How does REBT work? Rational emotive behavior therapy (REBT) is a popular form of cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) that helps individuals identify and change irrational beliefs and negative thought patterns that contribute to psychological and behavioral issues. At the foundation of REBT is the notion that it is not the events in our lives that cause our emotions but irrational beliefs about events and the world around us. This action-oriented approach works from the perspective that people want to do well in life and can when they recognize and alter irrational thinking.
Harmony Hills provides comprehensive, effective mental health treatment in a welcoming, safe environment. Our serene 80-acre campus offers a perfect backdrop for healing away from the stressors of daily life, where our highly-skilled, dedicated staff provides individualized care utilizing holistic and evidence-based therapies, such as REBT. Call us at 855.494.0357 to discover how you or your loved one can benefit from REBT.
How Does REBT Work?
So how does REBT work? According to rational emotive behavior therapy (REBT), problems in life occur because of how events or situations are interpreted, not because of the events or situations themselves. To explain this, Albert Ellis, who developed REBT in the 1950s, proposed the ABC Model:
- A: Activating event — an occurrence within the environment
- B: Belief — the belief one has about the activating event
- C: Consequence — the emotional or behavioral response to the belief
Learning to identify these ABCs is the first phase of REBT because it allows you to see how the belief causes the consequence, not the activating event. An essential component of the ABC Model is understanding what Ellis identified as the three irrational “musts:”
- I must do well and have approval from others, or I am no good
- Others must treat me the way I want them to, and if they do not, they are not good and deserve punishment
- I must always get what I want when I want it and never get what I do not want
When these irrational “musts” are not met, the consequences can include anxiety, depression, shame, guilt, anger, aggression, self-pity, procrastination, self-sabotage, and self-defeating behaviors.
The next phase of REBT is disputation, where the therapist actively and directly challenges irrational thinking. According to Ellis, therapists sometimes need to be honest, blunt, and logical and push individuals to question and challenge their irrational beliefs to facilitate positive change.
Changing Behavior by Gaining Insight with REBT
At the core of REBT is learning to change your behavior by gaining insight into irrational beliefs and replacing them with healthier ones. REBT is an active process that can initially lead to greater feelings of discomfort as your core beliefs about yourself and the world around you are challenged.
While an REBT therapist will directly challenge your irrational beliefs, they will also be supportive in fostering your emotional health. Though REBT is not a cure, it provides the tools to get better and stay better by continually recognizing and challenging irrational beliefs, changing irrational “musts,” and replacing these with healthier options.
When you are emotionally healthy, you can accept reality and cope with situations in healthy ways, whether pleasant or unpleasant. Through REBT, you learn three types of acceptance:
- Unconditional self-acceptance – You accept that you have good qualities and flaws, but your shortcomings do not make you “less than.”
- Unconditional other-acceptance – You accept that others will not always treat you the way you want to be treated, but that does not make them inherently bad.
- Unconditional life acceptance – You accept that life is not always going to go the way you want, and unpleasant things will sometimes happen, but life itself is not unbearable.
Through REBT, you learn to respond rationally to events that would typically cause anxiety, depression, anger, or other negative emotions. REBT teaches that it is unrealistic to believe you will be successful in every endeavor or that life will always go your way, but you can learn from each situation and move on.
Learn More About REBT for Mental Health Treatment at Harmony Hills
If you or someone you love is struggling with a mental health disorder, Harmony Hills can help. Our highly-skilled, compassionate treatment team provides high-quality care in a safe, supportive environment. Contact us at 855.494.0357 to learn more about the benefits of REBT for mental health treatment.