Example of essay on rational emotive behavior

Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT) is a form of psychotherapy created by Albert Ellis. According to Ellis, the theory helps the clients to accept the irrational and change it to rational. The key theorists are:
i. Albert Ellis
ii. Watson and Rayner – the little Albert experiment
iii. Ivan Pavlov – the Classical conditioning. This was later expanded by Arnold Lazarus
iv. B. F. Skinner – operant conditioning
v. Albert Bandura – social cognitive theory or social learning theory
vi. Joseph Wolpe – approach to the understanding and treatment of anxiety

The Appropriate Populations for the Theory – This theory is appropriate and beneficial for people suffering from depression, anxiety, self-blame, addiction and avoidance.
Inappropriate Populations for the Theory – The theory is inappropriate for those with maladaptive behaviors and disturbed mood or emotions which leads to irrational thinking patterns, also called automatic thoughts. Instead of reacting to the reality of a situation, such individuals react to their own distorted viewpoint of the situation.
The therapist’s role is to actively engage the clients and make them aware of these distorted thinking patterns, or cognitive distortions, and change them (a process termed cognitive restructuring). The therapist actively encourages the client.

The Client is to collaborate with the counselor and complete the homework assignments.

The theory strength is that, the clients learn that they choose their own responses to life circumstances (Ellis, 2001).
This theory is however limited to individual of low functioning, who are not able to accept their irrationals. Besides, it cannot be used with the 12 step theory because of the holistic approach of the 12 steps.

Key Terms

i. The Evolution of behavioral
ii. Association
iii. Behavior Analysis International (ABAI)
iv. Cognitive behavioral
v. Synchronous
vi. Empirical disputing
vii. Classical conditioning and Systematic desensitization
viii. Operant conditioning theory
ix. Reinforcement
x. Successful practice

Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT) theory is empirical based. However, it has not been extensively evaluated in controlled studies. Nonetheless there is a body of knowledge supporting its efficacy and effectiveness, including cost-effectiveness.
Special training requirements – A person must be thoroughly competent, adequate, and successful in all respects. Certain people are bad, wicked, or villainous and should be punished for their sins. It is catastrophic when things are not going the way one would like.


Behavior therapy encompasses classical conditioning and operant condition. Its credibility is based on various research and field approaches.
Originally, the theory was meant for overt (observable) behaviors; however, behaviorism now incorporates social and cognitive processes that take place within the individual but cannot be directly observed. Classical conditioning (originally described by Pavlov and later expanded to therapeutic contexts by Arnold Lazarus), operant conditioning (as described by B. F. Skinner), and social cognitive theory or social learning theory (as articulated by Albert Bandura), all guide the developments in behavior therapy.

The Key Theorists are similar to those of the REBT.

This theory is inappropriate for individuals who are resilient to BT. An important point for the therapy is that the individual should be able to put mind over matter. A resistant client will never be able to do that.

Therapist’s Role

The counselor is a model for the client and takes the role of a consultant. He/she teaches the client the skills necessary for behavior therapy.
The client contributes actively to the BT assessment and goal setting and completes his/her homework faithfully. The client is a learner of the knowledge presented by the teacher/counselor.

Theory Strengths

BT is present in cognitive-behavioral, depression, obsession and compulsion. Various literature and experimental situation (Lambert & Ogles, 2004; Wampold, 2001; Shapiro and Shapiro 1982; Berman et al., 1985; Miller & Berman, 1983; Robinson, et al., 1990) depict the strengths of the theory.

Theory Limitations

Apparently, BT ignores the role of interpersonal relationships in the generation and maintenance of psychological dysfunction (Marshall & Gauthier, 1983).