Rational emotive behavior therapy (REBT) is an evidence-based therapy which aims to resolve emotional and behavioral disturbances and help people to lead happier, more abundant lives.
The History of REBT
In the 1950s, Albert Ellis was working with patients as a trained clinical psychologist. Using traditional psychoanalytic approaches to discover the underlying causes of problematic behaviors in his patients, Ellis became aware of a problem in his treatment. Though patients were gaining considerable insight into the root of their problematic behaviors, these behaviors weren’t necessarily changing as a result. Simply becoming aware of a cause, Ellis found, was not enough to cause change. Moreover, Ellis decided that the root causes of behaviors may not be the answer to changing the behaviors.
Instead of finding an origin point for problematic behavior, Ellis worked with a framework like cognitive behavioral therapy to determine the thinking, as well as the beliefs, associated with behaviors. Once patients could find the negative beliefs and thought patterns associated with negative behaviors, they could change those thoughts, change those beliefs, and as a result, change those behaviors. Thus, Rational Emotive Behavioral Therapy (REBT) was created.
It’s An Inside Job
Ellis realized that traditional psychoanalysis was leading patients to find external answers for their internal experiences. As a whole, Ellis came to understand that people largely believe their internal happiness is completely dependent upon external events. Though external events in our lives may not be happy, Ellis found that the way we perceive the events of our lives and the beliefs we hold onto in response to those events are what truly impact our ability to be happy.
The beliefs and thoughts we hold onto about negative external events tend to be negative as a result. Since we are mostly convinced external events dictate our internal environment, we aren’t aware of how negative our thoughts and beliefs might be, or that our internal negativity is contributing to negative behaviors, let alone that we can be in greater control of ourselves. Once we can challenge ourselves to examine and replace our negative thoughts with positive thoughts, we can change the way we accept life, ourselves, and others.
Easy As ABC
Rational Emotive Behavioral Therapy follows the ABC Model created by Ellis to help identify and understand negative thought processes.
- A) Activating Event: An event that takes place in our external environment
- B) Beliefs: We create a belief about the event which has taken place
- C) Consequence: In consequence of the beliefs we have created, we start having emotional responses to those beliefs.
Change Your Thoughts, Change Your Life
After looking at the ABC’s of our negative thinking, we can start to change the way we think, what we believe about the world, and how we respond emotionally to life. Changing our thoughts, we change our lives entirely, finding greater happiness, satisfaction, and peace.
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