Rational Emotive & Cognitive-Behavior Therapy Essay.
Albert Ellis introduced Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT) in 1955, a radical change from the traditional therapies popular at the time. It has since spawned a number of offshoots, usually called cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT). REBT and CBT coincide in a variety of ways. Their core notion affirms human emotions and behavior are predominantly generated by ideas, beliefs, attitudes, and thinking, never by events themselves. Consequently changing one’s thinking leads to an emotional and behavioral change.Rational Emotive & Cognitive-Behavior Therapy Essay.
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There are also major differences between REBT and CBT:
1. Philosophic. REBT addresses the philosophic basis of emotional disturbance as well as the distorted cognitions (the focus of CBT), which makes it more powerful. As you uproot your absolutistic demands, your cognitive distortions get corrected.Rational Emotive & Cognitive-Behavior Therapy Essay.
For example, suppose you plan to ask someone for a 2nd date and you’re feeling anxious. You tell yourself, “She didn’t talk or smile much on our first date. I know she’s not interested.” Since there are multiple other explanations for her reserved behavior, which you don’t know by her actions, CBT calls this conclusion “mind-reading” and dismisses it as a cognitive distortion. Instead, REBT looks at the underlying reason you jump to this conclusion, for example telling yourself, “I absolutely need her acceptance and if she rejects me this would be awful, I could not stand it and proves I’m a loser who’ll never succeed with any woman.” Giving up your dire need for acceptance would not only ameliorate your fears of rejection in future dating situations but in virtually all interpersonal interactions. Going the CBT route of avoiding mind-reading proves to be significantly more limited.Rational Emotive & Cognitive-Behavior Therapy Essay.
REBT posits three core demands fueling cognitive distortions and underlying emotional disturbance: 1. “Because I strongly prefer to, I absolutely must do well in life and get the approval of significant others or else I’m no good,” 2. “Because I keenly desire it, others absolutely must treat me well or else they’re no good,” and 3. “Because I passionately wish it, life absolutely must go well and or else it’s no good.” These demands create anxiety, depression, guilt, anger, resentment, procrastination, and addictions.Rational Emotive & Cognitive-Behavior Therapy Essay.
The simple yet profound philosophic solution involves unconditional acceptance (UA): unconditionally accepting yourself with your flaws, unconditionally accepting others with their imperfections, and accepting life unconditionally with its discomfort, hassles, and unfairness.
2. Secondary disturbance. REBT highlights the significance of secondary disturbance. Disturbing yourself about your disturbance is often the major factor in life-long (endogenous) depression, severe anxiety, and panic attacks. Most CBT ignores secondary disturbance. For example, you feel anxious about appearing anxious when requesting the date. You are worrying about worrying.Rational Emotive & Cognitive-Behavior Therapy Essay.
3. Unconditional Self Acceptance (USA). REBT presents an elegant solution to the self-esteem problem. It teaches unconditional self-acceptance (USA) rather than any type of self-rating. Most CBT therapists focus on bolstering their clients’ self-esteem by reinforcing some of their positive qualities. This strategy has many pitfalls including having low self-esteem when you do poorly, making invidious comparisons to others, avoiding risk-taking, smug-complacency, and preoccupation with proving, rather than enjoying, yourself.Rational Emotive & Cognitive-Behavior Therapy Essay.
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USA and avoiding the self-rating trap avoids the many problems with self-rating. USA consists of the philosophy of unconditionally accepting yourself as the imperfect human you are whether you do well or poorly, or others love or hate you. If you get fired, for example, rate your job performance as poor, but never overgeneralize to conclude you’re a poor or worthless person. You’re then able to evaluate your deficient (and positive) behaviors to focus on how to improve in the future.Rational Emotive & Cognitive-Behavior Therapy Essay.
4. Helpful negative emotions. REBT is unique among CBT therapies in differentiating between self-destructive, inappropriate negative emotions vs. helpful, appropriate negative ones. Anxiety, depression, and anger are examples of the first type and intense sadness, deep sorrow, great concern, and regret instances of the second.Rational Emotive & Cognitive-Behavior Therapy Essay.
For example, if you feel slightly anxious about arriving 5-min late, this is an inappropriate negative emotion because, in part, it comes from rigid, absolutistic thinking characterized by demands (musts, shoulds, have tos: “I absolutely must never be late for an appointment”). Alternatively, if you feel intensely sad, you cry, grieve, and mourn the loss of a loved one, these are appropriate negative emotions. They come from passionate desires and preferences such as, “I strongly wish my lover had not died, how very, very sad and most unfortunate.”Rational Emotive & Cognitive-Behavior Therapy Essay.
5. All anger inappropriate. CBT views some anger as healthy and appropriate. Counter to this, REBT maintains all anger has a commanding and condemning, dictatorial, philosophic core. This can be expressed as “others absolutely must treat me well or else they’re no good and deserve to roast in hell.” This philosophy is unhelpful, feels bad, and sometimes quite destructive. Even in mild forms, this perspective is inappropriate. REBT teaches individuals effective assertiveness, problem-solving, and other appropriate alternatives to anger. Although CBT also teaches assertiveness, it fails to uproot the philosophic root of anger.Rational Emotive & Cognitive-Behavior Therapy Essay.
For the above reasons and others, the course of REBT therapy tends to be briefer than CBT.
Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a form of talking therapy which can be used to treat people with a wide range of mental health problems.
CBT is based on the idea that how we think (cognition), how we feel (emotion) and how we act (behavior) all interact together. Specifically, our thoughts determine our feelings and our behavior.Rational Emotive & Cognitive-Behavior Therapy Essay.
Therefore, negative and unrealistic thoughts can cause us distress and result in problems. When a person suffers with psychological distress, the way in which they interpret situations becomes skewed, which in turn has a negative impact on the actions they take.Rational Emotive & Cognitive-Behavior Therapy Essay.
CBT aims to help people become aware of when they make negative interpretations, and of behavioral patterns which reinforce the distorted thinking. Cognitive therapy helps people to develop alternative ways of thinking and behaving which aims to reduce their psychological distress.Rational Emotive & Cognitive-Behavior Therapy Essay.
