Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy’s (REBT) central premise is that events alone do not cause a person to feel depressed, enraged, or highly anxious. Rather, it is one’s beliefs about the events which contributes to unhealthy feelings and self defeating behaviors.
Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy teaches the client to identify, evaluate, dispute, and act against his or her irrational self- defeating beliefs, thus helping the client to not only feel better but to get better.
Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy is an active-directive, solution-oriented therapy which focuses on resolving emotional, cognitive and behavioral problems in clients. Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy is one of the first forms of Cognitive Behavior Therapy and was first expounded by Ellis in 1953. Fundamental to Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy ) is the concept that emotional suffering results primarily, though not completely, from our evaluations of a negative event, not solely by the events themselves. In other words, human beings on the basis of their belief system actively, though not always consciously, disturb themselves, and even disturb themselves about their disturbances.
The Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy framework assumes that humans have both rational and irrational tendencies. Irrational thought/images prevent goal attainment, lead to inner conflict, lead to more conflict with others and poor mental health. Rational thought/images lead to goal attainment and more inner harmony. In other words rational beliefs reduce conflicts with others and improved health.
REBT claims that irrational and self-defeating thinking, emoting and behaving are correlated with emotional difficulties such as self-blame, jealousy, guilt, Low Frustration Tolerance, depression, and anxiety. This is a view shared with some other well-known therapies, such as Re-evaluation Counseling and Person-centred counseling – as these both arose in the mid-50s, Ellis is thought to have had an influence on them. REBT is an educational and active-directive process in which the therapist teaches the client how to identify irrational and self-defeating tendencies which in nature are unrealistic, illogical and absolutist, and then to forcefully and emotionally dispute them, and replace them with more rational and self-helping ones. By using different methods and activities, the client, together with help from the therapist and in homework exercises, can gain a more rational, logical and constructive rational way of thinking, emoting and behaving.
One of main objectives in Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy is to show the client that whenever unpleasant activating events occur in people’s lives, they have a choice of making themselves feel healthily and self-helpingly sorry, disappointed, frustrated, and annoyed, or making themselves feel unhealthily and self-defeatingly horrified, terrified, panicked, depressed, self-hating, and self-pitying.