What is Rational emotive behavior therapy (REBT)?
Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT) is a form of psychotherapy developed by psychologist Albert Ellis in the 1950s. It is based on the premise that our emotions and behaviors are primarily influenced by our thoughts and beliefs about events, rather than the events themselves. REBT focuses on identifying and changing irrational beliefs and replacing them with more rational and constructive thoughts, leading to healthier emotional and behavioral responses.
REBT operates under the ABC model:
A stands for activating event: It refers to the external situation or event that triggers an individual’s emotional response. For example, receiving criticism from a colleague.
B stands for beliefs: These are the thoughts, interpretations, and beliefs that individuals hold about the activating event. In REBT, there are typically two types of beliefs: rational and irrational. Rational beliefs are flexible, realistic, and helpful, while irrational beliefs are rigid, unrealistic, and unhelpful. For example, a rational belief might be “It’s normal to receive criticism, and I can learn from it,” while an irrational belief might be “I must be perfect, and if someone criticizes me, it means I’m worthless.”
C stands for emotional and behavioral consequences: These are the emotional and behavioral reactions that result from the beliefs individuals hold about the activating event. In the example above, a rational belief might lead to feelings of disappointment or motivation to improve, whereas an irrational belief might lead to feelings of worthlessness or anger.
REBT aims to help individuals identify their irrational beliefs and challenge them through a process of dispute. This involves examining the evidence, considering alternative perspectives, and applying logical reasoning to counter the irrational beliefs. Through this process, individuals can develop more rational beliefs, which in turn lead to healthier emotional responses and more adaptive behaviors.
REBT is an active and directive therapy that emphasizes the client’s responsibility in their own emotional well-being. It typically involves homework assignments, role-playing exercises, and other techniques aimed at practicing and applying rational thinking in real-life situations.
Overall, REBT is focused on helping individuals develop a rational and resilient mindset to navigate life’s challenges, reduce emotional distress, and improve overall psychological well-being.
Shervan K Shahhian