Rational Emotional Behavioural Therapy (REBT) looks at the person as a whole rather than as a symptom and teaches a model that can be successfully applied to a wide range of different emotional issues. It offers a therapeutic structure which helps the client to achieve long lasting emotional and behavioural change, a universal model they can continue to apply to all areas of their lives which they may find challenging. REBT is humanistic. It focuses on each person’s potential and stresses the importance of personal growth and exercise of free will. It looks at the person as a whole and the uniqueness of each individual.
REBT is existential because it looks at the person not merely as the thinking subject but the acting, feeling living human being. It does not moralise but rather helps the client to pursue their enlightened interests and goals. It acknowledges human suffering and choice for each individual. So it helps clients to face up to their situations, accept fallibility and be honest about their experiences.
In essence, REBT is an acceptance based CBT model. Acceptance means acknowledgement of the client’s experience. The experience can be past, present, future, internal or external and/or real or imaginary. This means clients are helped to accept the past, present and future possibilities. Whatever the experience, REBT helps the client to acknowledge and not to avoid or re-frame their experience. This helps the client to get better in the long term.
Not only do clients learn empirical or evidence based thinking, they also learn logical or philosophical and pragmatic thinking. There is also considerable evidence to demonstrate REBT’s efficacy and/or effectiveness in dealing with a range of psychological problems.
REBT is an action – oriented approach to managing cognitive, emotional, and behavioral disturbances. It is largely our thinking about events that leads to emotional and behavioral upset. It is a short- to medium – term treatment, and is focused on the achievement of specific goals, as defined and agreed between the therapist and client. This treatment focuses on specific changes to beliefs and behaviour. REBT assumes that most individuals strive to be happy in their lives but when obstacles prevent them achieving this, individuals either respond healthily or unhealthily. Furthermore, events themselves do not create distress but the individual’s response to the event. For example, when something happens, a person may respond with an irrational belief, such as “no-one likes me”. It is the irrational beliefs that influence a person’s emotional reaction which in turn creates distress. REBT seeks to challenge the irrational beliefs and develop more rational beliefs, to help develop healthier responses to events, thereby reducing psychological distress. REBT will focus on helping you develop inner skills and resources to be able to challenge your own rational beliefs and choose more adaptive coping responses.
REBT is led by both the therapist and you at different times throughout the treatment and may therefore suit a wide range of individual personalities and preferences.
REBT is used to treat anxiety disorders, panic disorders, depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), specific phobias and many other areas where people get stuck and need support.