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REBT Therapy

What is REBT therapy? 

REBT therapy is a form of psychotherapy method that helps people learn about the distinction between rational and irrational thinking patterns. It’s a solution-focused therapy trying to resolve cognitive, emotional, and behavioral problems in a person. The main emphasis of REBT psychology is on achieving emotional balance by reflecting in more realistic ways.

We, humans, are often terribly unaware of what we’re telling ourselves. Self-talk occurs subconsciously and quite rapidly. Without the knowledge of the conscious mind, our self-talk can be excessively demeaning, demanding, degrading, and downright mean.

Specifically, the kind of language we use on ourselves, the kind of language that goes on inside the mind, beneath the surface, out of sight and yet extremely potent in its ability to determine our moods and our behaviours.

Rational emotive behavioural therapy or REBT brings out several faulty thinking habits that can easily cause a person to feel depressed, anxious, frightened, frustrated, or angry, to name a few of the more common negative emotions. Through awareness of these faulty patterns of thinking, change can begin. Once a person becomes aware of these irrational thoughts, they can be challenged and changed to more reasonable, realistic patterns of internal dialogue, referred to as “self-talk”.

What principles does REBT therapy focus on? 

Rational emotive therapy in psychology is built on the idea that everyone wishes to be happy and progress in life. However, negative emotions, thoughts, and behaviours can come in the way and disrupt the balance. They can also make you perceive situations differently from how they actually are. 

This is where the REBT psychology comes into play. The three principles of REBT therapy are dealing with the ABCs: 

  • A, which is any activating event or situation which can trigger a negative reaction or thought pattern
  • B, which is the beliefs or thoughts that you may have about the event or situation
  • C, which refers to the resultant emotions or feelings that you experience from the negative beliefs and thoughts. 

What leads to irrational thinking?

The beliefs that usually end in negative emotions are a variation of three common irrational beliefs; they are termed as “the three basic musts”. The three common irrational beliefs are based on the demand for yourself, others, and your external environment.

The three basic musts are-

  • I must do well and win the approval of other people, or else I am no good.
  • I treat others fairly and kindly, so they must treat me the same way. If they don’t reciprocate my feelings then they are bad people and deserve to be punished.
  • I must always get what I want when I want it. 

If we analyze the three “musts” we will feel anxious, depressed, shameful, or guilty. If we feel that we’re treated unfairly, then our reaction is anger and the need to retaliate violently. If we don’t get what we desire, then we will feel self-pity and procrastinate. 

What Illnesses does REBT therapy address? 

Rational emotive behavioural therapy relates to specific issues such as – 

  • Relationship issues
  • Grief or loss
  • Addictions
  • Depression 
  • Anxiety
  • Stress
  • Panic attacks
  • Eating disorders or any number of psychosomatic ailments. 

Basic steps of rational emotive behavior therapy:

Step 1- Identifying underlying irrational thoughts and beliefs:

The very first step in the process is to identify and make note of any irrational thoughts, beliefs, and patterns that can trigger any psychological distress. In most cases, irrational beliefs are considered as absolutes, and people phrase these beliefs as “I should”, “I must”, or “I cannot”. Some of the common irrational beliefs that are tackled during REBT psychology is-

Feeling excessively frustrated and angry, over other people’s mistakes or misconduct.

Having a 100% belief that you are competent and successful; in everything you do. Also, all your actions are valued and worthwhile

Believing that you will be happy if you avoid any difficulties and challenges in life

Feeling that you have no control over your happiness, and all your joy must come from external sources.

When a person holds such irrational beliefs, which can be quite unyielding as well, it can become almost impossible to respond to any situation in a mentally healthy way. When a person possesses rigid expectations of others and themselves, it can only lead to recrimination, disappointment, anxiety, and regret.

Step 2- Challenging Irrational beliefs:

The second step of rational emotive cognitive behavior therapy involves challenging the underlying irrational beliefs. To challenge these beliefs, the therapist must dispute this by using direct and confrontational methods. It’s suggested that the therapist be blunt, honest, and logical if they want to push people toward changing their thoughts and behavior.

Step 3- Gaining insight into rational thought

When it comes to a REBT therapy sesbsion, the process can be pretty daunting for the patient. When they are put face to face with their thought patterns, it can be quite difficult. This is because accepting your irrational beliefs can be challenging. However, once the patient has identified problematic beliefs, the process of changing them can be even more difficult.

It’s normal to feel disappointed when you make a mistake, and the objective of rational emotive behavior therapy sessions is to help patients respond to situations rationally. This way, when a patient is faced with a negative situation in the future, the mentally healthy response would be to realize that it’s not realistic to expect success with every task. If you have made a mistake, it’s okay because you’re human and all you can do now is learn from them and move on.

