What is Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy?
Rational emotive behavior therapy, also known as REBT therapy, is a type of therapy that was introduced by Albert Ellis in the 1950s. This form of psychotherapy approach helps individuals identify negative thought patterns and irrational beliefs that might lead to behavioral or emotional issues. Once the patterns have been identified, a therapist will assist you in developing concrete strategies to replace them with less self-defeating and rational thought patterns.
Particularly, REBT techniques have been beneficial for individuals dealing with the following issues:
- Overwhelming feelings of guilt, anger, and rage
- Disordered eating habits
- Addictive behaviors
- Sleep problems
What is the REBT Model?
REBT therapy is grounded in the fundamental idea that individuals strive to do well in life. For example, you probably strive to discover happiness and achieve your goals. However, sometimes irrational feelings and thoughts can get in the way.
These types of beliefs can influence how you perceive events and circumstances and typically not for the better. For instance, imagine you recently texted a person you have been dating for a month. That person has his or her read receipt on so you see that he or she read the message, but several hours pass by without a reply.
The next day comes along and that person still hasn’t responded. You start to think that the person is ignoring you because they don’t want to see you anymore. Another thought might appear in your head and you might tell yourself the following things.
- “I did something wrong the last time I saw that person.”
- “Relationships never work out.”
- “I will be alone for the rest of my life.”
The ABC’s of REBT (The Core Principles)
- The A refers to the activating situation or event that triggers a negative response or reaction. In the example provided above, A is the lack of reply.
- B refers to the irrational thoughts or beliefs that you might have about a situation or event. The B in the example provided above is the belief you have that the person doesn’t want to see you anymore, that you’ve done something wrong, or that you’ll be alone for the rest of your life.
- C refers to the consequences which are often distressing emotions that result from irrational beliefs or thoughts. In the example provided above, that might be the feeling that you’re not good enough and feelings of worthlessness.
In the scenario above, REBT techniques would help you focus on reframing how you think about the individual who didn’t respond. Maybe the reason was that they simply forgot to respond or they were busy. Or maybe the reason is they aren’t interested in you anymore. If that is the reason, it doesn’t mean there’s something wrong with you or that you’ll spend life alone.
REBT therapy techniques have not only been described as a form of psychotherapy but a philosophy of living based on assumption that when a person becomes upset, it isn’t the events that are taking place in that person’s life that are upsetting that person. According to the American Psychological Association (APA), REBT techniques suggests that the beliefs held by the person make them become the following:
REBT philosophy is centered on the individual’s reaction to the possibility or actuality of having goals blocked, which is determined by that same person’s beliefs. Early REBT researchers and Dr. Ellis developed a straightforward ABC format aimed to teach clients how their beliefs cause behavioral and emotional responses.
- A – Something happens
- B – Do you have a belief about the situation?
- C – You have an emotional reaction to the belief
For example, let us say that the “activating event” is defined due to the death of a parent, the therapist will work with the client to recognize behavioral and emotional responses are different depending on the client’s beliefs. The goal of this particular model is to assist the individuals to see how (A) the activating event does not result in (B) behavioral and emotional disruption because if that were the case, then each parent who dies, for example, ( C ) would feel a similar degree of grief.
The therapist assists the client in seeing that the grief reaction would vary in intensity based on what the client was thinking. For example, if she or he were thinking that the world was over because the parent died, the feeling would be much more severe than if the client realized that death is a part of everyday life. Life goes on, no matter how difficult the event.
When treating drug and alcohol addiction, the therapist can assist the client in identifying absolutistic and irrational beliefs and replacing them with thoughts that are more rational by disrupting them. According to the American Psychological Association, throughout this process, the client will be able to feel less intense negative emotions and eventually behave in more self-enhancing ways.
What are the Cognitive, Coping, and Problem-Solving Techniques?
REBT techniques utilize three REBT therapy techniques, which correspond with the ABCs. Every therapist might use a moderately different combination of REBT techniques depending on the past clinical experiences and symptoms.
These strategies can assist in addressing the activating event. Often they include working to develop the following areas:
- Decision-making skills
- Conflict resolution skills
- Problem-solving skills
- Social skills
Cognitive Restructuring Techniques
These types of strategies help individuals in altering any irrational beliefs. They might include the following:
- Looking at events differently, reframing
- Rationalizing or logical techniques
- Visualization and guided imagery
- Exposure to a feared situation
- Disputing irrational thoughts
- Irony and humor
Coping techniques can assist you in better managing the emotional consequences of irrational thoughts.
