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Psychological Therapies for Phobic Disorders
Rational Emotive Behavioural Therapy
Aims to turn the irrational thoughts and turn them into rational ones.
Ellis proposed that the way to deal with irrational thoughts was to identify them using the ABC model.
It is not the activating event that causes the unproductive consequences but the beliefs that lead to the
REBT focuses on challenging or disputing the beliefs and replacing them with effective, rational
Three types of disputing
Logical disputing selfdefeating beliefs do not follow logically from the information available (does
it make sense)
Empirical disputing selfdefeating beliefs may not be consistent with reality (where is the proof?)
Pragmatic disputing emphasises the lack of usefulness of selfdefeating beliefs (how does it
Effective disputing changes the selfdefeating beliefs into more rational beliefs.
The individual can then move from catastrophising to more rational interpretations of the event.
This makes them feel better and eventually become more selfaccepting.
+ Generally shown to be effective in outcome studies.
+ Engels et al concluded that REBT is an effective treatment for a number of different types
of disorder including social phobia.
+ Ellis claimed a 90% success rate, taking an average of 27 sessions.
+ In the UK, the National Institute for Clinical Excellence identified CBT, of which REBT is an
example, as the firstline approach to treating anxiety disorders.
- Emmelkemp et al Concluded that REBT was less effective than in vivo exposure treatments at
least in the treatment of agoraphobia.
- Not suitable for all
- Doesn't work for all.
+ Ellis believed that some people who claimed to be following REBT principles were not
putting their revised beliefs into action. Not as effective.
+ Ellis also claimed that not everyone wants the direct advice that REBT offers.
+ Theoretical basis has received research attention, showing, for example, that people who hold
irrational beliefs from inferences that are less functional than those formed by people who have
- On the other hand, irrational beliefs may be realistic.
Alloy & Abrahmson found that depressed people gave more accurate estimates of the
likelihood of a disaster than normal controls (sadder but wiser effect)