You have to recognize that rational emotive therapy in psychology utilizes cognitive strategies to help clients, it focuses on emotions and behaviors as well. Additionally, the therapy sessions identify and dispute irrational beliefs, clients, and therapists work together to target an emotional response that also accompanies problematic thoughts. Therapists also encourage their clients to change any unwanted behavior patterns by using things like meditation, guided imagery, and journaling.

What is the difference between REBT and CBT?

Experts have often debated the relationship between rational emotive behavior therapy and cognitive behavioral therapy (REBT and CBT). Some CBT and REBT are based on similar principles, they also have many key differences. Both approaches tend to work in a way that helps you accept and change irrational thoughts that cause distress and anxiety.

However, REBT has more emphasis on the acceptance part. The creator of REBT refers to the element of treatment as unconditional self-acceptance. This usually involves avoiding self-judgment and recognizing that humans can make mistakes. REBT counseling also points out that addressing secondary symptoms like becoming anxious or depressed is quite important. 

Is REBT effective? 

Rational emotive behavior therapy sessions are an accepted form of therapy. The treatment process can help with obsessive-compulsive disorder, social anxiety, depression, and disruptive behavior. However, various reviews have shown that you need random trials to understand how REBT can help treat a wide variety of issues.

You have to understand that patients will respond differently to various types of therapy; this means that one treatment plan that works for you may not work for you. 

According to a research study, REBT therapy sessions have shown real effects on many people and is comprehended to be a validated approach in changing an individual’s negative responses driving to a happier life.

If you feel that stress, depression, anxiety or any other emotional issues are hindering your daily life actions, then it’s good to get to understand how REBT therapy activities can benefit you to manage them the right way. REBT therapy is considered one of the most effective non-chemical treatments of depression and anxiety, yes and it’s worth some investigations.

When it comes to rational emotive cognitive behavior therapy, patients are taught about emotional health. If you are emotionally and psychologically healthy then you will experience acceptance of reality, regardless of whether it’s pleasant or unpleasant. Therapists use REBT to teach their patients three forms of acceptance.

Unconditional self-acceptance- I have flaws and negative personality traits, but I also have good points, and my bad points don’t make me any less worthy to myself or another person.

Unconditional other acceptance- There will be times when people won’t treat me fairly, there is no reason where they have to treat me fairly all the time. Even if another person doesn’t fairly treat me, they are not any less worthy than me.

Unconditional Life acceptance- This is where you accept that life will not always go the way you want it to. There’s no reason why it should go your way. You need to understand you may experience some unpleasant stuff in life, but life itself is not quite awful as you think, and it can be bearable, at times

How to find a therapist who performs REBT?

Finding a reputed therapist who specializes in REBT counseling can be a tedious task. To help streamline the process and make it less overwhelming, you will have to start by making note of specific things that you would like to address during your counseling sessions. For instance, are there any traits that you are looking for in a therapist or do you prefer a female therapist over a male one. 

It can also help if you set a budget you are willing to spend, realistically, on a therapist. Some therapists may not take insurance, but many offer sliding scale fees or low-cost options. Cost inquiries are common topics of conversations that therapists have with their clients, so don’t feel uncomfortable or hesitate about asking the cost. 

Don’t be discouraged if you don’t find a good fit during your first session of counseling. Some patients will have to see a fair share of therapists before they find the right one.

Benefits of REBT Therapy

REBT therapy helps the individual with –

  • Learning that certain self-acceptance is important for gaining mental wellness.
  • It helps you to identify, battle, evaluate, and fight against self- defeating unreasonable beliefs not only to feel great but also to get better.
  • Helps you build rational thoughts that point to goal achievement as well as more personal harmony. 
  • Through REBT therapy, a person learns to overcome conflicts with others and how to enhance health.
  • A person learns and believes that the main reason for his/her/their emotional reactions is the feelings about the event instead of the event itself.
  • How to react to circumstances and situations in more realistic ways 
  • Learn how to not respond to their irrational thoughts
  • Realize that at times, a person can’t manage his/her/their life but can control how they react to the situations.

What techniques are used in REBT therapy sessions?

Activating Event Firstly, it’s essential to identify the situation or events that trigger a negative emotional or behavioral response. For instance, the activating event is the lack of positive feedback, or it’s also considered as a downcast expression.

Beliefs- secondly, the core beliefs that are attached to the behavioral or emotional response have to be examined or identified. For instance, if your core beliefs include the phrase, “I am an outcast, nobody likes me” then the rational emotive behavior therapy sessions will guide the patient to explore where these beliefs originate and develop a plan to recognize and replace them with positive thinking.