Cognitive behavioral therapy is, in fact, an umbrella term for many different therapies that share some common elements. Two of the earliest forms of Cognitive behavioral Therapy were Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT), developed by Albert Ellis in the 1950s, and Cognitive Therapy, developed by Aaron T. Beck in the 1960s.Rational Emotive & Cognitive-Behavior Therapy Essay.
See Dobson and Block (1988) for a review of the historical basis of cognitive behavioral therapy
General CBT Assumptions:
• The cognitive approach believes that abnormality stems from faulty cognitions about others, our world and us. This faulty thinking may be through cognitive deficiencies (lack of planning) or cognitive distortions (processing information inaccurately).Rational Emotive & Cognitive-Behavior Therapy Essay.
• These cognitions cause distortions in the way we see things; Ellis suggested it is through irrational thinking, while Beck proposed the cognitive triad.
• We interact with the world through our mental representation of it. If our mental representations are inaccurate or our ways of reasoning are inadequate then our emotions and behavior may become disordered.Rational Emotive & Cognitive-Behavior Therapy Essay.
The cognitive therapist teaches clients how to identify distorted cognitions through a process of evaluation. The clients learn to discriminate between their own thoughts and reality. They learn the influence that cognition has on their feelings, and they are taught to recognize observe and monitor their own thoughts.Rational Emotive & Cognitive-Behavior Therapy Essay.
The behavior part of the therapy involves setting homework for the client to do (e.g. keeping a diary of thoughts). The therapist gives the client tasks that will help them challenge their own irrational beliefs.Rational Emotive & Cognitive-Behavior Therapy Essay.
The idea is that the client identifies their own unhelpful beliefs and them proves them wrong. As a result, their beliefs begin to change. For example, someone who is anxious in social situations may be set a homework assignment to meet a friend at the pub for a drink.Rational Emotive & Cognitive-Behavior Therapy Essay.
Albert Ellis – REBT
Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT) is a type cognitive therapy first used by Albert Ellis which focuses on resolving emotional and behavioral problems. The goal of the therapy is to change irrational beliefs to more rational ones.Rational Emotive & Cognitive-Behavior Therapy Essay.
REBT encourages a person to identify their general and irrational beliefs (e.g. I must be perfect”) and subsequently persuades the person challenge these false beliefs through reality testing.Rational Emotive & Cognitive-Behavior Therapy Essay.
Albert Ellis (1957, 1962) proposes that each of us hold a unique set of assumptions about ourselves and our world that serve to guide us through life and determine our reactions to the various situations we encounter.Rational Emotive & Cognitive-Behavior Therapy Essay.
Unfortunately, some people’s assumptions are largely irrational, guiding them to act and react in ways that are inappropriate and that prejudice their chances of happiness and success. Albert Ellis calls these basic irrational assumptions.Rational Emotive & Cognitive-Behavior Therapy Essay.
Some people irrationally assume that they are failures if they are not loved by everyone they know – they constantly seek approval and repeatedly feel rejected. All their interactions are affected by this assumption, so that a great party can leave them dissatisfied because they don’t get enough compliments.Rational Emotive & Cognitive-Behavior Therapy Essay.
According to Ellis, these are other common irrational assumptions:
• The idea that one should be thoroughly competent at everything.
• The idea that is it catastrophic when things are not the way you want them to be.Rational Emotive & Cognitive-Behavior Therapy Essay.
• The idea that people have no control over their happiness.
• The idea that you need someone stronger than yourself to be dependent on.
• The idea that your past history greatly influences your present life.
• The idea that there is a perfect solution to human problems, and it’s a disaster if you don’t find it.Rational Emotive & Cognitive-Behavior Therapy Essay.
Ellis believes that people often forcefully hold on to this illogical way of thinking, and therefore employs highly emotive techniques to help them vigorously and forcefully change this irrational thinking.Rational Emotive & Cognitive-Behavior Therapy Essay.
The ABC Model
A major aid in cognitive therapy is what Albert Ellis (1957) called the ABC Technique of Irrational Beliefs.Rational Emotive & Cognitive-Behavior Therapy Essay.
The first three steps analyze the process by which a person has developed irrational beliefs and may be recorded in a three-column table.Rational Emotive & Cognitive-Behavior Therapy Essay.
ABC model of cognitive therapy
* A – Activating Event or objective situation. The first column records the objective situation, that is, an event that ultimately leads to some type of high emotional response or negative dysfunctional thinking.Rational Emotive & Cognitive-Behavior Therapy Essay.
* B – Beliefs. In the second column, the client writes down the negative thoughts that occurred to them.
* C – Consequence. The third column is for the negative feelings and dysfunctional behaviors that ensued. The negative thoughts of the second column are seen as a connecting bridge between the situation and the distressing feelings. The third column C is next explained by describing emotions or negative thoughts that the client thinks are caused by A. This could be anger, sorrow, anxiety, etc.Rational Emotive & Cognitive-Behavior Therapy Essay.
Ellis believes that it is not the activating event (A) that causes negative emotional and behavioral consequences (C), but rather that a person interpret these events unrealistically and therefore has a irrational belief system (B) that helps cause the consequences (C).
Ellis ABC model of therapy example
Gina is upset because she got a low mark on a math test. The Activating event, A, is that she failed her test. The Belief, B, is that she must have good grades or she is worthless. The Consequence, C, is that Gina feels depressed.Rational Emotive & Cognitive-Behavior Therapy Essay.
After irrational beliefs have been identified, the therapist will often work with the client in challenging the negative thoughts on the basis of evidence from the client’s experience by reframing it, meaning to re-interpret it in a more realistic light. This helps the client to develop more rational beliefs and healthy coping strategies.
A therapist would help Gina realize that there is no evidence that she must have good grades to be worthwhile, or that getting bad grades is awful. She desires good grades, and it would be good to have them, but it hardly makes her worthless.Rational Emotive & Cognitive-Behavior Therapy Essay.
If she realizes that getting bad grades is disappointing, but not awful, and that it means she is currently bad at math or at studying, but not as a person, she will feel sad or frustrated, but not depressed. The sadness and frustration are likely healthy negative emotions and may lead her to study harder from then on.Rational Emotive & Cognitive-Behavior Therapy Essay.
