Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy
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Change your Thoughts, Change your Life: Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy

Our thoughts influence how we react to our surroundings. Our thoughts lead to behaviors, and behaviors can change which situations we face.

Has anyone ever accused you of acting irrationally over something trivial? Have you ever caught yourself thinking something you would never actually do in real life? Sometimes, our thoughts can take over our lives in ways we can’t comprehend.

If you think your thoughts could use an upgrade, read on as we discuss Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy.

If you’re interested to learn more about REBT, BetterHelp has hundreds of licensed therapists who specialize in REBT and many other therapies.  To learn more about REBT, visit the link below: https://www.betterhelp.com/advice/therapy/how-rational-emotive-behavior-therapy-can-help-you/.

What is Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy?

Rational Emotive Behavior is a type of therapy that focuses on a person’s thoughts and behaviors. REBT looks at a person’s present behaviors in stressful situations and teaches patients better ways to handle these stressors.

Therapists take a directive stance and challenge how patients think and see whether their beliefs are irrational and not self-serving. They then take these rigid beliefs and help shape them into more rational, flexible belief systems that will better serve patients.

While many types of talk therapies go to the root of thoughts, REBT sticks to the present and focuses on pragmatic approaches to managing our thoughts and behaviors.

Aspects of Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy

REBT believes in certain principles that distinguish it from other therapies.

Directive Therapy

Directive therapy means that therapists provide strict direction when challenging a patient’s behaviors and thoughts. Patients are expected to follow their therapists’ advice and complete homework to practice and bring back the next session.

This therapy is different from other treatments that give more control to the patient. For example, transpersonal therapy doesn’t assume the therapist has all the answers and allows patients to find their solutions. REBT assumes that the therapist provides the most sensible advice to their problems.

ABC Model

REBT follows the ABC Model, which stands for Activating Event, Belief, and Consequence. This model shows the relationship and progression of an idea and how it can evolve into symptoms or consequences in people’s lives.

An activating event is any external stressor in which we need to process. This stressor could be anything from meeting someone for the first time, dealing with a bossy co-worker, receiving advances from a stranger, or getting into an argument with your partner. The event’s central aspect is that it calls to question your belief system.

The belief system is how we interpret this event. Sometimes, this interpretation may be erroneous and cause us to have irrational templates for similar situations without seeing the big picture. Once an event is interpreted in our minds by our beliefs, the results are consequences like anxiety, depression, guilt, or self-loathing.

These emotional consequences lead us to behave in specific ways that may perpetuate these negative emotions when future events arise.

Once patients can understand how their thoughts lead to consequences, therapists teach patients new rational ideas and let them practice these new beliefs on their own.


Another key factor of REBT is that it believes that acceptance of self is equally, if not more, important as acceptance from others.

With many therapies, patients follow treatment standards under the assumption that successful treatment will lead to having acceptable behaviors in society.

REBT questions this reliance on social acceptance and pivots to highlight self-acceptance as its goal. REBT gives patients insight into how they think and act. It also teaches them not to judge themselves for these thoughts and behaviors.

Is REBT effective?

It depends on the patient’s preference. REBT takes a stronger, more blunt stance. It’s a pragmatic type of therapy that assumes the therapist knows best. This uncompromising approach may be a breath of fresh air to some patients who dislike a less directive approach.

Others may not like its directiveness and may feel defensive when confronted. They may not like being told what to do and prefer arriving at a solution in tandem with their therapist.

Final Thoughts

REBT has changed many lives by exposing irrational thoughts and beliefs and pushing patients to analyze how they think.

This awareness can be a powerful tool for understanding themselves and why they feel the way they do. If you believe REBT would be a good fit, reach out to a licensed therapist today.

Written by Marie Miguel

Marie Miguel has been a writing and research expert for nearly a decade, covering a variety of health- related topics. Currently, she is contributing to the expansion and growth of a free online mental health resource with BetterHelp.com. With an interest and dedication to addressing stigmas associated with mental health, she continues to specifically target subjects related to anxiety and depression.


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