing Group.Google Scholar
  3. Epps, C. H., Johnson, D. G., & Vaughan, A. L. (1994). African-American medical pioneers. Betz Pub. Co. Retrieved from
  4. Kałwa, A. (2010). Racjonalna Terapia Zachowania w pracy z pacjentem psychiatrycznym. Warsztat. In Konferencja “Optymalizacja w psychiatrii” Wisła 9-11 grudzień 2010 (p. 33). Wisła, Poland.Google Scholar
  5. Kałwa, A., Wirga, M., & Wirga, A. H. (n.d.). The use of Rational Behavior Therapy in Psychoses. Journal of Rational-Emotive and Cognitive-Behavior Therapy (submitted for publication).Google Scholar
  6. LeDoux, J. E. (1995). In search of an emotional system in the brain: Leaping from fear to emotion and consciousness. In The cognitive neurosciences (pp. 1049–1061).Google Scholar
  7. Maultsby, M. C., Jr. (1974). You and your emotions. Appleton, WI: Rational Self-Help Books.Google Scholar
  8. Maultsby, M. C., Jr. (1975). Help yourself to happiness trough rational self-counseling. New York, NY: Institute for Rational Living.Google Scholar
  9. Maultsby, M. C., Jr. (1982). A historical view of Blacks’ distrust of psychiatry. In S. M. Turner & R. T. Jones (Eds.), Behavior modification in black populations, psychosocial issues and empirical findings (pp. 39–55). New York, NY: Plenum Press. Scholar
  10. Maultsby, M. C., Jr. (1984). Rational behavior therapy. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall.Google Scholar
  11. Maultsby, M. C., Jr. (1986). Coping Better … Anytime Anywhere: The Handbook of Rational Self-Counseling. Appleton, WI: Rational Self-Help Books.Google Scholar
  12. Maultsby Jr, M. C. (1971). Rational emotive imagery. Rational Living, 6(1), 24–27. Retrieved from
  13. Maultsby Jr, M. C. (2013). Racjonalna Terapia Zachowania: podręcznik terapii poznawczo-behawioralnej. In M. Wirga, A. Hottowy, & E. Wojtyna, (Eds.), 3rd polsk edn. Żnin, Poland: WDK Wulkan.Google Scholar
  14. Pucci, A. R. (2010). Feel the way you want to feel—No matter what! : Use rational self counseling to overcome life’s most difficult problems. Indiana: iUniverse.Google Scholar
  15. Simonton, O. C., Henson, R. M., & Hampton, B. (1992). The healing journey. New York, NY: Bantam Books.Google Scholar
  16. Simonton, O. C., Matthews-Simonton, S., & Creighton, J. L. (1978). Getting well again: A step-by-step, self-help guide to overcoming cancer for patients and their families. New York, NY: Tarcher.Google Scholar
  17. Turner, S. M., & Jones, R. T. (1982). Rational behavior therapy. In S. M. Truner & R. T. Jones (Eds.), Behavior modification in Black populations: Psychosocial issues and empirical findings (pp. 151–170). New York, NY: Plenum Press. Scholar
  18. Wirga, M. (1991). Zwyciężyć chorobę (2nd ed.). Poznan: Fundacja Alterna.Google Scholar
  19. Wirga, M. (2010). Nondenominational, cognitive-behavioral spiritual and/or existential counseling. In APOS 7th annual conference, 19 February 2010: SYMPOSIUM: Spirituality and cancer: How it helps and how to effectively help clients use it to cope. New Orleans. Retrieved from
  20. Wirga, M., & DeBernardi, M. (2002). The ABCs of cognition, emotion, and action. Archives of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, 4(1), 5–16.Google Scholar
  21. Wojtyna, E. (2012). Irrational suffering–An impact of cognitive behavioural therapy on the depression level and the perception of pain in cancer patients. In L. L’Abate (Ed.), Mental illnesses-evaluation, treatments and implications (pp. 227–244). Rijeka: InTech. Retrieved from
  22. Wojtyna, E., & Nawara, I. (2013). Krótka grupowa racjonalna terapia zachowania a jakość życia chorych na nowotwory. Chowanna, 1(40), 179–196.Google Scholar
  23. Zielazny, P., Zielińska, P., de Walden-Gałuszko, K., Kuziemski, K., & Bętkowska-Korpała, B. (2016). Psychooncology in Poland. Psychiatria Polska, 50(5), 1065–1073. Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mariusz Wirga
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    Email author
  • Michael DeBernardi
    • 4
    • 5
    • 6
  • Aleksandra Wirga
    • 2
    • 3
  1. 1.Psychosocial Oncology ProgramMemorialCare Todd Cancer InstituteLong BeachUSA
  2. 2.Department of Psychiatry, Keck School of MedicineUniversity of Southern CaliforniaLos AngelesUSA
  3. 3.Wellness Psychiatry, Inc.Long BeachUSA
  4. 4.The Life LinkSanta FeUSA
  5. 5.DeBernardi Psychological Services, Inc.Santa FeUSA
  6. 6.Substance Abuse Studies ProgramUniversity of New Mexico Continuing EducationAlbuquerqueUSA

Personalised recommendations