Rational emotive behavior therapists have cited many studies in support of this approach. Most early studies were conducted on people with experimentally induced anxieties or non clinical problems such as mild fear of snakes (Kendall & Kriss, 1983).
However, a number of recent studies have been done on actual clinical subjects and have also found that rational emotive behavior therapy (REBT) is often helpful (Lyons & Woods 1991).Rational Emotive & Cognitive-Behavior Therapy Essay.
Aaron Beck – Cognitive Therapy
Beck’s (1967) system of therapy is similar to Ellis’s, but has been most widely used in cases of depression. Cognitive therapists help clients to recognize the negative thoughts and errors in logic that cause them to be depressed.Rational Emotive & Cognitive-Behavior Therapy Essay.
The therapist also guides clients to question and challenge their dysfunctional thoughts, try out new interpretations, and ultimately apply alternative ways of thinking in their daily lives.Rational Emotive & Cognitive-Behavior Therapy Essay.
Aaron Beck believes that a person’s reaction to specific upsetting thoughts may contribute to abnormality. As we confront the many situations that arise in life, both comforting and upsetting thoughts come into our heads. Beck calls these unbidden cognition’s automatic thoughts.Rational Emotive & Cognitive-Behavior Therapy Essay.
When a person’s stream of automatic thoughts is very negative you would expect a person to become depressed (I’m never going to get this essay finished, my girlfriend fancies my best friend, I’m getting fat, I have no money, my parents hate me – have you ever felt like this?). Quite often these negative thoughts will persist even in the face of contrary evidence.Rational Emotive & Cognitive-Behavior Therapy Essay.
Beck (1967) identified three mechanisms that he thought were responsible for depression:
The cognitive triad (of negative automatic thinking
Negative self schemas
Errors in Logic (i.e. faulty information processing)
The Cognitive Triad
The cognitive triad are three forms of negative (i.e helpless and critical) thinking that are typical of individuals with depression: namely negative thoughts about the self, the world and the future. These thoughts tended to be automatic in depressed people as they occurred spontaneously.Rational Emotive & Cognitive-Behavior Therapy Essay.
Beck’s cognitive triad
As these three components interact, they interfere with normal cognitive processing, leading to impairments in perception, memory and problem solving with the person becoming obsessed with negative thoughts.Rational Emotive & Cognitive-Behavior Therapy Essay.
Beck’s cognitive triad
Beck believed that depression prone individuals develop a negative self-schema. They possess a set of beliefs and expectations about themselves that are essentially negative and pessimistic.Rational Emotive & Cognitive-Behavior Therapy Essay.
Beck claimed that negative schemas may be acquired in childhood as a result of a traumatic event. Experiences that might contribute to negative schemas include:Rational Emotive & Cognitive-Behavior Therapy Essay.
Death of a parent or sibling.
Parental rejection, criticism, overprotection, neglect or abuse.
Bullying at school or exclusion from peer group.
People with negative self schemas become prone to making logical errors in their thinking and they tend to focus selectively on certain aspects of a situation while ignoring equally relevant information.Rational Emotive & Cognitive-Behavior Therapy Essay.
Beck (1967) identifies a number of illogical thinking processes (i.e. distortions of thought processes). These illogical thought patterns are self-defeating, and can cause great anxiety or depression for the individual.Rational Emotive & Cognitive-Behavior Therapy Essay.
• Arbitrary interference: Drawing conclusions on the basis of sufficient or irrelevant evidence: for example, thinking you are worthless because an open air concert you were going to see has been rained off.Rational Emotive & Cognitive-Behavior Therapy Essay.
• Selective abstraction: Focusing on a single aspect of a situation and ignoring others: E.g., you feel responsible for your team losing a football match even though you are just one of the players on the field.Rational Emotive & Cognitive-Behavior Therapy Essay.
• Magnification: exaggerating the importance of undesirable events. E.g., if you scrape a bit of paint work on your car and, therefore, see yourself as totally awful driver.Rational Emotive & Cognitive-Behavior Therapy Essay.
• Minimisation: underplaying the significance of an event. E.g., you get praised by your teachers for an excellent term’s work, but you see this as trivial.
• Overgeneralization: drawing broad negative conclusions on the basis of a single insignificant event. E.g., you get a D for an exam when you normally get straight As and you, therefore, think you are stupid.Rational Emotive & Cognitive-Behavior Therapy Essay.
• Personalisation: Attributing the negative feelings of others to yourself. E.g., your teacher looks really cross when he comes into the room, so he must be cross with you.Rational Emotive & Cognitive-Behavior Therapy Essay.
Butler and Beck (2000) reviewed 14 meta-analyses investigating the effectiveness of Beck’s cognitive therapy and concluded that about 80% of adults benefited from the therapy.
It was also found that the therapy was more successful than drug therapy and had a lower relapse rate, supporting the proposition that depression has a cognitive basis.Rational Emotive & Cognitive-Behavior Therapy Essay.
This suggests that knowledge of the cognitive explanation can improve the quality of people’s lives.Rational Emotive & Cognitive-Behavior Therapy Essay.
Differences between REBT & Cognitive Therapy
• Albert Ellis views the therapist as a teacher and does not think that a warm personal relationship with a client is essential. In contrast, Beck stresses the quality of the therapeutic relationship.
• REBT is often highly directive, persuasive and confrontive. Beck places more emphasis on the client discovering misconceptions for themselves.
• REBT uses different methods depending on the personality of the client, in Beck’s cognitive therapy, the method is based upon the particular disorder.Rational Emotive & Cognitive-Behavior Therapy Essay.
Strengths of CBT
1. Model has great appeal because it focuses on human thought. Human cognitive abilities has been responsible for our many accomplishments so may also be responsible for our problems.Rational Emotive & Cognitive-Behavior Therapy Essay.
2. Cognitive theories lend themselves to testing. When experimental subjects are manipulated into adopting unpleasant assumptions or thought they became more anxious and depressed (Rimm & Litvak, 1969).Rational Emotive & Cognitive-Behavior Therapy Essay.
