Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy
Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT) is a form of Cognitive Behavior Therapy created by Albert Ellis. REBT was one of the first types of cognitive therapies and was first called rational therapy. In 1959 the name was changed to Rational Emotive Therapy and did not get its current name, Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy, until 1992.
REBT is based on believing that feeling upset is not caused by an event but rather our beliefs toward the event that upsets us. When people have irrational beliefs about external or internal effects problems occur. The objective of REBT is to help individuals modify illogical beliefs and negative thinking to transcend psychological problems and mental distress.
“According to Albert Ellis and REBT, the vast majority of us want to be happy” (Ross, 2006). People want to be happy in all situations, all alone and with others, we want jobs we can enjoy and jobs that pay well and various other possessions. When life throws someone a curveball, it is reacted to in one of two ways: healthy or unhealthy. In order to make sure we react to life’s curveballs, the ABC model was developed.
The ABC model is used to show how beliefs cause emotional and behavioral reactions. A, or activating event is what happened to you, what your “camera” saw. B, or beliefs about the activating event, is what you tell yourself when the event happened. C, the consequences, is how you feel and how you act based upon your beliefs. An example of this would be A, you are falsely accused of stealing from your school and you may be expelled from school. Because of this you believe, B, I need to defend myself, I cannot forfeit my education. So C, You feel anxious and scared.
When using the ABC model the best way to start is with C, the consequence, because that is what a person feels first and when the client knows their feeling they can begin to analyze what happened or A. After the client explains what has happening they can then think about all the things they said to themselves, the B step. When this is all completed the client then can see and begin to understand their irrational thoughts.
With the irrational thoughts laid out in front of the client, the therapist can begin asking questions like, “are these thoughts true to the best of my knowledge?” and “does it help me to think like this.” When these questions are answered some irrational thoughts should come to surface and those can be changed into rational thinking and therefore change thoughts from unhealthy to healthy, from irrational to rational. Once rational thoughts have been realized the therapist should challenge the client to begin examining their interpretation of negative events that occur in their life in hopes that rational thoughts occur rather than irrational ones.
Because of the clear structure in the ABC model, REBT is a very effective therapy in many ways in that it is a short and effective form of therapy that can work well...