These particular coping techniques include the following:
Regardless of REBT therapy techniques that are utilized, your therapist will most likely give you some homework to work on, on your own, in between your sessions. This will grant you the opportunity to apply the new skills you have learned in your therapy sessions to your daily life. For example, your therapist might have you write down how you are feeling after you experience an event that typically makes you anxious and think about how the responses make you feel.
What are the Benefits of REBT for Addiction Treatment?
There are numerous benefits of REBT therapy for addiction treatment. The REBT modality is sometimes incorporated into a dual diagnosis addiction treatment curriculum because it effectively works with behaviors that are maladaptive such as substance abuse. Like many cognitive therapies, REBT strives to assist individuals in altering their self-destructive thoughts. The objective is so they can begin to feel better about themselves.
Individuals modify their behaviors so that they are more adaptable and effective in given situations resulting in behaviors that are geared toward assisting clients to attain identifiable goals. REBT techniques presume that individuals typically tend to think irrationally about how people should behave and how their lives should be. For example, a common irrational thought, according to REBT philosophy might be:
“I have to do my job perfectly ALWAYS. If I don’t, I am a TOTAL failure.”
The above statement is not realistic. No one is perfect. When you have this type of thought, it’s known to be absolutist thinking. The above-mentioned thought is considered irrational thinking which leads to unessential disturbances in the following areas as individuals attempt to live up to impractical expectations for themselves, the world, and others:
The above-mentioned thought identifies self-worth with performance. By utilizing REBT techniques, your therapist will be able to teach you how to debate irrational beliefs to decrease less disturbing feelings and increase more moderate ones. The main goal of REBT is to eliminate self-sabotaging thoughts. Real-life applications of REBT therapy techniques for those who are struggling with substance use utilize REBT’s ability to help clients do the following:
- Recognize that even though they aren’t able to control the events in their lives, they do have the ability to decide on their ways of dealing and responding to challenging situations
- Discover ways to respond to realistic situations and not a response to irrational thoughts
How Does REBT Compare to CBT?
There are highly discussed debates among experts regarding the relationship between cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and REBT therapy. Some experts see REBT as a type of CBT and other experts argue that the two therapies are very distinct approaches. Even though CBT and REBT are based on similar principles, there are several key differences.
Both therapies approach work to help individuals to accept and ultimately change irrational thoughts that fundamentally cause stress. REBT therapy places more emphasis on acceptance. REBT’s creator refers to this component of treatment as unquestioning self-acceptance. This element involves the act of trying to avoid self-judgment and acknowledging that human beings, including you, can make mistakes and will.
REBT is unique because sometimes it utilizes humor as a therapeutic tool to help you look at things differently and take things less seriously. This method can include the following ways:
- Humorous songs
It also makes an obvious effort to address secondary symptoms, such as feeling depressed about having depression and becoming anxious about experiencing anxiety.
How Effective is REBT?
REBT therapy is typically accepted as an effective form of therapy. In a 2017 review, 84 published articles on REBT concluded it is a valid treatment option that can assist individuals with the following listed below.
However, the review does point out a need for more randomized trials to better understand how REBT can assist in treating a wider variety of conditions.
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder
- Disruptive behavior
- Social anxiety
A small 2016 study looked at the benefits of REBT therapy sessions for long-term depression with a social worker. After one year, the participants of the study made fewer trips to the primary care physician. Prescription medication use was decreased. Similarly, a study in 2014 discovered that REBT might be an effective treatment for young girls struggling with depression.
Reframe Your Mind at Florida Center for Recovery
Florida Center for Recovery (FCR) is a nationally renowned addiction and dual diagnosis treatment center located in Fort Pierce, Florida. As a nationally renowned addiction treatment center, Florida Center for Recovery provides the most comprehensive models of alcohol and drug rehab programs possible.
FCR also utilizes integrated approaches in its rehab programs to treat not only any patient’s addiction, but also any patient’s co-occurring mental illness. These integrated approaches include science and evidence-based therapeutic techniques and holistic and alternative therapies, along with various individualized forms of addiction therapy.
One of the forms of evidence-based forms of addiction therapy that FCR is proud to provide its patients with is rational emotive behavior therapy. Thus, if you need to alter the irrational thoughts that you have when faced with an addiction trigger so that you don’t start using substances to cope, you can receive the treatment that you need here at our rehab facility.
It’s important to keep in mind that everyone is different and responds to therapy in various ways. It is possible what works for you might not work for another person.
Ultimately, though, affordable therapy is within reach! Remember that REBT therapy can help with a huge range of mental health conditions. Contact us today to get started!