3. Many people with psychological disorders, particularly depressive , anxiety , and sexual disorders have been found to display maladaptive assumptions and thoughts (Beck et al., 1983).
4. Cognitive therapy has been very effective for treating depression (Hollon & Beck, 1994), and moderately effective for anxiety problems (Beck, 1993).Rational Emotive & Cognitive-Behavior Therapy Essay.
Limitations of CBT
1. The precise role of cognitive processes is yet to be determined. It is not clear whether faulty cognitions are a cause of the psychopathology or a consequence of it.Rational Emotive & Cognitive-Behavior Therapy Essay.
Lewinsohn (1981) studied a group of participants before any of them became depressed, and found that those who later became depressed were no more likely to have negative thoughts than those who did not develop depression. This suggests that hopeless and negative thinking may be the result of depression, rather than the cause of it.Rational Emotive & Cognitive-Behavior Therapy Essay.
2. The cognitive model is narrow in scope – thinking is just one part of human functioning, broader issues need to be addressed.
3. Ethical issues: RET is a directive therapy aimed at changing cognitions sometimes quite forcefully. For some, this may be considered an unethical approach.Rational Emotive & Cognitive-Behavior Therapy Essay.
Imagine you are going to see a therapist or counselor.
You’ve been having trouble dealing with stress, or maybe you’re struggling with some difficult emotions. Perhaps you have a diagnosed mental disorder and you’re having trouble keeping it in check.Rational Emotive & Cognitive-Behavior Therapy Essay.
You sit down in the therapist’s office and begin to discuss what brought you here.
The therapist asks you to describe the problem. You say something like “Well, lately I’ve been finding myself thinking –”
The therapist interjects, “Instead of telling me about what you’re thinking, tell me how you’re feeling.”
You tell the therapist how you’re feeling, and eventually, you come back to how you’ve been thinking lately – your thought patterns and tendencies you’ve noticed in your train of thought.Rational Emotive & Cognitive-Behavior Therapy Essay.
Again, the therapist stops you and says, “That’s not really important in terms of your treatment here. It’s much more important to talk about your feelings or your behaviors.”
Now, this is not a scenario you will find in therapy today (especially with the therapist’s interruptions!), but it illustrates a trend in therapy that began with the rise of psychoanalysis and, later, behaviorism and continued for several decades.Rational Emotive & Cognitive-Behavior Therapy Essay.
For many years, mental health professionals would focus their attention on emotions and behaviors, giving less thought to how their clients actually think. Psychoanalysis didn’t consider the client’s way of thinking to be especially problematic; instead, it aimed to penetrate the unconscious mind.Rational Emotive & Cognitive-Behavior Therapy Essay.
Behaviorism also largely ignored the way people think, but for different reasons – the focus was on the client’s behavior rather than their inner experience.Rational Emotive & Cognitive-Behavior Therapy Essay.
Albert Ellis noticed this gap in therapy work and hypothesized that the thoughts people have and the way they think could be much more vital for understanding and treating clients than current therapies assumed.Rational Emotive & Cognitive-Behavior Therapy Essay.
His work left a marked impact on the therapy world and introduced a new type of therapy that contributed to the development of one of the most popular and effective forms of therapy available today.
In this piece, you’ll learn about the foundations, theories, and techniques of this groundbreaking therapy: Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy.Rational Emotive & Cognitive-Behavior Therapy Essay.
This article contains:
What is Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy? A Definition
Theories Behind REBT
REBT Exercises & Worksheets
How REBT Relates to Positive Psychology
A Take Home Message
The Positive Psychology Toolkit
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The Positive Psychology toolkit is a science-based, online platform containing 200+ exercises, activities, interventions, questionnaires, assessments and scales.Rational Emotive & Cognitive-Behavior Therapy Essay.
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What is Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy? A Definition
As suggested by the scenario above, rational emotive behavior therapy (REBT) differed from the other mainstream therapies of its day, mainly in the importance it placed on discussing and adapting how clients think (Jorn, 2016).Rational Emotive & Cognitive-Behavior Therapy Essay.
Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy Albert Ellis
It may sound obvious today, but Ellis’ idea that the way we think has a significant impact on the way we feel was not a popularly held belief before he introduced his form of therapy.Rational Emotive & Cognitive-Behavior Therapy Essay.
Not only does REBT rest on the belief that the way we think influences our emotions and behavior, it attempts to help clients change the way they think to reduce negative symptoms and improve their quality of life (Albert Ellis Institute, 2014).Rational Emotive & Cognitive-Behavior Therapy Essay.
“People are not disturbed by things but rather by their view of things.” – Albert Ellis
As this quote from Ellis shows, Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy assumes that many people with emotional or behavioral problems struggle due to the way they perceive their experiences rather than simply the experiences themselves. REBT aims to facilitate change in core beliefs and thought patterns that will clients more effectively deal with their problems and improve their ability to function and feel in a healthy way (Good Therapy, 2015).Rational Emotive & Cognitive-Behavior Therapy Essay.
REBT also differs from other early forms of therapy in its focus on the present; in fact, according to Ellis, a common irrational belief is that our past has a significant influence on our present life (McLeod, 2015)! While our past does, of course, shape who we are today, it is an irrational belief if you feel you cannot escape your past.Rational Emotive & Cognitive-Behavior Therapy Essay.
The goal of Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy is best summarized as “disputing” – challenging and questioning our irrational and dysfunctional beliefs and replacing them with more sensible and functional beliefs. The result is not just changes in a few thought patterns or reducing some problematic symptoms, but a new perspective on life (Albert Ellis Institute, 2014).Rational Emotive & Cognitive-Behavior Therapy Essay.
Theories Behind REBT
The theory underpinning this type of therapy is that humans are not entirely rational creatures. This should go without saying, but sometimes we can use a reminder that humans are not simple computers that take an input, read it logically, and produce an appropriate output; rather, we are complex “computers” with an unfathomably large number of inputs, complicated and mysterious internal processes, and an unfathomably large number of potential outputs.Rational Emotive & Cognitive-Behavior Therapy Essay.
