REBT is an effective method for treating psychological problems, issues and conditions (made famous by the work of Dr Albert Ellis).
The theory behind REBT is: How you think and what you believe will affect how you feel and behave.
What many people do not realise is that most of our thoughts and beliefs reflect the culture and society we live in, our religious background, and our upbringing. Sometimes people develop, owing to early childhood experiences and learning, nonsense or 'irrational' beliefs. Three of the most common of many irrational beliefs are:
(i) we must do perfectly well and be loved by significant others,
(ii) other people must treat us kindly, and
(iii) conditions must be the way we want them to be.
When we face situations which go against these three beliefs, we have a tendency to become depressed, anxious, obsessive compulsive, and we think life or people are horrible, terrible, etc.
Many of us have picked up beliefs and attitudes when we were very young and such early acquired beliefs and attitudes tend to be hard to erase and are long-lasting. Many of us, for example, do not know why we bite our fingernails, twist our hair, react anxiously when there are minor changes in our lives, or overeat when we are faced with distressing situations. As adults we are in a position to change these early learning experiences which are not helpful to our daily living.
REBT explains why two people will often react differently to a similar situation. For example, one person who is rejected for a job may be sad, disappointed, frustrated, but soon after will apply for another job. Another person who is rejected for a job will become depressed, anxious and probably not apply for another job. Thus the first person feels and behaves in a way that is healthy and useful, which is called 'rational', whereas the second person feels and behaves in a way that is unhealthy and will stop them from living appropriately, which is called 'irrational'.
So why does one person behave in a rational way, and the other in an irrational way? Well, REBT practitioners believe that a person can choose how they feel and behave. Whenever a person is faced with a problem or difficult situation, their thoughts and beliefs will come into play, to determine their feelings and responses.
When you become aware that your thoughts and beliefs are irrational or illogical or simply nonsense, and you realise that you can change them, then you will be able handle difficult situations in a more healthy and practical way.
What are the aims of REBT?
The aims of REBT are:
1. To help you to become aware of negative, irrational thoughts and beliefs, which lead to unhealthy, destructive feelings and behaviours
2. To explore with you rational, emotive and behavioural skills which help you learn to deal with difficult situations/issues in a constructive, useful and healthy way
Who provides this type of therapy?
Generally psychologists who come from a cognitive-behavioural background.
What are the benefits of REBT?
REBT is an approach that can be used to find solutions to most problems or issues in a realistic way
It teaches skills that you will be able to use for the rest of your life
You will see results very quickly
Even though you cannot control all that happens in life, you can choose how to deal with difficult situations
Will this require long-term, on-going therapy?
No. REBT is usually short-term. However, the more complex the issues are, and the longer you have had them for, the longer the therapy will continue. The number of sessions will vary with each person.
What does REBT have that makes it different and more effective than other forms of psychotherapy?
There are set homework tasks to ensure that people practise the skills they have learnt during the sessions
Studies have shown it to be one of the most effective approaches for dealing with psychological problems/issues
Most clients report that, after REBT sessions, they are better able to self manage difficult situations and problems
Under this therapy, clients are less likely to need long-term psychological counselling for a particular problem/issue
In REBT, clients move from a dependence on others' evaluations of them to learning to always accept themselves as highly valued persons, although they may need to change their thoughts, feelings and behaviours from time to time to continue to live effectively.
The factual information on REBT was compiled by: Remenyi and Associates Pty Ltd Occupational Rehab & Psychology Assoc.
If you would like more information on psychologists that practice REBT in your area, please contact Lou