Home » Counselor Intern » LCDC Exam 2014 » Rational-Emotive Behavior Therapy – Albert Ellis

Rational-Emotive Behavior Therapy – Albert Ellis

(ii.) Focus of rational emotive behavioral therapy. The here and now.

(iii.) View of human nature. Rational emotive therapy is based on the belief that people are born with the potential for rational or irrational thoughts. People learn irrational beliefs from significant others as children. Since these thoughts are learned, people have the power to change their thoughts and their behavior, as irrational thoughts can lead to self-destructive behavior.

(iv.) Goal of rational emotive behavior therapy. To assist clients to confront faulty or irrational beliefs with evidence they gather that contradicts those beliefs, and to assist clients to become aware of their automatic thought processes and to learn to change them.

(v.) Core beliefs that cause disturbances:

• It is necessary to be loved by all.
• One should be thoroughly competent.
• Things are awful if they are not exactly the way I want them to be.
• I must have approval from all significant people in my life.
• It’s easier to avoid dealing with life’s difficulties than to strive for more rewarding endeavors.

(vi.) Some of the results of irrational beliefs are:
• Self criticism
• Isolation
• Self abuse
• Avoiding relationships
• Never striving to reach potential
• Drug use, etc.

(vii.) Techniques of rational emotive behavioral therapy. Using a variety of cognitive, emotive, and behavioral methods, particularly the A-B-C approach, to help clients challenge and minimize their irrational beliefs, so that they are able to change.

(viii.)The A-B-C approach.

• Activating event (something occurs)
• The individual’s belief about the event (if the person is thinking irrationally, his/her view is often distorted)
• Emotional and behavioral consequence of the belief, often a painful consequence

(ix.) Example.
• Client calls his mom on the phone. His mom says, “I have to go; I’ll talk to you later.” She quickly hangs up the phone. (Activating event)
• (Client’s irrational belief) “I am unlovable; my own mom hates me.”
• (Emotional consequence of the belief) The client goes to a tavern and gets drunk.

(x.) The therapist helps clients change irrational beliefs, using the following:

• Disputing and challenging irrational beliefs. The following are
methods of challenging irrational beliefs:
− Detecting irrational beliefs (Clients are helped to see that words
such as “ought,” “should,” “must,” “always,” or “never” lead to
irrational beliefs.)
− Clients are helped to dispute irrational beliefs by paying attention
to the exception to the rule. (Client statement: “I am stupid.”
Therapist: “When is that not true?”)
− To argue themselves out of the belief.
− To search for evidence that the belief is not true.
− Homework. Give clients assignment to check on assumptions.
(“Instead of assuming that your mother hates you, ask why she
did not stay on the phone long.”)

• The client arrives at an effective philosophy, which is rational. The
new philosophy replaces irrational thoughts with rational thoughts.
(xi.) Other therapist techniques.
• Help client stop thinking irrationally.
• Help client eliminate self-defeating habits and behavior.
• Help client accept self and others (Corey, 2005).
(xii.) Addiction counseling and rational emotive behavioral therapy. Addicted
clients have many irrational beliefs, which contribute to their continued
drug use, such as the following:
• “I am a terrible person.”
• “I am unlovable.”
• “I mess up everything.”
• “I am a loser.”
The self-help community calls these thoughts “stinkin’ thinkin’.”
Counselors often help clients recover by helping them challenge these


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