Consequences- The combination of activating events and core beliefs will produce a result like depression, social anxiety, anti-social behavior, or self-esteem issues. When the therapist deconstructs negative beliefs that are ingrained in the patient’s mind, it can improve their way of thinking and provide them with a positive outlook of life.

There are three major techniques used in REBT therapy that correlate to the ABCs. They are: 

Problem-solving techniques – These help in dealing with A or the activating event and can include

  • Problem-solving skills
  • Social skills
  • Assertive qualities
  • Decision-making skills, and
  • Conflict resolution abilities

Cognitive restructuring techniques – These help in dealing with B or negative beliefs and can include: 

  • Logical and rational thinking techniques
  • Changing perspectives of looking at things
  • Finding humour or irony
  • Exposure to stressful situations
  • Contesting irrational beliefs, and 
  • Visualisation

Coping techniques – These help you deal with C or the resulting emotions and feelings and can include: 

  • Relaxation
  • Hypnosis, and
  • Meditation 

Using REBT to treat alcohol and drug dependencies:

Studies have shown that almost 10% of the urban population is suffering from some kind of drug or alcohol dependency. The treatment programs for substance abuse can be highly beneficial. But, many people suffering from alcohol or drug addiction don’t acknowledge that they have a sickness so they don’t end up seeking any help.

If you, or a loved one, are suffering from any kind of drug or alcohol addiction then a REBT therapy session will help you disengage from these unhealthy behaviors, which are a result of irrational beliefs and negative emotions. Thus, one of the major goals of REBT therapy, when it comes to treating alcohol and drug addictions, is that it facilitates sobriety and enables you to return to a healthy mindset and be happy. This is done when the irrational thoughts and negative behavior patterns lead to addictive behaviors.

REBT psychology is known to work quite effectively on patients who suffer from alcohol and drug addiction. The essence of treating patients who have addiction tendencies is to change the way they think about situations, have a positive reaction, and alter the way they act; this includes not seeking or depending on alcohol or drugs if they have to cope with their emotions.

If you, or a loved one, is suffering from an addiction, then a REBT therapy session can help reduce the magnitude and intensity of your feelings. This means that instead of categorizing your emotions into extremes, you can learn to have a less severe response. A subdued reaction will teach you self-acceptance and it will lead to fewer self-destructing behaviors.

The two main ways that rational emotive therapy will help with alcohol and drug dependencies is by teaching patients how to-

  • React to situations realistically, as well as not reacting to the irrational thoughts
  • Realizing that some things in life are not in our control, but, we can control how we react to a situation.
  • Rational emotive behavior therapy sessions are usually combined with other treatment methods when tackling alcohol and drug dependencies. There may be times where you will find that REBT therapy sessions will be provided with their treatments like drug rehabilitation, drug treatments, and psychoeducational programs.

According to research, most of the influential treatment is a combination of various plans like REBT, behavioral therapy, along with medical treatments. There is an important difference between REBT and a twelve-step program that puts them at odds with one another. REBT promotes internal control, this means that you are in control of your behaviors and emotions.

What to expect during the REBT therapy session? 

REBT therapy is an effective form of therapy. REBT has been studied since the 1950s, and many studies have shown the positive effects of these therapy methods. The research has also shown that rational emotive behavior therapy sessions are a valid method to change negative responses and lead you to a happy life.

The process of REBT therapy sessions involves a collaboration between the person and the therapist to change the irrational disputing beliefs. It’s a cognitive-behavioural process meaning that emphasizes restructuring emotional functions in a person, redefining their dilemmas by altering their attitudes to develop acceptable patterns of thoughts and behaviours.

The REBT therapist works to help the person recognize that their beliefs are illogical and should be challenged. This is called disputing. The person may experience many types of rational emotive behaviour therapy exercises to recognize that their thinking is irrational. 

The person comes to know that the thoughts that make he/she/them miserable are irrational. Finally, the person determines to replace their irrational beliefs with more practical ones that allow more appropriate behaviours and thought patterns.

As such they have developed the outcome, the individual would engage him/her/themself in behaviours that can strengthen him/her/them with newer beliefs. Once the method is learned, the individual can use it in their lifetime ever onwards. They understand the influence thoughts have on their subsequent behaviours and feelings. 

About Cadabams Hospitals

Cadabams Hospitals is the top psychiatric hospital in Bangalore for all kinds of mental health conditions including Anxiety, Depression, Schizophrenia, OCD amongst others. We have a stellar team of some of the top psychiatrists in Bangalore supported by specialist doctors, top therapists, registered mental health nurses and social workers. We help patients with a variety of therapeutic approaches towards resolving mental health issues including REBT treatment. 

For more information about REBT therapy activities/ rational emotive behaviour therapy sessions, please do contact us @+91 97414 76476 or visit Cadabam’s Hospitals.

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REBT Therapy | Blog