While it is (as far as we know) impossible to be entirely rational, Ellis believed that approaching our problems in a more rational way could have a significant impact on our negative emotions and dysfunctional behaviors (Albert Ellis Institute, 2014). The most important challenge to tackle on the road to rationality is our dysfunctional or illogical thinking.Rational Emotive & Cognitive-Behavior Therapy Essay.
Ellis theorized that many of our emotional and behavioral problems spring from basic irrational assumptions or assumptions that are not totally grounded in reality and influence people to act in ways that are inappropriate, unhelpful, or even destructive (McLeod, 2015).Rational Emotive & Cognitive-Behavior Therapy Essay.
Based on this idea, Ellis developed a model to help explain, describe, and treat emotional and behavioral disturbances.Rational Emotive & Cognitive-Behavior Therapy Essay.
The ABCDE Model of Emotional Disturbance
Ellis hypothesized that irrational beliefs are the result of a person’s goals or desires being inhibited or blocked. When we don’t get or accomplish what we wanted to, we may develop irrational beliefs about ourselves or the world that help explain what happened.Rational Emotive & Cognitive-Behavior Therapy Essay.
For example, imagine you are dead set on getting a job you applied for. You study up on the company, practice your interview answers, and make sure you’re looking extra sharp the day of the interview. Although you prepared extensively, the hiring manager decided to go with another candidate.Rational Emotive & Cognitive-Behavior Therapy Essay.
You may accept that this just wasn’t meant to be, or that you just weren’t the right fit for the job. However, you may also be heavily impacted by the decision and develop an irrational belief about why you didn’t get the job.Rational Emotive & Cognitive-Behavior Therapy Essay.
You might think, “I didn’t get this job because they can see that I’m a loser. I’m not good at anything and I never will be.”
Or, you might think, “The only reason I didn’t get this job is because the hiring manager had it out for me. It’s like the universe has it out for me!”
Both of these are thoughts that can help you explain why you didn’t get the job, but they are irrational and can lead to negative emotions and behavior down the road.Rational Emotive & Cognitive-Behavior Therapy Essay.
Using this scenario as an example, this is how the ABCDE model can explain the development (and the solution) of such problems:
A – Activating Event / Adversity
An activating event or adversity is something that triggers you to form an irrational belief, such as being turned down for the position. It is the first step in developing an irrational thought because the irrational thought is formed to help you deal with the event.Rational Emotive & Cognitive-Behavior Therapy Essay.
B – Irrational Belief
The “B” stands for the irrational belief that is formed in response to the activating event. This is a belief that you use to cope with the event, such as “I’m a loser, I’m useless, and I wouldn’t be able to do the job anyway.” While this is, of course, an incredibly hurtful thought, it can still be more comforting than having no idea why you didn’t get the job. Irrational beliefs are surprisingly easy to develop!
C – Emotional and Behavioral Consequences
The third component is the consequences of this irrational belief. Irrational beliefs always have consequences, sometimes emotional, sometimes behavior, and sometimes both. In this case, the consequences may be that you lose your self-confidence or frequently feel sad (emotional) and stop applying to any jobs (behavioral).Rational Emotive & Cognitive-Behavior Therapy Essay.
D – Disputes or Arguments
At some point, you may realize that you have an irrational belief that is causing you problems. You notice your loss of self-confidence and negative thoughts about yourself and begin to argue against your irrational belief. If you’re working with a therapist, the therapist may help guide you in developing arguments against the belief and help you come up with evidence to the contrary, such as “I have an amazing spouse. My spouse wouldn’t be with a ‘loser’ so I must not be a loser.”Rational Emotive & Cognitive-Behavior Therapy Essay.
E – New Effect
When you have successfully countered the irrational belief, you will notice new (hopefully more positive!) consequences or effects. In our scenario, these effects might be increased confidence, applying to more jobs, and feeling good about your abilities. These effects are the positive outcomes of holding more rational thoughts, like “I just wasn’t a good fit for that job, but I’ll find another” or “Maybe the hiring manager really didn’t like me, but that’s her loss” (McLeod, 2015).Rational Emotive & Cognitive-Behavior Therapy Essay.
The ABCDE model can be extremely helpful in tracing the development of an irrational thought and providing a high-level outline of how to challenge and replace it.Rational Emotive & Cognitive-Behavior Therapy Essay.
abcde model albert ellis
REBT Exercises & Worksheets
There are many exercises, techniques, and interventions grounded in Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy and CBT theory that therapists use in treatment. There are also many exercises that can be completed individually if you are not currently working with a therapist.Rational Emotive & Cognitive-Behavior Therapy Essay.
This is a very small selection of the many great exercises available, but they provide a good representation of the kinds of activities that can help identify, challenge, and adapt harmful or destructive ways of thinking.Rational Emotive & Cognitive-Behavior Therapy Essay.
Identifying and Challenging Irrational Beliefs
This is a commonly used exercise in Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy and CBT in general, as it gets to the root of the problem according to REBT theory: the irrational belief.Rational Emotive & Cognitive-Behavior Therapy Essay.
This “Dysfunctional Thought Record” worksheet will walk you through the exercise. It includes a structured journal format in which the client can record their irrational thoughts and look for patterns or commonalities to get to the source of their problems.Rational Emotive & Cognitive-Behavior Therapy Essay.
The worksheet is divided into seven columns and includes enough space to note multiple irrational or dysfunctional thoughts.Rational Emotive & Cognitive-Behavior Therapy Essay.
In the first column, the client is to write down the date and time.
In the second column, the client should describe the situation they were in.Rational Emotive & Cognitive-Behavior Therapy Essay.
The third column is for writing down the automatic thought that arose.
In column four, clients should note the associated emotions they felt.
Column five is where the client should list any cognitive distortions that came up during this situation and automatic thoughts.
In the next column, the client should brainstorm effective alternative thoughts that can fight the dysfunctional automatic thoughts.Rational Emotive & Cognitive-Behavior Therapy Essay.
Finally, the seventh column is for writing down the outcome of the situation.
This exercise will facilitate the identification of negative, irrational beliefs and the development of effective arguments against these beliefs. Keeping a record of these thoughts can help anyone to organize their thoughts, connect their beliefs to their reactions, and discover potential patterns of irrational beliefs.Rational Emotive & Cognitive-Behavior Therapy Essay.
