Rational-emotive behaviour therapy

Evaluation of the two psychotherapeutic approaches: Rational - Emotive Therapy and Client- Centred Therapy.

This paper examines two of the psychotherapeutic approaches: Rational - Emotive Behaviour Therapy (REBT) (Cognitive- Behaviour approach), and Client-Centred Therapy (CCT) (Humanistic approach). Both will be critically evaluated in terms of research, theoretical perspectives, and other forms of suggestions published by psychologists (counsellors)/therapists within this field.

Psychotherapy is defined as a type of treatment offered by psychologists (counsellors)/therapists in dealing with psychological, emotional or behavioural problems by psychological means, rather than by drugs or surgery. If relation to these problems, such as distress or depression very often one finds that a negative stamina is attached as automatically resolved to the use of drugs or surgical as the answer. Therefore the aim of psychotherapy is an alternative solution in solving problems. Rational-Emotive Behaviour Therapy

Cognitive Behaviour Therapy refers to both cognitive and behavioural therapies which are combined together to help people change negative thought patterns, beliefs, and behaviours to lead their lives without stress. Rational - Emotive Behaviour Therapy (REBT) is the first and foremost forms of Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT), and was developed by a psychologist and psychotherapist Albert Ellis in the mid 1950s. Rational - Emotive Behaviour Therapy (REBT) has been renamed a few times, the original name was Rational Therapy (RT) (1955), followed by Rational - Emotive Therapy (RET) (1959), than finally the most recent one Rational - Emotive Behaviour Therapy (REBT) (1992). Why so many name changes? Well according to Albert Ellis (1999) Rational - Emotive Behaviour Therapy (REBT) was wrongly named on both first occasions, and went on to explain how the elements of rational, emotional, and behavioural play their part in the process of the therapy. Therefore, Rational - Emotive Behaviour Therapy (REBT) is an accurate term to describe it, as well as preferable than Rational Therapy (RT) and Rational - Emotive Therapy (RET). This therapy focuses on resolving emotional and behavioural problems, and such void disturbances to enable individuals to lead a happier life.

According to this therapy when one feels disturbed due to an event that has taken place at some point in their lives, than according to this therapy it's not the event that is the problem, but more so on the beliefs that one holds as to the cause. Vast majority of people would want to be happy in life, be it individually or part of the society by engaging well towards other people; also we want other accessories in life, such as a good job with high pay. However, to remain focused in the goal of being happy, you may find it to be blocked with negative occurrences. Our reactions to these occurrences are highly dependent on us as individuals to either respond in a healthy and helpful way or unhealthy and unhelpful way. Whatever reaction is taken when the goals are blocked; the cause of the reaction is believed to be attached to ones beliefs. In order to tutor individuals that our beliefs are the cause of the emotional and behaviour responses; the ABC format was put into place:

  1. = Activating Event: actual event and client's immediate interpretations of event.
  2. = Beliefs: evaluations, rational, and irrational.
  3. = Consequences: emotions, behaviours, and other thoughts.

(Albert Ellis; cited at Eysenck, M. W. (2000).

To break it down into simpler terms, in the A stage: something would happen, and in the B stage: is the person's belief about the situation, and finally the C stage: the emotional reaction to the belief would occur. An example is given (cited on web-page REBT Network) in the A stage, your boss accuses you of stealing, B stage you think to yourself that your boss has no right to accuse you and that he/she is not a nice person, therefore in the C stage it leads you to react to your emotion, such as, anger. An alternative belief would be used in the same example, to see whether the emotional response would be any different. In the A stage your boss accuses you of stealing, B stage you think to yourself that you must not lose your job, because it will hard, therefore in the C stage it leads you to react to your emotion, such as, sad (cited on web page REBT Network). At the end of both examples, one can see that the response would therefore be different. This indicates that A is not the cause of C, but rather B is the cause of C, because in the first example; in the A stage where the boss accuses you of stealing is known not to be the cause of the reaction in the C stage, but rather in B stage, where you think to yourself that your boss has no right to accuse you, and that he/she is not a nice person, therefore that belief is the cause of the C stage.

According to Albert Ellis, the beliefs that are associated with ones sadness, it has been known to have a connection to three common irrational beliefs, and each level is requires a demand in relation to oneself, others, and in general terms of the world. This is commonly known as the "The Three Basic Musts" (cited on web page REBT Network). It all depends on the level of the demands, the nature of the belief that causes the problems which bring light to the outcome, for example, less demands follows a flexible belief, therefore it leads to a healthy emotion, and helpful behaviours.

