REBT Is the Deepest Counseling Theory

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REBT Is Deeper than CBT, CT, & Other Theories

  • Garden will teach you an easy and effective system of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT & REBT).

REBT practitioners are encouraged to read Not.

  • To oversimplify, Not will help you target “musturbatory” thinking (a.k.a. demandingness) more effectively by targeting “must not” instead of any and every strong “must.”

“REBT is a conscious practice of moving clients to achieve greater unconditional self-acceptance (USA), unconditional other-acceptance (UOA), and unconditional life-acceptance (ULA) which makes it deeper and more effective than other therapies.” —Kevin Everett FitzMaurice


“Your parents, friends, and culture often encouraged you to damn yourself, others, and the world. In spite of your biology, your family, and your culture you don’t need to stupidly disturb yourself.” —Albert Ellis


  • Read for diagrams and maps of how people play games with your mind and heart.

REBT Is Deeper for 7 Philosophical Reasons:

“To help people achieve the three basic REBT philosophies of unconditional self-acceptance, unconditional other-acceptance, and unconditional life-acceptance, cognitive, emotional, and behavioral methods, which are described in this monograph, are used.” ―Albert Ellis, Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy

“It’s in our biological and learned nature for people to fall back to their dysfunctional beliefs all their lives and not to be completely rational or functional.” —Albert Ellis, All Out!, p. 549


List of 7 of 10 Reasons

  1. REBT works with underlying identity issues by continually teaching USA, unconditional self-acceptance.
  2. REBT works with underlying relationship issues by continually teaching UOA, unconditional other-acceptance.
  3. REBT works with underlying existential issues by continually teaching ULA, unconditional life-acceptance.
  4. REBT works to recognize and remove the models common to all self-disturbing and self-defeating thinking by emphasizing the nature of thinking over the content of thinking.
  5. REBT has always taught counselors to focus on metacognitions, which are thoughts that direct or interpret other thoughts. REBT does this by first focusing on the client’s problem about their problem (for example, their anxiety about their anxiety).
  6. REBT has a theory of human motivation that accounts for the existence of human problems. (See the article “The Biological Basis of Human Irrationality” in the Journal Individual Psychology, vol. 32, pp. 145-168, 1976. Reprints are available from the Albert Ellis Institute: www.albertellisinstitute.org.)
  7. REBT is a true depth psychology as opposed to a simplistic behavioral psychology, because REBT works like Eastern psychology to uproot the human ego as opposed to fake depth psychologies, such as one of the psychodynamic therapies, which only work for ego adjustment and adaptation.
  • (See the article “RET Abolishes Most of the Human Ego.” Psychotherapy: Theory, Research and Practice. 13:4, 343-348. 1976. Reprints are available from the Albert Ellis Institute: www.albertellisinstitute.org.)

REBT Is Deeper for 2 Practice Reasons

Requires an understanding of REBT’s ABCs of Emotions.

Reasons 8 & 9
  • This section requires an understanding of REBT’s ABCs of Emotions. It is important to emphasize one of the major differences between REBT and other cognitive therapies such as CT and CBT: CT and CBT typically dispute the B about the A, trying to lessen the emotional upset by lessening the distorted view of the event A.
  • REBT, as Albert Ellis often put it, disputes the B about the A more elegantly, trying to lessen the emotional upset by lessening the inflexible and extreme negative nature of B.
  • In fact, REBT may not only accept the distorted view of A at first but often actually exaggerates the distortion of A to absurdity, to teach the point that, even if A is a real pain, B does not have to be an additional pain source. (Or, as FitzMaurice tells his clients, “Why double your trouble? Isn’t it already bad enough that you have a painful A? Why give yourself a painful B to go along with it?!”)
  • Once the self-defeating effect of B is sufficiently reduced, REBT will also concern itself with removing distortions of A at B, and even problem-solving A. Ellis characterized this as the “elegant solution” of REBT.

1. (8) Here is an important point that is lost even on some of the trainers from the NYC Institute. REBT works mostly on the nature of B, rather than on the mere content of B (which is what CT and CBT do).

  • This focus on the nature of B leads to greater generalization or application of therapeutic gains, including insight, awareness, feeling, and behavioral change.

Focusing on Content vs. Focusing on Composition

  • In CT—you focus on the content of the B rather than on the nature of the B, then you must approach each B individually.
  • Disputing one particular B only teaches you how to dispute similar Bs.
  • However, if—as in REBT—you focus on the nature of the B, then you can approach any B with the same fundamental tests for rationality, helpfulness, logic, and reality.

Rationality

  • Tests for rationality (such as flexibility versus rigidness and acceptance versus demandingness) can be applied generally.
  • The tests developed in CT are less efficient, effective, and forceful because they target the side effects rather than the goals of thinking.

ABC Example Scenario

A = client receives a compliment.

