Rational emotive behavior therapy (REBT) Rational emotive behavior therapy (REBT), previously called rational therapy and rational emotive therapy, is an active-directive, comprehensive, philosophically and empirically based psychotherapy which focuses on resolving behavioral and emotional problems and disturbances and enabling people to lead happier and more fulfilling lives. REBT was created and developed by Albert Ellis-American psychotherapist and psychologist who was inspired by many of the teachings of Asian, Greek, Roman and modern philosophers.
REBT is one form of cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) and was first expounded by Ellis in the mid-1950s; development continued until his death in 2007 (Wikipedia). Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT) is both a psychotherapeutic system of theory and practices and a school of thought established by Albert Ellis. Originally called rational therapy, its appellation was revised to rational emotive therapy in 1959, then to its current appellation in 1992.
REBT was one of the first of the cognitive behavior therapies, as it was predicated in articles Ellis first published in 1956, nearly a decade before Aaron Beck first set forth his cognitive therapy. Precursors of certain fundamental aspects of REBT have been identified in particular ancient philosophical traditions, mostly in Stoicism. For example, Ellis’ first major publication on rational therapy describes the philosophical basis of REBT as the principle that a person is more often affected emotionally by “his perceptions, attitudes, or internalized sentences about outside things and events” rather than by outside things.
He adds, This principle, which I have inducted from many psychotherapeutic sessions with scores of patients during the last several years, was originally discovered and stated by the ancient Stoic philosophers, especially Zeno of Citium (the founder of the school), Chrysippus [his most influential disciple], Panaetius of Rhodes (who introduced Stoicism into Rome), Cicero, Seneca, Epictetus, and Marcus Aurelius. The truths of Stoicism were perhaps best set forth by Epictetus, who in the first century A. D. rote in the Enchiridion: “Men are disturbed not by things, but by the views which they take of them. ” Shakespeare, many centuries later, rephrased this thought in Hamlet: “There’s nothing good or bad but thinking makes it so. ” (Wikipedia). REBT (it is not pronounced rebbit) is based on the premise that whenever we become upset, it is not the events taking place in our lives that upset us; it is the beliefs that we hold that cause us to become depressed, anxious, enraged, etc. According to Albert Ellis and to REBT, the vast majority of us want to be happy.
We want to be happy whether we are alone or with others; we want to get along with others—especially with one or two close friends; we want to be well informed and educated; we want a good job with good pay; and we want to enjoy our leisure time. Of course life doesn’t always allow us to have what we want; our goal of being happy is often thwarted by the “slings and arrows of outrageous fortune”(Dr. Ellis). When our goals are blocked, we can respond in ways that are healthy and helpful, or we can react in ways that are unhealthy and unhelpful.
Albert Ellis and REBT posit that our reaction to having our goals blocked (or even the possibility of having them blocked) is determined by our beliefs. (Counseling Resource). To illustrate this, Dr. Ellis developed a simple ABC format to teach people how their beliefs cause their emotional and behavioral responses: A. Something happens. B. You have a belief about the situation. C. You have an emotional reaction to the belief. For example: A. Your employer falsely accuses you of taking money from her purse and threatens to fire you. B. You believe, “She has no right to accuse me.
She’s a bad person! ” C. You feel angry. If you had held a different belief, your emotional response would have been different: A. Your employer falsely accuses you of taking money from her purse and threatens to fire you. B. You believe, “I must not lose my job. That would be unbearable. ” C. You feel anxious. The ABC model shows that A does not cause C. It is B that causes C. In the first example, it is not your employer’s false accusation and threat that make you angry; it is your belief that she has no right to accuse you, and that she is a bad person.
In the second example, it is not her accusation and threat that make you anxious; it is the belief that you must not lose your job, and that losing your job would be unbearable. Although we all express ourselves differently, according to Albert Ellis and REBT, the beliefs that upset us are all variations of three common irrational beliefs. Each of the three common irrational beliefs contains a demand, either about us, other people, or the world in general. These beliefs are known as “The Three Basic Musts. ” 1. I must do well and win the approval of others for my performances or else I am no good. . Other people must treat me considerately, fairly and kindly, and in exactly the way I want them to treat me. If they don’t, they are no good and they deserve to be condemned and punished. 3. I must get what I want, when I want it; and I must not get what I don’t want. It’s terrible if I don’t get what I want, and I can’t stand it. The first belief often leads to anxiety, depression, shame, and guilt. The second belief often leads to rage, passive-aggression and acts of violence. The third belief often leads to self-pity and procrastination.
