“Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy…is a therapeutic approach to reducing undesirable behaviors by identifying and changing the behaviors’ precursors: thoughts and beliefs, and feelings.” (16) It is based on the principle that any person can choose his reaction to a situation. By choosing to not get upset, he can live a happier, more fulfilling life while avoiding anger and anxiety. (21).
Life is filled with disappointment. People are normally unreliable, and tend to let others down on a regular basis. Many negative events happen in life, most of which are beyond the control of the effected party. REBT teaches us that although we do not have control over the negative stimulus, we are empowered with control over our thoughts and beliefs surrounding it (25). If we allow ourselves to get upset every time something goes wrong, then we will waste all of our energy and accomplish little. Once we have changed out thoughts about an experience, our behavioral and emotional responses will also improve. (26).
The basis of REBT are the “Five Rational Questions”
- Is my thinking based on fact?
- Does my thinking help me protect my life and health?
- Does my thinking help me achieve my current and future goals?
- Does my thinking help me prevent unwanted conflict with others?
- Does my thinking help me feel positive about myself…and my world?(24).
A good example of where REBT can be put into practice, and one that is discussed in detail by Nucci in her article, is the process of signing up for classes
in a university
setting. When denied admission to a particular class because it’s full, or because the university
failed to report prerequisites correctly, or for any other reason, many students become enrage
d. REBT says that the student’s response of anger is voluntary
, and that they can choose
to not be upset. Instead of being upset at the administration
, we can be patient
and in the future work to improve the student
"The Rational Teacher: Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy in Teacher Education.", Journal of Rational-Emotive and Cognitive-Behavior Therapy, Volume 20, Issue 1.
Spring 2002, p. 15-32.