Simcoe Addiction and Mental Health

Rational-Emotive Behavioural Therapy (REBT)

Rational-emotive behavioural therapy is a type of cognitive-behavioural therapy suitable for mental health conditions and addictive behaviours. It is grounded in the idea that we want to ‘do well’ in our lives, in whichever way we define ‘doing well’. It recognizes that we have natural irrational thoughts and feelings as humans, that sometimes might get in the way of doing well and achieving our goals. These beliefs can negatively impact how we feel about life events, ourselves, and our current circumstances, which in turn influences our behaviour and decisions.

REBT aims to help clients overcome irrational thoughts and perceptions to manage their emotions in a realistic and healthy way, no matter how close or far they are from ‘doing well’. It is an action-oriented type of therapy where the counsellor acts as a teacher and guide.

REBT demonstrates how our behaviours, cognition and emotions are interconnected. If clients want to understand their irrational emotional and psychological responses to situations and the negative impacts they may have had, it’s important to also include the irrational aspects of their belief system in this. Because REBT is a type of cognitive behavioural therapy, the overarching goal is to help clients recognize negative views and thinking patterns so they can overcome mental distress and any resulting psychological problems.

Techniques Involved in REBT

The ABC model of disturbance is at the core of this type of therapy. This model helps explain how people may irrationally blame external events for their unhappiness, which can often be subconscious. It seeks to show clients how their psychological distress lies in the interpretation of the same events.

Here’s how it works:

“A” stands for an activating event. This is the name given to something that happens in the world around you that causes your initial distress.

“B” stands for your beliefs. This describes your beliefs and thoughts about the situation or event. Negative beliefs that led to distress are uncovered.

“C” is for consequence. This covers your emotional responses and is closely linked to your belief system. The client learns different beliefs about the activating event and has a healthier emotional response to it.

The goal of REBT is about being able to apply this model to an individual’s life.

Beliefs Targeted

It sounds simple, but the process of REBT entails some important building blocks, and identifying irrational thoughts is one of the biggest hurdles that many clients face. A common irrational belief is believing that you need to be perfect to be considered valuable and worthwhile. Another common but irrational belief is that your happiness is beyond your control and that your joy depends on outside external forces.

An important part of the process is swapping out irrational beliefs for healthier ones. REBT aims to help people respond in a rational manner to situations that otherwise would contribute to poorer mental health.

If you would like to talk to one of the professionals at Simcoe Addiction and Mental Health about whether Motivational Interviewing (MI) is right for you or your loved one, please email us at info@simcoerehab.ca or call us at 1-833-304-8181.

Interested in learning about other treatment methods? Continue to our Treatment Methods page.

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