The aim of the Rational -Emotive Behaviour Therapy (REBT) is to replace the irrational beliefs into rational beliefs, which seems easy to say, but very hard to do. The role of the psychologist (counsellor)/therapist is a directive role, to dispute the client's irrational beliefs. For example, the conversation held between the client and the professional may include "why must you win everyone's approval? Where is it written that other people must treat you fairly just because you want something, also adding to why must you have it?" As to when the client tries to answer in return to the questions asked by the professional, it resolves by identifying that there is no reason to why he/she must have absolute approval, fear treatment, and whatever he/she wants (cited on web page REBT Network). The word 'dispute' which is used between the clients and professionals plays an additional part of the ABC format, in other words it would be described as ABCD. The contents of this therapy also try to eliminate irrational beliefs, but we all know how we cannot entirely get rid of such beliefs, but there are ways to reduce it by developing three insights. "1. We don't merely get upset, but mainly upset ourselves by holding inflexible beliefs, 2. No matter when and how we start upsetting ourselves, we continue to feel upset because we cling to our irrational beliefs, 3. The only way to get better is to work hard at changing our beliefs, it takes practice, practice, practice" (cited on web page REBT Network).Although humans are capable in dealing with reality in general terms, and this is dealt with by acceptance; to help clients that need help to apply and develop these three types of acceptance: unconditional self-acceptance, unconditional other - acceptance, and unconditional life - acceptance, (cited on web page REBT Network) and each type of acceptance is placed with a core belief. Rational - Emotive Behaviour Therapy has providing some support of evidence that show that is therapy is effective and efficient; namely at reducing emotional pain (cited on web page REBT Network). At the beginning of Albert Ellis's work of developing this system, he was criticized to some extent in relation to mental health, but overall this therapy has a profound effect on the people that has benefited from using this system.

Client-Centred Therapy

On the other hand the Humanistic Therapy approach refers to both humanistic psychology and philosophy which is characterised by three main practice philosophies, such as, the existential, constructivist, and interpersonal. Client - Centred Therapy (CCT), also known as Person-Centred Therapy (PCT), a form of Humanistic Therapy approach, developed by Karl Rogers in the 1940s and 1950s. The Client- Centred Therapy (CCT) is a widely used therapy; namely in mental health and psychotherapy, and the aim is to allow clients to discuss their experiences alongside enabling one to express their feelings to strengthen and expand their own identity to be the person they want to become. The idea of the professional is to repeat what the client has said to the clients themselves, therefore allowing the client themselves to arrive at solutions of their own thoughts, and at the end of the contact of emotions, it's the clients that decide what changes need to come to mind in order to make a difference. The technique used has been criticized in terms of the structure, but above all, it has shown to be an effective and a well known treatment.

As mentioned earlier about the rule of acceptance, this therapy introduces a similar strategy, of acceptance as a whole, and if one is refused acceptance alongside positive outcomes than it could result the individual to lose touch with means of their own experience, therefore their tendency to grow may be cut off. The reason behind this often occurs because individual tend to accept the condition that is offered by others, which than places these conditions into their own views about themselves. Therefore, in order to receive this positive outcome from others, results one to follow the easier route by becoming that sort of person, rather than being something else, which will be risky in terms of losing the positive outcome from others. This means that individuals are replacing their own identity, evaluations of experiences, and attributions which justify the values of others as being more dominant over oneself own judgements.

