Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy - Essay

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A Brief Introduction To

Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy
By Wayne Froggatt
Third Ed.(this version Feb 2005)

Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy (REBT) is based on the concept that emotions and behaviours result from cognitive processes; and that it is possible for human beings to modify such processes to achieve different ways of feeling and behaving. REBT is one of a number of therapies that come under the heading ‘cognitive-behavioural’.

In the mid-1950’s Dr. Albert Ellis, a clinical psychologist trained in psychoanalysis, became disillusioned with the slow progress of his clients. He observed that they tended to get better when they changed their ways of thinking about themselves, their problems, and the world. Ellis reasoned that
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It contains illogical ways of evaluating oneself, others, and the world: demandingness, awfulising, discomfort-intolerance and people-rating; When talking with clients, we often refer to beliefs as ‘self-defeating’ rather than ‘irrational’, to emphasise that the main reason for replacing a belief is because it negatively affects their lives.

Two Types of Disturbance
REBT suggests that human beings defeat or ‘disturb’ themselves in two main ways: (1) by holding irrational beliefs about their ‘self’ (ego disturbance) or (2) by holding irrational beliefs about their emotional or physical comfort (discomfort disturbance). Frequently, the two go together – people may think irrationally about both their ‘selves’ and their circumstances – though one or the other will usually be predominant. Ego disturbance represents an upset to the self-image. It results from holding demands about one’s ‘self’, e.g. ‘I must … do well / not fail / get approval from others’; followed by negative selfevaluations such as: ‘When I fail / get disapproval / etc. this proves I am no good’ and so on. These beliefs create ‘ego anxiety’ – emotional tension resulting from the perception that one’s ‘self’ or personal worth is threatened – and lead to other problems such as avoidance of situations where failure, disapproval, etc. might occur; looking to other people for acceptance; and
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