Rational Emotive Therapy

Rational Emotive Therapy

Rational Emotive Therapy, also called Rational Emotive Behavioral Therapy (REBT), was established by Albert Ellis. Ellis illustrated REBT through Aaron Beck’s ABC model. “A” is an activating event; “B” is a rational or irrational belief about the activating event and “C” is the consequence of the interaction of both A and B. If the person has irrational or faulty beliefs about the activating event, the consequence will be unhealthy negative emotions and behaviors that can lead to depression, anxiety, and other problems.

Ellis helped clients by teaching them to dispute. This meant that clients should go back to the underlying beliefs and dispute if they were actually accurate. Ellis found that many of his client’s underlying beliefs were cognitive distortions or untrue statements about themselves such as “I have to be perfect or I am a failure and everyone will reject me.” Therefore, Ellis added a D and E to Beck’s ABC model to formulate his REBT technique. D represented disputing cognitive distortions and E represented the effects of changing the faulty thinking to rational thinking. Once the clients disputed their faulty thoughts and exchanged them for truth statements about themselves, the resulting emotions and behaviors also changed and the clients felt better.

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