This worksheet will be available for download soon.
This exercise can help clients recognize the consequences of their irrational beliefs about the things that are important to them. It can also assist the client in developing a solution that goes straight to the source instead of applying an emotional “Band-Aid” to their symptoms.Rational Emotive & Cognitive-Behavior Therapy Essay.
This “REBT Consequences Analysis” form can guide you or your clients through the exercise.
The first section of the worksheet is labeled “Target.” It directs the client to identify a salient issue or problem they are struggling with. In addition, it directs the client to think about what their most important goals or values are, and to write these down as well.Rational Emotive & Cognitive-Behavior Therapy Essay.
The second section is labeled “Short-term consequences.” This section gives the client space to write down the benefits (gains, pleasures, comforts) as well as the costs (damages, harms, losses) of continuing with their usual behavior. Once they have identified the benefits and costs, they can rate each area in terms of personal importance on a scale from 0 (lowest importance) to 100 (highest importance).Rational Emotive & Cognitive-Behavior Therapy Essay.
The third section is in the same format as the second section but focuses the client on long-term consequences instead of short-term consequences. Once again, clients are instructed to identify the benefits and costs of continuing with business as usual and rating the importance in these areas on a scale from 0 (lowest importance) to 100 (highest importance).Rational Emotive & Cognitive-Behavior Therapy Essay.
Finally, the worksheet asks the client, “What is the best outcome for you in the long-term?” Here, the client should consider the short- and long-term benefits and costs, and compare the expected consequences of continuing with their current thinking or behavior versus making some changes now.Rational Emotive & Cognitive-Behavior Therapy Essay.
This worksheet will be available for download soon.
Replacing Negative Beliefs with Positive BeliefsRational Emotive Behavior Therapy exercises
This fundamental exercise helps clients confront negative and irrational automatic thoughts or beliefs. It encourages the use of reason and rationality to replace old, self-critical beliefs with new, more positive and more functional beliefs.Rational Emotive & Cognitive-Behavior Therapy Essay.
The Positive Belief Record worksheet can help clients complete this exercise.
It’s an extremely simple and straightforward method of challenging one’s beliefs with a scientific approach.Rational Emotive & Cognitive-Behavior Therapy Essay.
At the top of the worksheet, the client will find two boxes where he or she can write down the old belief and come up with a new belief to replace it.Rational Emotive & Cognitive-Behavior Therapy Essay.
Underneath the two beliefs is the heading “Evidence that supports the new belief (or isn’t entirely consistent with the old belief.” As you probably guessed, this is where the client can list the evidence that challenges their negative, irrational belief.Rational Emotive & Cognitive-Behavior Therapy Essay.
Enough space is provided to write down 10 pieces of evidence that support the new belief, or call the old belief into question. This evidence can include experiences you have had, something someone else has said to you, or anything else you can think of that supports the new belief or sheds doubt on the old belief.Rational Emotive & Cognitive-Behavior Therapy Essay.
This worksheet will be available for download soon.
This is another exercise that uses a rational approach to connect a situation to the usual response that follows and compares the usual outcome to the outcome if a more positive response occurred.Rational Emotive & Cognitive-Behavior Therapy Essay.
This worksheet outlines two types of emotional responses: unhealthy or problematic responses, and healthy (or target) responses.Rational Emotive & Cognitive-Behavior Therapy Essay.
In the first section, the client is instructed to identify and describe an activating event. This is an event that provokes an emotional response (the “A” in the ABCDE model). There are four subsections for the client to complete:
Describe the situation.
Isolate the critical factor (what it was about the event that affected you).
Notice and accept bodily sensations.Rational Emotive & Cognitive-Behavior Therapy Essay.
Invent a symbol/metaphor for the experience (one that explains how it felt).
Next, the client will describe the problematic response that follows this activating event (“B” and “C” in the ABCDE model).
The client is instructed to name the emotion, then list the thoughts and images associated with it (i.e., what was happening in your mind during the event?) and the actions and intentions that followed (i.e., how you reacted or wanted to react).Rational Emotive & Cognitive-Behavior Therapy Essay.
Finally, the client should describe what the healthy response would look like for him or her (the “E” in the ABCDE model).
The first component of the healthy response is the target emotion. Once the client has identified the target emotion, he or she should list the cognitive objectives (i.e., how the client would need to think in order to feel this emotion) and the behavioral objectives (i.e., what the client would need to do in order to feel this emotion).Rational Emotive & Cognitive-Behavior Therapy Essay.
This worksheet can help guide clients through a comparison of these two types of responses and help them recognize what a healthy response is. It can also help clients develop a plan to make the healthy response their default.Rational Emotive & Cognitive-Behavior Therapy Essay.
This worksheet will be available for download soon.
How REBT Relates to Positive Psychology
While Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy was developed long before positive psychology arrived on the psychology scene (around 1998-99), they share many of the same goals and areas of focus. Of course, there are some areas of disagreement between the two, such as the strict focus on rationality in REBT versus the importance many positive psychologists place on feelings or even intuition, but in general, they fit together quite well.Rational Emotive & Cognitive-Behavior Therapy Essay.
Upon review of Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy and positive psychology, it turns out they have a lot in common:
They both focus on removing or challenging the negative.
They both place great importance on not only removing the negative but also on replacing the negative with positive.
They both assume that people are competent and capable, and rely on guiding people through the process of finding better options for themselves and choosing the positive.Rational Emotive & Cognitive-Behavior Therapy Essay.
They both recognize the vital importance of how people think, rather than focusing only on what they think.
The ultimate goal for both REBT and positive psychology is to help people live better, more fulfilling, and happier lives.Rational Emotive & Cognitive-Behavior Therapy Essay.
Most importantly, even though there are theoretical differences and disagreements, they are not mutually exclusive. A client or practitioner in Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy will likely find much support and encouragement in positive psychology, and many positive psychologists recognize the importance of therapies like REBT and CBT. It would not be incongruent to find a form of therapy that draws from both Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy and positive psychology.Rational Emotive & Cognitive-Behavior Therapy Essay.
