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What is Rational Emotive Therapy?

Rational emotive therapy is a treatment that focuses on the emotional and psychological problems that come about by the thoughts and beliefs a person has experienced. REBT, or rational emotional behavior therapy as it is called these days, shows that people are prey to impressionable delusions and distortions that cause them to embrace dysfunctional attitudes. The therapy tries to guide patients through changing their irrational thoughts and beliefs into healthier thought patterns.

Albert Ellis, a psychiatrist in the 1950’s, was a contributor to the concepts of cognitive behavior therapy which evolved into him founding the therapy of rational emotive. His conviction was that illogical thoughts were not caused by events, but rather caused by individualized perceptions and internalized voices. REBT deemphasizes past experiences so that bad behavior cannot be justified in a person’s current behaviors.

The ABC’s of REBT are used to assess how negative thinking affects patients on a day to day basis. The goal of the ABC’s is to get rid of senseless beliefs so that new rational thinking can ensue and change the patient’s perception. In doing so, acceptance of themselves and the world can infiltrate their life by breaking down the negative walls that keep them hostage in the element of their thoughts.

A = Activating Event

This event is the situation that causes the worry and stress. Identifying the trigger of the activating event, starts the process of REBT.

B = Beliefs

Beliefs are irrational and attached to an emotional or behavioral response to an activating event. Negative thoughts and self-talk can be in the nature of self-pity, entitlement, and self-centeredness. With REBT, patients examine these beliefs to explore where they came from and how to swap them out with positive reinforcement.

C= Consequences

The process of rumination takes effect with the consequences. Programing oneself with the impression of doom, in theory, will create the doom through the means of the belief.

Breaking down these beliefs will drastically improve the outlook of the patient by integrating positive and new perceptions.

D = Disputing Irrational Beliefs

Disputing irrational beliefs is the goal to overthrow negative and unrealistic thinking. With REBT, a realistic and adaptive evaluation of a problem situation will then become a new habit.

E = Effects of New Thinking

Cognitive reconstructing takes place in this phrase of REBT empowering effects in new thinking. Stress and negativity no longer exist in the form they once did.

Rational emotive therapy is a therapy that realizes that history can influence thought patterns, but controlling how they are interpreted going forward is up to the patient. Self-acceptance despite a person’s shortcomings is considered a success in REBT.

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