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REBT Treatment (Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy)

Do you face a lot of negative emotions such as depression, anger, guilt, and anxiety in your day-to-day life? Are you encountering a lot of stressful or self-defeating behavior like unhealthy eating, aggression, and procrastination? If these are negatively affecting the quality of your life, then you can try out Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy or REBT. 

REBT therapy can help you replace your negative thoughts and actions with positive thoughts and productive actions which can help you maintain better personal and professional relationships. 

In this page, we help you understand several aspects of Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy such as: 

  • What is REBT therapy

  • What you should know about REBT

  • What is the difference between CBT and REBT? 

  • What happens during an REBT therapy session

  • What are the different REBT techniques used? 

  • How REBT techniques can benefit you? 

rational emotive behavior therapy techniques

Too many irrational thoughts can impact your life, causing unhappiness, anxiousness, depression, and so on. ‘Bad things happen to me', 'I mustn't fail' are some examples of irrational thoughts that you may have. Many of us complain about how hard it is to manage stress or anxiety, how difficult it is to maintain the stress-free lifestyle that all programs talk about. We nag about how stress-relieving techniques aren’t working for us. This is where Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy or REBT comes in; this is because REBT techniques can greatly help with dealing with stress.


What is REBT therapy or Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy?  

Rational emotive therapy in psychology is a  technique that aims to help individuals learn about the difference between rational and irrational thoughts that have positive thinking patterns. It is a solution-focused therapy that attempts to resolve cognitive, emotional, and behavioral problems in a person.

Although these irrational thinking patterns may have been evolved over the years and might have stemmed from childhood, REBT does not focus on the past. Rather it works with what is going on for the client right now and aims to help people accept themselves and others as they are, including their imperfections.

Rational emotive behavior therapy focuses on the way the emotions of a person affects his/her actions and thinking. It helps them recognize that the intensity of their negative emotions can change the quality of thinking. Often, the results of this are the loss of perspective and overreaction. The main emphasis of Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy is on learning to restore the emotional balance by thinking in more realistically ways.


What you should know about the rational-emotive theory?

REBT techniques, also known as the ABC step model, have been adapted by Albert Ellis, a renowned psychologist.  These techniques involve 3 steps Here’s a rational emotive therapy example. For instance, A here is the potentially stressful situation, while B is your beliefs, perceptions or thoughts about that stressful situation, and C is consequences that result from your stress. Now let’s take a real-life situation, for example getting stressed from always waiting and sitting in traffic. You have this situation wherein you have to wait for a long time, then your thoughts and perceptions about waiting come in like being late and others negative things, then the potential stress you can get from it arises. This entire process is known as identifying the ABC of your stress, you can now start changing it. 

  • Start with changing your A, which means modifying your environment whether it is your workplace or at home. You don't like waiting and sitting in traffic? Go and leave earlier if you want to avoid it. 

  • If you can't modify your environment, change your B by altering how you perceive them. To properly manage stress, you must always focus on how you could change the way you view things. Think positive. You won't get anywhere if you stuff yourself with negative thoughts that only result in aggravating the stress you are already feeling. 

  • If it’s not possible to modify your situation or thoughts about the situation can't be done, change your C. Learn how to relax and quiet down your mind and body. Meditation and self-affirmation can be the simplest strategy.


What is the difference between CBT and REBT? 

REBT therapy runs on the notion that people wish to live positively. Everyone wants to achieve their ambitions and seek happiness in life but are thwarted by irrational thoughts and negative feelings. Cognitive behavioural therapy or CBT is mostly focused on the distorted cognitions that affect your mental health.  REBT focuses on the presence of secondary disturbances (SD) that can lead to endogenous depression, anxiety, and panic attacks. CBT is not so much concerned with SD.

REBT considers anger to be destructive and teaches effective assertiveness as a means to deal with it. CBT, on the other hand, considers anger to be healthy and teaches assertiveness without diving into the deep-rooted causes of anger.  When it comes to self-esteem, REBT aims to boost it through self-acceptance whereas CBT fails to address the root causes of low self-esteem. 

Thus, in the REBT vs CBT debate, REBT is a comparatively easier concept to understand. 


What happens during an REBT therapy session in the REBT Treatment Plan? 

Individuals have irrational beliefs, say, for instance, "I must get what I want when I want it. And, I must not get what I don’t want. If I don’t get it, I’m miserable."

Having understood the link between beliefs and the subsequent consequences, the REBT therapist works to help the individual recognize that their beliefs are irrational and should be challenged. This is known as disputing. The person may undergo many types of rational emotive behavior therapies to recognize that their thinking is illogical. The person comes to recognize the belief that he or she is miserable is an irrational one. Finally, the person learns to replace their old, irrational beliefs with more realistic ones that enable more appropriate behaviors. As such they have changed the consequence. 'I can be safe on the ladder, I just have to be careful.' allows the person to use a ladder without fear. The individual would engage himself in behaviors that can reinforce him with newer beliefs. Once the technique is learned, the client is able to use it in their life ever onwards. They recognize the impact thoughts have on their subsequent feelings and behaviors.

The process of rational emotive therapy involves a collaboration between the individual and the therapist to change the irrational disputing beliefs. Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy is a cognitive-behavioral process.

What REBT techniques are used? 

There are 3 techniques used in REBT therapy which correlate to the ABCs. Different therapists may use different combinations of therapies to meet their required objectives.

The 3 techniques used are: 

  • Problem-solving techniques: Used to address the source or trigger for the problem or A. The technique can include problem-solving abilities, assertiveness, social skills, decision-making skills, and conflict-resolution skills.

  • Cognitive restructuring techniques: Used to address your irrational thoughts and beliefs or B. These may include logical or rationalizing skills, visual impact through images, reframing or changing your perspective of looking at events, exposure to stressful situations, and contesting irrational beliefs. 

  • Coping techniques: These are used to address the consequences of your thoughts and actions or C and include relaxation, hypnosis, and meditation. 


REBT techniques help the individual with:


  • Learning that unconditional life-acceptance and self-acceptance is important for achieving mental wellness.

  • Learning to identify, dispute, evaluate, and act against self, defeating irrational beliefs not only to feel better but also to get better.

  • Building rational thoughts that lead to goal attainment as well as more inner harmony. 

  • Learning to reduce conflicts with others and how to improve health.

  • Learning and accepting that the main cause of his/her emotional reactions is the beliefs about the event instead of the event itself.

  • Reaching to events and situations in more realistic ways 

  • Learning how not to react to their irrational thoughts

  • Realizing that at times, a person can’t control his/her life but can control how they react to the situations.

According to a research study, rational therapy has shown positive effects on many people and is known to be a validated method in changing an individual’s negative responses leading to a happier life.

If you feel that stress, anxiety, or any other emotional issues are hampering your daily life activities, then it’s good to get to know how Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy can be beneficial for you to manage stress the right way.