Ultimately, any theoretical or philosophical differences between Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy and positive psychology are not really relevant, since they share the goal of improving lives by enhancing positive emotions, positive thoughts, and positive behaviors.Rational Emotive & Cognitive-Behavior Therapy Essay.
A Take Home Message
Hopefully, this piece has given you a useful introduction to the world of Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy. Although Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy was developed several decades ago, it is still in use by psychologists and therapists around the world, and it helped lay the foundations for subsequent therapies that target the client’s cognition.Rational Emotive & Cognitive-Behavior Therapy Essay.
Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy remains an effective method for helping people challenge their dysfunctional thoughts, encouraging them to use reason to approach their problem-solving, and replacing their negative beliefs with new, positive, and life-enhancing beliefs.Rational Emotive & Cognitive-Behavior Therapy Essay.
Have you ever tried Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy? Would you? What are your thoughts on this type of therapy? Let us know in the comments!
Albert Ellis’s ABC Model is a major part of his rational-emotive behavior therapy (REBT). REBT served as a sort of precursor to cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), and the ABC Model is now a treatment commonly used in CBT interventions.Rational Emotive & Cognitive-Behavior Therapy Essay.
This article will cover what the ABC Model is, how it and REBT relate to CBT, and finally the ways in which the ABC Model works to target dysfunctional thoughts and beliefs.Rational Emotive & Cognitive-Behavior Therapy Essay.
This Article Contains:
A Brief History on CBT & REBT
What Is The ABC Model?
How To Treat Cognitive Distortions & Irrational Beliefs With The ABC Model
5 ABC Model Worksheets (PDF)
A Take Home Message
Before you start reading this article, we recommend downloading these 3 Positive CBT exercises for free. With these exercises, you will be able to understand positive CBT on a theoretical level and gain the tools to apply it to your work with clients or students.Rational Emotive & Cognitive-Behavior Therapy Essay.
You can download the PDF for free on this page: https://bit.ly/2VmfP5r
A Brief History on CBT & REBT
CBT has its direct roots in Aaron Beck’s cognitive therapy (CT), which he developed when he decided that contemporary treatments for depression focused too much on past events rather than current beliefs (such as the belief that one is not good enough for their job or partner) (Beck, 2011).Rational Emotive & Cognitive-Behavior Therapy Essay.
Beck’s CT has its own roots, though, and Albert Ellis’s REBT is one of those roots. Specifically, REBT is “the original form and one of the main pillars of cognitive-behavioral therapies (CBT)”(David et al., 2018). REBT along with Aaron Beck’s cognitive therapy (CT) (1976), served as the basis for the development of CBT.Rational Emotive & Cognitive-Behavior Therapy Essay.
In other words, REBT is both a precursor to and a form of CBT. The main thing that sets REBT and CBT apart from preceding cognitive therapies is that REBT and CBT both target beliefs as a fundamental course of treatment.Rational Emotive & Cognitive-Behavior Therapy Essay.
For the purposes of this article, we can consider REBT to be a subset of CBT, and we can consider the ABC Model to be an REBT treatment plan as well as a CBT treatment plan.Rational Emotive & Cognitive-Behavior Therapy Essay.
What Is The ABC Model?
The basic idea behind the ABC model is that “external events (A) do not cause emotions (C), but beliefs (B) and, in particular, irrational beliefs (IB) do” (Sarracino et al., 2017). Another way to think about it is that “our emotions and behaviors (C: Consequences) are not directly determined by life events (A: Activating Events), but rather by the way these events are cognitively processed and evaluated (B: Beliefs)” (Oltean et al., 2017). Furthermore, as evidenced by the first quote, REBT divides beliefs into “rational” and “irrational” beliefs.Rational Emotive & Cognitive-Behavior Therapy Essay.
Ellis initially believed that REBT was incompatible with religiosity, or at least with “absolute” religiosity, though he has come to accept that certain types of religiosity are compatible with REBT (Ellis, 2000). According to Ellis, belief in a “loving God” can lead to positive mental health outcomes, while belief in an “angry” God can lead to negative mental health outcomes. This is surely a bold claim but shows the evolution of Ellis’s thoughts on REBT and the ABC Model, particularly in how they relate to religion.Rational Emotive & Cognitive-Behavior Therapy Essay.
abc model albert ellis
The ABC Model can also be referred to as the “ABCDE” Model, where D stands for the Disputation of Beliefs and E stands for New Effect, the result of holding healthier beliefs (Jorn, 2016).Rational Emotive & Cognitive-Behavior Therapy Essay.
Disputation is a key part of the ABC Model (such as in the case of disputing an irrational belief to turn it into a rational belief), and New Effect is simply the result of that disputation. Calling it the “ABCDE” Model instead of the “ABC” Model simply makes these two steps more explicit, but they are present regardless of what one calls it.Rational Emotive & Cognitive-Behavior Therapy Essay.
In both the ABC Model and the ABCDE Model, this is what a typical series of thoughts might look like (with the only difference being that the ABCDE Model is explicit about “D” and “E”:
A: Activating Event (something happens to or around someone)
B: Belief (the event causes someone to have a belief, either rational or irrational)
C: Consequence (the belief has led to a consequence, with rational beliefs leading to healthy consequences and irrational beliefs leading to unhealthy consequences)abcde model albert ellis
D: Disputation (if one has held an irrational belief which has caused unhealthy consequences, they must dispute that belief and turn it into a rational belief)
E: New Effect (the disputation has turned the irrational belief into a rational belief, and the person now has healthier consequences of their belief as a result)
How To Treat Cognitive Distortions & Irrational Beliefs With The ABC Model
When it comes to CBT, REBT, and the ABC Model:
“a key element is helping clients see the connection between an event that may serve as a trigger, and how irrational evaluations may cause emotional and/or behavioral consequences that often in turn lead to increased distress or conflict.” (Malkinson & Brask—Rustad, 2013)
This is the main idea behind the ABC Model, as one does not necessarily have to change their environment, they simply have to recognize and change their reactions to their environment.Rational Emotive & Cognitive-Behavior Therapy Essay.
