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Thus, REBT application to the educational field has generated rational emotive education, to the work environment has generated rational effectiveness training or REBT coaching , and to pastoral field has generated rational pastoral counseling. A new emerging and developing field is that of using REBT in genetic counseling. Thus, some original ideas of the theory were confirmed, others were invalidated, and other ideas were added based on research.

Therefore, what follows reflects the current state of the art in REBT theory; however, a careful reading also reveals its historical evolution. According to current REBT theory, the impact of various activating life events e. Once generated, a C can become a new A, being further processed reappraisal , thus generating secondary or meta-consequences. An A can therefore be a physical life event e. Arguably, the ABC model is the general paradigm of all cognitive-behavioral therapies. However, various CBTs differ in the type of information processing on which they focus.

REBT focuses on a specific type of cognition, namely rational and irrational beliefs. As concerning functional and dysfunctional feelings i. The first model is a classic one, assuming that dysfunctional negative feelings e. The second model is an original one, assuming that differences between functional and dysfunctional feelings, be them positive or negative e. Data are accumulating now for both models and thus, the problem is still unanswered. At its core, REBT theory is mainly a motivational one see David, that can be seen part of the appraisal paradigm see Lazarus, ; Smith et al.

These can be represented in our cognitive system by production rules i. Therefore, when we face various activating events, we come with our own desires motivational relevance. If we had no desires, we would not experience feelings. Our desires i. If activating events fit our irrationally formulated desires motivational congruence , we will experience dysfunctional positive feelings: they are dysfunctional because they reinforce their underlying irrational beliefs. If activating events do not fit our irrationally formulated desires motivational incongruence , a second wave of information processing follows i.

Frustration intolerance e. The rational formulation of our desires involves three components: flexible preference, motivational relevance, and acceptance e. If activating events fit rationally formulated desires motivational congruence , we experience functional positive feelings. Non-awfulizing non-catastrophizing refers to a nuanced negative evaluation e. Unconditional acceptance is the antidote to global evaluation self-esteem.

More precisely, we do not globally evaluate ourselves positively or negatively , but we accept ourselves unconditionally and evaluate only specific and discrete aspects of the self e. Rational and irrational appraisals processes can involve various contents. They can refer to your own person e. Moreover, they can be general e.

How Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy Works

The specific combinations of various rational and irrational processes and their content i. This line of research is still under scientific scrutiny, but several models have already been proposed and tested see David, Therefore, irrational beliefs are seen as cognitive vulnerability factors while rational beliefs are considered sanogenic mechanisms. Thus, irrational beliefs are not necessarily associated with dysfunctional consequences; they become associated with dysfunctional consequences only if they are primed by various activating events.

Rational and irrational beliefs develop during ontogenesis, and both genetic and environmental e. Albert Ellis argued that the genetic contribution is very strong, even evolutionarily determined, but this idea is still a subject of scientific scrutiny in genetic and neuroscience-based research paradigms see David et al. In specific situations they bias the perception of the activating events and thus generate specific rational and irrational beliefs, often in the form of automatic thoughts. They are called automatic thoughts because they come to our mind automatically and are specifically related to various activating events.

The automatic thoughts once generated, then reinforce and maintain the core beliefs. The same model seems to work for descriptions and inferences too see Beck, Figure 1.

What Is Rational Emotive Therapy, And How Can It Help Me? | Regain

Most of them confirmed the main aspects of the theory e. For example, some researchers conceptualized rational beliefs as low levels of irrational beliefs, which is a misunderstanding of the theory. According to REBT theory, functional consequences are generated not by low levels of irrational beliefs, but by high levels of rational beliefs.

Low levels of irrational beliefs could also mean a lack of rational beliefs no motivational relevance. Therefore, current research is focused on elaborating better measures of rational and irrational beliefs both explicit and implicit measures.

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The practice of REBT i. It refers to 1 human optimization, 2 health promotion and prevention of clinical problems, and 3 the treatment of mental disorders and other clinical conditions. Moreover, beyond these core REBT cognitive restructuring techniques, REBT agrees with the use of any safe technique borrowed from other psychotherapy schools. REBT thus proves eclectic at the practical level not at the theory level , a real platform for a possible psychotherapy integration. Classic i. Once we change dysfunctional consequences e.

General i. For example, we can start with the practical problem e. If getting and staying better also involve feeling better, feeling better does not necessarily involve getting and staying better e. The dynamic element of REBT, of moving from one component to another, can facilitate the therapeutic process in some clinical cases see Figure 2. Therefore, several efficacy how REBT works in controlled conditions — to understand internal validity and effectiveness studies how REBT works in real clinical practice — to understand external validity have been conducted to test REBT.

However, initial REBT studies were criticized 1 for using mainly transdiagnostic categories rather than DSM categories and 2 for using an effectiveness approach e. Subsequently, REBT studies started to use DSM categories and rigorous controlled designs in testing outcomes at post-test and follow-up e. Moreover, REBT was tested in rigorous clinical trials for medical-related disorders e. Several large-scale meta-analyses that specifically summarized REBT clinical trials showed that REBT works for a large spectrum of disorders both in adults Engels et al.

Despite this optimistic image of the impact of REBT in clinical practice, less is known yet, in terms of empirical evidence, about the use of REBT for human optimization and health promotion, as compared to the use of REBT in the clinical field. Ironically, REBT has been criticized several years ago for using transdiagnostic rather than DSM categories and effectiveness rather than efficacy studies. Also, the construct of rational and irrational beliefs has largely penetrated the classic textbooks in psychology. Additionally, REBT constructs influenced various frameworks of fundamental research in mainstream general psychology, such as the emotion regulation paradigm Cristea et al.

At a more specific level, the main contributions of REBT are related to:. The role of unconditional acceptance e. This stimulated positive psychology type of research e. This distinction compels us to design complex studies when testing a new therapeutic packages e.

Underlying Theory of Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy

First of all, REBT has all the limitations of a scientific approach to mental health see for details David et al. Thus, up to this moment, REBT has not clarified the mechanisms involved in various mental disorders. Future research is need here. You made a mistake, but that's okay because everyone makes mistakes sometimes. All you can do is learn from the situation and move on.

It is also important to recognize that while rational emotive behavior therapy utilizes cognitive strategies to help clients, it also focuses on emotions and behaviors as well. In addition to identifying and disputing irrational beliefs, therapists and clients also work together to target the emotional responses that accompany problematic thoughts. Clients are also encouraged to change unwanted behaviors using such things as meditation , journaling, and guided imagery.

REBT can be effective in the treatment of a range of psychological disorders including anxiety and phobias as well as specific behaviors such as severe shyness and excessive approval-seeking. Have you ever wondered what your personality type means? Sign up to get these answers, and more, delivered straight to your inbox. There was an error. Please try again.

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Thank you, , for signing up. Ellis, A. Reflections on Rational-Emotive Therapy.


Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 61 , ; More in Psychology. Let's take a closer look at how rational emotive behavior was developed and how it works. Feeling excessively upset over other people's mistakes or misconduct. Believing that you must be percent 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. Was this page helpful? Thanks for your feedback! Email Address Sign Up There was an error. What are your concerns? Article Sources. Reason and Emotion in Psychotherapy. New York: Carol; Continue Reading. Biography of Psychologist Albert Ellis. An Interview With Dr. Debbie Joffe Ellis. What to Know About Psychotherapy. Psychologist Aaron Beck Biography. The Basic Methods of Therapy. How Individual Therapy Works. How Does Psychoanalytic Therapy Work?

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