It is the demanding nature of the beliefs that causes the problem. Less demanding, more flexible beliefs lead to healthy emotions and helpful behaviors. The goal of REBT is to help people change their irrational beliefs into rational beliefs. Changing beliefs is the real work of therapy and is achieved by the therapist disputing the client’s irrational beliefs. For example, the therapist might ask, “Why must you win everyone’s approval? ” “Where is it written that other people must treat you fairly? ” “Just because you want something, why must you have it? ” Disputing is the D of the ABC model.
When the client tries to answer the therapist’s questions, she/he sees that there is no reason why she/he absolutely must have approval, fair treatment, or anything else that she/he wants. Albert Ellis and REBT contend that although we all think irrationally from time to time, we can work at eliminating the tendency. It’s unlikely that we can ever entirely eliminate the tendency to think irrationally, but we can reduce the frequency, the duration, and the intensity of our irrational beliefs by developing three insights: 1. We don’t merely get upset but mainly upset ourselves by holding inflexible beliefs. . No matter when and how we start upsetting ourselves, we continue to feel upset because we cling to our irrational beliefs. 3. The only way to get better is to work hard at changing our beliefs. It takes practice, practice, practice. Emotionally healthy human beings develop an acceptance of reality, even when reality is highly unfortunate and unpleasant. REBT therapists strive to help their clients develop three types of acceptance: (1) unconditional self-acceptance; (2) unconditional other-acceptance; and (3) unconditional life-acceptance.
Each of these types of acceptance is based on three core beliefs: Unconditional self-acceptance: 1. I am a fallible human being; I have my good points and my bad points. 2. There is no reason why I must not have flaws. 3. Despite my good points and my bad points, I am no more worthy and no less worthy than any other human being. Unconditional other-acceptance: 1. Other people will treat me unfairly from time to time. 2. There is no reason why they must treat me fairly. 3. The people who treat me unfairly are no more worthy and no less worthy than any other human being. Unconditional life-acceptance: . Life doesn’t always work out the way that I’d like it to. 2. There is no reason why life must go the way I want it to 3. Life is not necessarily pleasant but it is never awful and it is nearly always bearable. REBT Nowadays Clinical experience and a growing supply of experimental evidence show that REBT is effective and efficient at reducing emotional pain. When Albert Ellis created REBT in the 1950’s he met with much resistance from others in the mental health field. Today it is one of the most widely-practiced therapies throughout the world.
In the early days of REBT, even Dr. Ellis did not clearly see that consistent use of its philosophical system would have such a profound effect on the field of psychotherapy or on the lives of the millions of people who have benefited from it (REBT Network). MY REBT Since I remember I’ve never felt normal. After my mom’s death I became an overeating zombie. No feelings, no thoughts, just self-destruction caused by food (first obsession). Then I guess I grew up to the point where I noticed that people laughed at my obesity and I started exercising.
Another obsession… Three times a day- 6 miles running, 1000 squats and eating only once a day. During long summer vacation, I got slimmer and more assured that maybe then I would find self-acceptance. When I started high school (I was 16) I always tried to be the best. No matter what! More obsessions…Countless, sleepless nights with books, notes and math questions made me a nerd and shamelessly, not popular girl. I still felt fat even though I wasn’t, lonely and alienated from school society. I didn’t have friends I still don’t have them, because trust is really difficult issue to overcome.
I still overeat whenever I’m stressed out more than I can handle and this is what makes me a victim of REBT. Self-acceptance never happened to me. I’m not ashamed by my dysfunctions. I know that if my life had looked different in the beginning I would have a chance to not deal with my issues and to not go over and over again them, to not fall over and over again. I discovered that being in motion, not staying in one place, makes me stronger. That is why whenever I feel down, I go to the gym or run errands. I have to keep myself busy to not overthink every single failure which happened to me previous day.
I don’t like to be around people when I’m in “my mood” (this is how I call my REBT). I want to be alone then and to not be bothered by anybody. After fading away of my bad moments I have increase in energy and I feel that world is mine-only to the moment when something what I didn’t plan happen. I hate distractions and not planned stuff which comes up accidentally. It makes my life more complicated and proves me that I’m not powerful enough to handle my life. Not that long ago I started taking medications, I feel better and everything seems to be easier.
Rain in the morning or broken coffee maker doesn’t make my life miserable as before. I still have “my moods” just not as often and not as severe as before. I have been reading a lot about REBT and I know that Dr. Ellis was very accurate and smart persona. Before I realized that I have REBT I wanted to die every day. After I discovered that I have it, I felt relieved, I wasn’t alone. Since then I try my best as always. I try to be “normal”, but as that lady from a movie about obsessive-compulsive disorder said, “Who’s normal? ”