In psychology, several counseling methods and therapies have emerged, all of which have been developed to address people’s mental health issues. However, Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy is something more; it aims to help clients to control their emotions, stress, and even behaviors.
Rational emotive behavior therapy longs to make a long-term impact on people; to be able to change their perspective on life and how they view their problems. It is a breakthrough within the field of psychotherapy, and can address several types of psychological disorders such as anxiety, but what is REBT exactly?
History And How It Came About
Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy or REBT is a cognitive-behavioral therapy developed by Dr. Albert Ellis, a psychologist who aims to change the irrational beliefs of his patients. After experimenting to overcome his fear of talking to women, Dr. Ellis used this experience as his basis for developing his approach to this new therapy.
“A common form of therapy for anxiety disorders is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), which helps individuals identify their triggers to anxiety and the connected thought patterns all for the purpose of creating new ways to think and respond in anxiety-inducing situations.” –Karin Draper, LMFT
Aside from that, his increasing dissatisfaction with the results offered by the psychoanalytic approach to therapy led him to seek something more; a therapy that would not only help his clients become aware of their underlying problems but also alter their behavior as well.
Basic Techniques And Steps In Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy
According to Dr. Ellis, people mistakenly blame external events for whatever negative is happening to them, which led him to develop REBT. To understand it better, let’s take a closer look at how the process works.
- Identifying the Root Cause Of The Irrational Belief
It is crucial that irrational beliefs be identified first hand. People who experience psychological distress should be able first to identify the underlying irrational thoughts or patterns they have. These often are in the form of absolutes, or the self-construct of being perfect. “ I must do this” or “I cannot do that,” this kind of thoughts often leads to our distress. Having rigid expectations of oneself will only harm ourselves and will only yield an unhealthy way of thinking.
“Rooted in a belief that we can’t handle how we are feeling, believing our anxiety is dangerous just might be the most damaging approach we can take to coping with it.” –Alicia H. Clark, PsyD
- Challenge The Illogical
For therapists who long to use REBT to address their client’s way of thinking, it is essential to keep in mind that you have to be blunt in your approach. Since REBT in nature is an action-oriented approach, confrontational and direct methods would be needed to challenge these irrational beliefs.
Once they have been identified, the therapist must be willing to push their clients into changing their behaviors, even if this means you have to compromise being warm to them, as long as you offer a logical and honest approach.
- Recognize Irrationality And Change For The Better
The first two steps would not be easy for the therapist, more so on the client. Identifying irrational beliefs is already a hard thing to do, especially if you are blinded by the negativity happening around you. As you noticed, “Negative thoughts are just a part of life, but they don’t have to consume you. Instead of trying to ignore those thoughts altogether, try countering them with positive statements.” Licensed clinical psychologist John Mayer, Ph.D. said.
However, if you get to the step wherein you began challenging the negative patterns you have, you can now start to recognize that these irrational thoughts are brought about by your own set of expectations.
Although feeling bad from time to time is a common thing and already part of human nature, taking it in and breathing it out on a daily basis would be harmful to your health. Taking in new hobbies, such as reading, meditation, journaling, and other recreational activities are advised to change these negative behaviors you have.
What Makes You Happy?
Happiness is a hard thing to have. Because of our rigid expectations, we put psychological pressure on ourselves, and often blaming it on external events. Despite being successful in jobs, or in family life, satisfaction is still out of hand. In fact, the Harris Poll says that the Happiness Index of Americans only ranks 31 out of 100 in 2016.
While it is socially acceptable to feel bad and to address your problems from time to time, do not forget to think about the things you should be grateful for. Be thankful for the blessings that you receive, for the people who stuck with you through thick and thin. More importantly, focus on the things that would make you truly happy; the things you might regret not doing in the end.