RE-CBT is a philosophical and empirically based therapy. It was originally developed by Dr. Albert Ellis in 1955, and was the first Cognitive Behavior Therapy. Dr. Ellis based his approach on the philosophy of the Ancient Greek philosopher, Epictetus, who wrote: “people are not disturbed by things, but by the view that they take of them”.
I practice Rational Emotive – Cognitive Behavior Therapy (RE-CBT) because it is flexible, effective, and person-centered. It helps clients develop a philosophy and lifestyle that promotes healthy thinking, emotions, behaviors, and relationships. It also stresses unconditional acceptance of self, others, and the world. RE-CBT does not just attempt to resolve one specific problem, because problems in life are pervasive and inescapable, but strives to alleviate disturbed thinking and emotions when problems indubitably do occur. This allows a person to go through life, which is complex and always in flux, with a calm and rational approach that is less upsetting and more adaptive.
Many emotional problems are in fact rooted in practical problems, and may have a clear precipitating event. However, the unhealthy negative emotions and behaviors often accompanying these problems are, at least to some degree, created and maintained by a person’s own interpretations and evaluations of them. RE-CBT provides a flexible model that helps clients systematically unpack their internal dialogue about adverse events or relationship situations. Clients learn to recognize and define their automatic assumptions, inferences and conclusions about specific troubling events (or thoughts and emotions). Then, clients practice challenging and replacing irrational interpretations or meanings that have been applied to them. This process allows clients over time to restructure their unhealthy core beliefs and maladaptive personal scripts from which they sift and channel their experiences (consciously and unconsciously) and construe events.
RE-CBT therapists are committed to helping clients unconditionally accept themselves, others, and the world. Unconditional acceptance is a key ingredient to emotional wellbeing and progress in therapy. RE-CBT philosophy posits that all humans are incurably fallible; prone to mistakes, misperceptions, and poor behavior under certain circumstances. These shortcomings make up only a small part of who we are in totality, and are not attached to our human worth and value. For that reason, it is illogical and unhelpful to globally rate or depreciate ourselves (or others) based on a few known aspects of an incalculable human being. At the same time, therapists encourage clients to recognize and change habits and behaviors – especially in relationships – that are unhealthy or block their life-goals.
The work of therapy is typically active-directive and collaborative. It is meant to be brief, when possible, and therapist and client usually begin working together for positive change during the first sessions. RE-CBT helps clients get on with their life (get unstuck) with flexibility, serenity, and effectiveness. It’s aim is for clients to live a happier and more fulfilling life.