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Cognitive behavioural therapy: REBT
REBT or rational emotive behavioural therapy is based on the idea that many
problems are actually the result of irrational thinking. Individuals develop self
defeating habits because of faulty beliefs about the world around them and
themselves. REBT helps the patient to understand the irrationality and the
consequences of thinking this way; it then helps them to substitute more effective
problems solving methods. It's used in situations where the therapist believes the
underlying problem lies in the unrealistic beliefs that and individual has about
themselves and their behaviours.
How it works?
The cognitive model of abnormality states that our beliefs are the main influence
behind our emotional well being. Irrational beliefs are experienced as self
defeating thoughts which are disruptive and lead to unproductive outcomes. REBT
changes the self defeating thoughts to make people happier and less anxious about
life. During therapy patients are encouraged to dispute these beliefs:
Logical disputing: self defeating beliefs don't follow logically from the
information available. E.g. does thinking this way make sense?
Empirical disputing: self defeating beliefs may not be consistent with
reality. E.g. where is the proof that this belief is accurate?
Pragmatic disputing: emphasises the lack of usefulness of self defeating
beliefs. E.g. how is this belief likely to help me?
This changes the patients self defeating beliefs into rational beliefs. The
individual changes from catastrophising (I have let down my family, I'm a loser) to
more rational interpretations of events (I may have failed but if I work harder,
next time I'll nail it. This helps the patient to become more self accepting and to
Effectiveness: REBT has generally done well in outcome studies which
measure responses to treatment. For example, Engels meta analysis found
that REBT is an effective treatment for many disorders including
obsessive-compulsive disorders and social phobia.
Appropriateness: it can be used for clinical populations (people suffering
from mental disorders or phobias) and also non clinical populations (people
who might suffer from lack of assertiveness of examination anxiety.
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Irrational environments- REBT fails to address the important issue that
irrational environments in which clients exist to continue beyond the
therapeutic situation. E.g. marriages with bullying partners, or jobs with
overly critical bosses. Therefore these environments continue to produce
and reinforce irrational behaviours and maladaptive thoughts.
Not suitable for all: it doesn't always work and aren't always what people
wanted. Ellis believed that sometimes people who claimed to be following
REBT principles were not putting those new beliefs into action.…read more