Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy | What is REBT | Psychotherapy

Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy was first called Rational Therapy, later Rational Emotive Therapy, and then changed to Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy. It was first introduced in 1955 by Dr Albert Ellis. Ellis drew from his knowledge of philosophy and psychology to devise a method which he believed was more directive, efficient and effective.

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Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy

Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT) is a type of therapy that was initiated in the 1950s by Albert Ellis

Firstly, it was called  "Rational Therapy". 

In 1959, the technique was renamed as "Rational Emotive Therapy" and in 1992 it became "Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy". 

So, What is REBT?

It's an approach that helps to recognize irrational beliefs and negative thoughts that can cause emotional or behavioral problems. Perhaps, REBT built on the idea that how we feel is affected not by the happenings in our lives but it is affected by how we think.

Plus, It recognizes that many people struggling with emotional or behavioral problems experience the struggles as a result of conflict rather than just the way they experience it. 

This therapy encourages the development of rational thinking to make healthy emotional expression and behavior easy.

It can be particularly helpful for people living with the following various issues:

  • Anxiety
  • Sleep problems
  • Addictive behaviors
  • Disordered eating habits
  • Aggression
  • Procrastination
  • Depression
  • Phobias
  • Overwhelming feelings of anger, guilt, or rage

What techniques are used in REBT?

What techniques are used in REBT

REBT is mainly based on three main types of techniques that each physician may use a slightly different combination of techniques based on their previous clinical experiences and the symptoms of their clients.

Problem-solving techniques:

These strategies help to address the activating event and include working for the development

  • Assertiveness
  • Problem-solving skills
  • Decision-making skills
  • Social skills
  • Conflict resolution skills

Cognitive restructuring techniques:

These strategies help to change irrational beliefs and this includes:

  • Logical or rational technique
  • Reframing, or viewing events in a different way
  • Guided imagery and visualization
  • The risk for a fearful situation
  • Humour and irony
  • Dispelling irrational thoughts

Coping techniques:

The technique of copying can help you better manage the emotional consequences of irrational thoughts and this includes:

  • Relaxation
  • Hypnosis
  • Meditation

Regardless of the above techniques, your therapist will likely give you some work to do on your own between sessions.

It gives you a chance to apply the skills learned in your daily life in one session.

(Recommended read: Benefits of Meditation">Benefits of Meditation)

The basic steps of REBT

The basic steps of REBT

To better understand how REBT looks, it is necessary to look at the therapeutic process itself.

Identify irrational thought patterns and beliefs:

The first step is to identify the underlying, irrational thoughts, feelings, and beliefs that lead to psychological distress. Sometimes these irrational beliefs are reflected as absolutes. 

Some of the common irrational thought patterns include:

  • Feeling extremely upset at other people's mistakes or misconduct.
  • Believing that you will be happier if you avoid the difficulties or challenges of life.
  • Believing that you must be 100% competent and successful in everything to be valuable and meaningful.
  • Feeling that your satisfaction and happiness are dependent on external forces and have no control over your own happiness.

It is almost impossible to respond to active situations in a psychologically healthy manner while holding such unbreakable beliefs.

Meeting such rigid expectations of ourselves and others leads to disappointment, repetition, remorse, and anxiety.

(Recommended Read: How to make your life full of happiness?)

Challenge irrational beliefs:

After identifying these underlying feelings, the next step is to challenge the wrong beliefs. The therapist disputes these beliefs using very direct and even confrontational methods.

Gain insight and change behavior:

It can be difficult to cope with irrational thought patterns, especially because it is easy to accept these beliefs as unhealthy. Once the client identifies problematic beliefs, the process of actually changing these ideas can become even more challenging.

The goal of REBT is to help people respond rationally to such situations who feel upset when making a mistake. 

When we face this type of situation in the future, the emotionally healthy response will be to realize that the expectation of success is not realistic in every endeavor.

Everyone makes mistakes in life but we must learn from the situation and move forward. Clients are encouraged to use strategies such as meditation, journalism, and guided imagery to change unwanted behavior.

How effective is REBT?

The 2017 review suggests that REBT is a valid treatment that can help with obsessive-compulsive disorder, depression, social anxiety,  and disruptive behavior.

A study of  2016  looked at the benefits of regular REBT sessions for long-term depression with a social worker. 
A  study of 2014 found that REBT could be an effective treatment for young girls that are facing depression.

The ABC model of REBT

The ABC model of REBT

Image courtesy: Medium

Final Words

Finally, I can say that Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy can be effective in treating a range of psychological problems including anxiety and phobias. It helps people to manage specific behaviors, such as severe shame and excessive approval-seeking. 

Sometimes, irrational thoughts and feelings get in the way and these beliefs can affect how you don't usually see situations and events for the better.

MY FIT BRAIN with the team of counselors is providing online counseling services, making it easier for their clients, to seek a solution to the problem they are facing in their life.

Feel free to contact us now !!

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Anujaa Navaratnaa

Anujaa Navaratnaa

Counseling Psychologist Mumbai, India
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