How Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT) Works?

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Rational emotive behavior therapy, also known as REBT, is a type of cognitive-behavioral therapy developed by psychologist Albert Ellis. REBT is focused on helping clients change irrational beliefs.

The Basic Steps of REBT

In order to better understand how REBT looks, it is important to take a closer look at the therapeutic process itself.

Identify Irrational Thought Patterns and Beliefs

The very first step in the process is to identify the underlying, irrational thoughts, feelings, and beliefs that lead to psychological distress. In many cases, these irrational beliefs are reflected as absolutes, as in “I must,” “I should,” or “I cannot.” According to Ellis, some of the most common irrational beliefs include:

  • Feeling excessively upset over other people’s mistakes or misconduct
  • Believing that you must be 100% competent and successful in everything to be valued and worthwhile
  • Believing that you will be happier if you avoid life’s difficulties or challenges
  • Feeling that you have no control over your own happiness, that your contentment and joy are dependent upon external forces

Holding such unyielding beliefs makes it almost impossible to respond to activating situations in a psychologically healthy way. Possessing such rigid expectations of ourselves and others only leads to disappointment, recrimination, regret, and anxiety. Rational emotive behavior therapy can be effective in the treatment of a range of psychological disorders, including anxiety and phobias. It can also help people manage specific behaviors, such as severe shyness and excessive approval-seeking.