This is indicated by the fact that three 45-minute learning sessions about the ABC Model have been shown to be effective in reducing symptoms of depression and anxiety as well as reducing dysfunctional thinking while increasing self-esteem and feelings of hope (Saelid & Nordahl, 2017). It is important to note that this was achieved in an experimental group where 18 of the 20 participants “reported not having had any previous knowledge of the links between thoughts, feelings, and behavior.”Rational Emotive & Cognitive-Behavior Therapy Essay.
Regardless, this indicates that the ABC Model partially works by showing people the connection between their beliefs and their emotions, and by showing people that the events around them do not necessarily dictate their emotions.
The ABC Model has been successful in treating anger issues as well (Fuller et al., 2010). This treatment was especially promising because participants were able to deal with their anger while confronting potential anger triggers, rather than simply avoiding anger triggers. This underscores the idea that the ABC Model works by changing one’s beliefs in response to the environment around them, rather than changing the environment around them.Rational Emotive & Cognitive-Behavior Therapy Essay.
abc model albert ellis negative emotions
In cases of unhealthy anger, and other instances of unhealthy negative emotions, the key difference is between rational and irrational beliefs (Ziegler & Smith, 2004). In certain situations, however, the ABC Model cannot be deployed as is. For example, treating someone who is grieving, such as someone in bereavement from losing a child, requires a modification. This is because in the case of grief, “‘logical’ disputation is not useful, but instead, legitimizing and normalizing is used: losing a child is in and by itself not logical” (Malkinson & Brask-Rustad, 2013).Rational Emotive & Cognitive-Behavior Therapy Essay.
In general, the ABC Model works by turning irrational beliefs about activating events into rational beliefs, which in turn leads to better consequences and emotions. In some cases, however, such as grief, it is not about turning irrational beliefs into rational beliefs, but it is instead about “legitimizing and normalizing” the beliefs that are present. In most cases, though, the ABC Model targets irrational beliefs.Rational Emotive & Cognitive-Behavior Therapy Essay.
You can read more about cognitive distortions here.
5 ABC Model Worksheets (PDF)
This extremely short worksheet simply lists the five steps of the ABC model in descending order. It goes from Activating Event to Beliefs to Consequences to Disputations of beliefs to Effective new beliefs. This worksheet does not offer too much explanation but could be a good resource to hang in an office or classroom as a reminder to practice the ABC Model.Rational Emotive & Cognitive-Behavior Therapy Essay.
Understanding our response to stress and adversity
This three-page worksheet, which appears to be part of a longer packet from a Dartmouth College, is a great stand-alone way to learn about the ABC Model. The worksheet clearly and briefly explains what the ABC Model is and how to use it effectively. This is a good option for someone looking to quickly learn about the ABC Model and how to use it in themselves.Rational Emotive & Cognitive-Behavior Therapy Essay.
ABC Problem Solving Worksheet
This worksheet serves as a prompt to help someone work through the ABC Model whenever they may need to. This would be another great resource to hang in a classroom or office as a reminder of the connection between beliefs and emotions. This worksheet is also useful because it does not require any prior knowledge about the ABC Model to use it successfully.Rational Emotive & Cognitive-Behavior Therapy Essay.
CBT Exercise – The ABCD Method
This is similar to the above worksheet, as it also walks one through the ABC Model whenever one may need it. It may be more appropriate for adults, however, while the preceding worksheet may be more appropriate for younger people (simply because it is more colorful and prompts for fewer responses). This worksheet also works regardless of one’s prior knowledge of the ABC Model.Rational Emotive & Cognitive-Behavior Therapy Essay.
This worksheet also walks one through the ABC Model but is targeted towards therapists to give to their clients. It is also slightly more visual than the other worksheets, so it may be helpful for anyone who prefers visual methods, not just clients of therapists. By providing boxes instead of lines, this worksheet also allows one to draw rather than write, which may also be helpful for younger clients.Rational Emotive & Cognitive-Behavior Therapy Essay.
A Take-Home Message
The main takeaway from the ABC Model is that while environmental factors can certainly negatively affect our lives, we do have some control over how we react and respond to those factors. This does not mean that no harm can come to someone with a positive attitude, but it does indicate that a positive attitude can get someone through rough times, or help them better enjoy the good times. Having a positive attitude also does not cost anything, so it cannot hurt to try to keep a positive outlook.Rational Emotive & Cognitive-Behavior Therapy Essay.
In the true spirit of positive psychology, we would all be better off if we remembered the principles of the ABC Model. In many situations, we may not be able to change the environmental factors (or Activating Events) that surround occur in our daily lives. What we can do, though, is keep in mind the power of our own beliefs.Rational Emotive & Cognitive-Behavior Therapy Essay.
REBT is the pioneering form of cognitive behavior therapy developed by Dr. Albert Ellis in 1955. REBT is an action-oriented approach to managing cognitive, emotional, and behavioral disturbances.Rational Emotive & Cognitive-Behavior Therapy Essay.
According to REBT, it is largely our thinking about events that leads to emotional and behavioral upset. With an emphasis on the present, individuals are taught how to examine and challenge their unhelpful thinking which creates unhealthy emotions and self-defeating/self-sabotaging behaviors.Rational Emotive & Cognitive-Behavior Therapy Essay.
REBT is a practical approach to assist individuals in coping with and overcoming adversity as well as achieving goals. REBT places a good deal of its focus on the present. REBT addresses attitudes, unhealthy emotions (e.g., unhealthy anger, depression, anxiety, guilt, etc.) and maladaptive behaviors (e.g., procrastination, addictive behaviors, aggression, unhealthy eating, sleep disturbance, etc.) that can negatively impact life satisfaction. REBT practitioners work closely with individuals, seeking to help identify their individual set of beliefs (attitudes, expectations and personal rules) that frequently lead to emotional distress.Rational Emotive & Cognitive-Behavior Therapy Essay.
REBT then provides a variety of methods to help people reformulate their dysfunctional beliefs into more sensible, realistic and helpful ones by employing the powerful REBT technique called “disputing.” Ultimately, REBT helps individuals to develop a philosophy and approach to living that can increase their effectiveness and satisfaction at work, in living successfully with others, in parenting and educational settings, in making our community and environment healthier, and in enhancing their own emotional health and personal welfare.Rational Emotive & Cognitive-Behavior Therapy Essay.
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