B = client discounts and denies the compliment.

A + B = C

C = client feels unworthy and unappreciated.


CT Focus

  • CT might focus on the content of B as the client’s use of the thinking error of minimizing.
  • CT would then help the client to see how minimizing and discounting compliments keeps them stuck feeling unworthy and unappreciated.
  • This focus can be a valuable and helpful learning for the client who now has the opportunity to learn to use minimization less—at least when receiving compliments.

REBT Focus

  • REBT might focus on the nature of the B as an example of the use of the irrational thinking of absolutism, extremism, or rigidness.
  • REBT would then help the client to see how their use of rigid thinking with problems, issues, and relationships in their life leads to manifold problems, such as intolerance, misunderstandings, rejection, and unnecessary conflicts.
  • Now the client has a general understanding of how a rigid attitude and approach to life is interfering with their life goals, health, and happiness.
  • The client now has the opportunity to make a philosophical change to practice more flexibility, openness, and tolerance in their life for a generally improved life.

2. (9) REBT’s approach is a deeper approach because it teaches clients first to stop disturbing themselves rather than first to try to get the world to stop disturbing them.

  • Once clients are less disturbed, they are naturally then better able to realistically and practically work at making their world a more convenient, friendly, and nurturing place.

REBT Is Also Deeper Because of its Emotional Realism

10th Reason

  • REBT recognizes that some emotions are helpful, and some are hurtful.
  • For instance, REBT sees extreme negative emotions (such as depression and anxiety) as hurtful, but REBT also sees mild to moderate negative emotions (such as mild regret or concern as helpful).
  • Other counseling theories often make the foolish and unrealistic claim that all emotions are okay despite the fact that some emotions lead to violence and abuse, while some other emotions lead to peace and compassion.
  • While most therapies work to help clients overcome and move beyond certain types of feelings, only REBT is honest and straightforward enough to list feelings as healthy or unhealthy.

Fake Confirmation of Feelings

  • Most therapies say that all feelings are acceptable, but then they hypocritically try to help you get past ones that you or they find disturbing.
  • It is REBT’s view that some feelings indicate that you are overreacting due to your irrational thinking.
  • Hence, REBT clearly lists what feelings it theorizes are self-defeating and suggests alternative feelings.

Feelings Vary

  • REBT neither implies nor wishes that you have fewer feelings.
  • REBT neither implies nor claims that you can have only positive feelings.
  • However, REBT does promote the belief that many feelings are extreme, exaggerated, or unhealthy responses that tend to make matters worse, not better.
  • You can often modify feelings to make them healthy instead of unhealthy by adding “a little,” “somewhat,” or “mildly” before them.

“REBT’s Insight No. 1 holds that you have both healthy and unhealthy emotions.” ―Albert Ellis, How To Stubbornly Refuse To Make Yourself Miserable About Anything–Yes, Anything!


REBT Is the Deepest Therapy: 10 Reasons


  • REBT, Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy, is a deeper form of psychotherapy than either of its main look-alikes: Cognitive Therapy (CT) and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT).

Table Version of 10 Reasons REBT Is Superior

  • Click for a list of pages on CBT & REBT.

10 Reason REBT Best Therapy

 REBT IS INTEGRATIVE, NOT ECLECTIC

  • Eclectic means you can do whatever whenever. It means that you have an excuse not to master one theory and to dabble in many counseling theories.
  • It also means that you do not have a rudder, a guide, or a goal to focus your therapy efforts on.
  • Integrative means you must master one theory and then bring in other counseling theories to support that theory as you develop your style and skills as a counselor.
  • You always have a rudder, a guide, or a goal to focus your therapy efforts on when you get lost or unsure of which turn to take.
  • REBT is itself integrative, not electric.
  • REBT is based on Stoicism (emotional responsibility), General Semantics (physical realities over verbal realities), Humanistic principles (unconditional acceptance of self and others), Existential principles (unconditional acceptance of life), and Eastern psychology principles (ego and self-esteem reduction towards elimination and detachment from your mental flow).
  • REBT’s lists of irrational beliefs can be easily reworded into scripts such as those proposed by Transactional Analysis based on ideas from Adlerian psychology.
  • For examples of such scripts, visit this page.
  •  Ellis repeatedly gave credit to Stoicism and General Semantics, as well as to other sources, for his development of REBT.

Directly Related Quotations

“A mature person is one who does not think only in absolutes, who is able to be objective even when deeply stirred emotionally, who has learned that there is both good and bad in all people and in all things.” —Eleanor Roosevelt

“Happiness does not depend on outward things, but on the way we see them.” —Leo Tolstoy

“The character of a person is determined by how they respond internally regardless of external forces.” —Kevin Everett FitzMaurice

“The truth is what is. And what should be is a fantasy—a terrible fantasy.” —Lenny Bruce