The role of the psychologist (counsellor)/therapist employs them not to express approval or disapproval to the client's experiences, and allow the client to reach his/her own solutions. This therapy has been known to be a non-directive approach. The professional role is played by the psychologist (counsellor)/therapist to foster an environment for the client to be able to express feelings and then repeat the gist of what the client has expressed, this enables them to dig deeper into the client's feelings. Although as mentioned earlier about this therapy being a non-directive approach Truax (1996; cited at Eysenck, M. W. (2000) recorded some of Rogers sessions that provides evidence that a directive approach is put into place by directing the thoughts of the clients. Client - Centred Therapy (CCT) explains the concepts involved: organising valuing process, conditions of worth, congruence, self actualization and elf-concept. Client-Centred Therapy (CCT) explains incongruence; allowing room for self-growth in a process to improve self-concept. Although individuals differ in the way they perceive and construct the same experience, it could be assumed that the so called core conditions are forced on different individuals. However, the investigation of the individual's differences and exploring the Client-Centred Therapy (CCT) is a must according to Rogers in terms of the therapeutic perceptive for favourable change to occur. This therapy is not concerned with the developmental, but rather here and now in relation to the individual's experience, this transference consumes less time. Overall the Client- Centred Therapy (CCT) does to some extent allow the client to reach an adequate self-understanding, even when following a different technique. This approach allows one to view his/her own world through their eyes, noting the importance of listening to the clients feelings, and motivating them to change is essential of effective therapy. This therapy employs the internal resources through what is described as 'core conditions', and believed to be responsible for psychological disturbances "1. Unconditional positive regard, 2. Empathy and 3. Congruence" (cited at Eysenck, M. W. (2000). The first core condition - Unconditional positive regard- means that the therapist for whatever reasons accepts the client's unconditionally, without judgement. In the second core condition - Empathy understanding - means that the therapist understandings the client's perspective in how they view the world, and in the third core condition - Congruence - means that the therapist is genuine. By following these criteria it allows the professionals to the clients excluding their own beliefs, in order for it to be a more effective therapy. The core conditions are essential for therapeutic movement to occur, in other words, the client will experience therapeutic change.

According to this therapy clients are seen to know their own authority better on own experiences, therefore are fully capable to fulfil their own goals. However, some goals are not so achievable; therefore one cannot fulfil their needs as to what they aimed for. When individuals are denied acceptance and positive regard from others could risk losing in touch with what their own experiences mean for them. The problems that lead one for therapy normally occurs to when the client is perceived differently in the way they are to how they themselves would like to be, in other words between the ideal self and actual self. One of the main focuses of this therapy is allowing one to plan their own destiny, in other words play with your own life in your capable hands. By dealing with current issues equals a better hope for the future. Apparently, the psychological disturbances appear in the process of the conflict between self-concept, and personal experience as when one's own judgement places conflict to what the self-concept offers. This highly depends on the positive suggestions or judgements leading the idea of self worth, because individuals rely on self-concept that provide those positive judgements, and the experiences which change the self-concept are apt to be denied altogether in order for it to be perceived.

Comparison of Rational-Emotive Behaviour Therapy (REBT) and Client- Centred Therapy (CCT)

Both therapies place similar oppositions to the main source of problems, such as in REBT offer higher moral standards, will and wishes of the individual, and CCT offer real and ideal selves Both also share similar emphases; for example, CCT holds 'core conditions' and both offer a genuine strong bond with relationship between the professional and client. Also they share the same principles, however, REBT principles are not as crucial as CCT. They both emphasise on the need to understand the client's feelings in order to resolve the problems. The differences between both therapies are the methods used to resolve the problems are applied differently, REBT places change to philosophical rigid "should" and "musts" in order to justify person's wishes and desires, and on the other hand CCT places a balance between the elements to try and resolve inner conflict. REBT places a directive approach, and CCT places a non-directive approach. Both focus on different treatment, as REBT focus on thought and beliefs if the client and CCT focus on the central parts of the feelings of the client.

Both share a fair deal of criticisms REBT are found to be more argumentative compared to those offered CCT, therefore it shows the lack of sensitivity towards the clients. Also it has been described as to be easily practised poorly, suggesting from the perceptive point of view; namely someone who takes a philosophical approach to life anyway Eysenck, M. W. (2000). Also the 'dispute' that takes place could easily fall off track; away from the client main concerns; therefore waste time. On the other hand, the CCT; namely on the core conditions, by adding that all therapists would normally employ this frame work in order to treat clients, such as, 'listening'. Also are all professionals capable to hold back mentally on their views, therefore not reacting to the variety of challenges faced during therapy. The empirical research on the counselling effectiveness has not been taken so seriously adding to the quality of the relationship between the professional and client faces problems, as it's believed that the core conditions are not the only way to achieve a quality relationship. It also suggests that what importance does 'self' play in the relationship apart from some aspects of the core conditions in bringing the professionals experiences or philosophies.

REBT, places room for those who suffer from anxiety or depression, but it fails to serve those who suffer from severe thought disorders Eysenck, M. W. (2000). On the other hand CCT can be suitable for a wide range of support, such as mental health, depression, and anxiety. To conclude REBT is effective, but the new method employed provides a poor data, and for CCT is also effective as good practice, but one would suggest that the choice of therapy is highly dependent of one's needs.

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