Rational-Emotive Behavioral Therapy and Cognitive Therapy: A Comparison
Rose Walker
Columbia College

      Rational-Emotive Behavioral Therapy, created by Albert Ellis and Cognitive Therapy, created by Aaron Beck, were fashioned around the same time and yet have very different foundations; but that is not to say that they are completely different. They both have their foundations in cognition and behavior, stressing that incorrect thinking is the main root of people’s psychological problems. They are both focused on changing people’s perceptions of their problems through changing this thinking.
      Rational-Emotive Behavioral Therapy
      Rational-emotive behavioral therapy (REBT) believes that they way people interpret and process events, rather than the events themselves, contribute to people’s emotional problems. (Corey, 2009) The general aim of REBT is to give clients the tools to “restructure their philosophical and behavioral styles” (Corey, 2009 p.275). With these tools, the clients learn to overcome their ineffectual thoughts and self-defeating beliefs (Corey, 2009). Furthermore, he believes that our personalities are defined by how we interpret and interact with our environment; our beliefs about events shape our reactions to them and not the events themselves (Sherin and Caiger, 2004). Our core irrational beliefs tend to be “simplistic, absolutist, and overdramatic” (Sherin and Caiger, 2004); these dogmatic demands lead to our own self-defeat (Corey, 2009).
      The A-B-C model is central to REBT and provides a key to understanding the client’s feelings, thoughts and behavior surrounding an event (Corey, 2009). A is the activating event, B is the belief surrounding that event and C is consequence of it all (Corey, 2009). When an even occurs in someone’s life, they develop an irrational belief regarding this event and then their emotional and behavioral reaction this belief is the consequence (Corey, 2009). When a person’s personality has a...