Rational Emotive Behavioral Therapy (REBT)

Reviewed by Carrie Carlton, Clinical Director (LCSW)

An individual’s thoughts strongly influence their emotions and behaviors. If a person has negative or irrational thought patterns, for example, they might develop behavioral or emotional problems in response. One such problem might be turning to unhealthy coping mechanisms like drugs or alcohol after a triggering situation or event.

Individuals struggling with substance abuse or addiction can learn to approach situations and issues logically and with better emotional regulation. In turn, they can re-think and analyze the behaviors and mindset underlying their destructive lifestyle.

Assessing and identifying negative thoughts and replacing them with a healthier mindset is known as rational emotive therapy or REBT.

REBT gives a person tools to push a reset button on their perspective. This is critical because it helps avoid the thought patterns that may trigger emotional and behavioral issues, including addiction.

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What is REBT?

When Albert Ellis introduced REBT in 1955, it was a significant change in how therapy was practiced over the years. He saw a gap in the standard treatments.

Psychoanalysis focused on the unconscious mind. Behaviorism centered on the client’s behavior vs. inner experience. Ellis believed thoughts and how individuals think are vital for understanding and treating emotional and behavioral problems. Since its introduction, REBT therapy has become a leading psychological treatment approach. Today, there is a robust body of evidence that REBT is effective at treating addiction.

REBT treats drug and alcohol dependency by reversing negative, irrational thoughts and emotions that lead to addictive behaviors. REBT works to help individuals unlearn conditioned habits, including using drugs and alcohol.

REBT treats drug and alcohol dependency by reversing negative, irrational thoughts and emotions that lead to addictive behaviors. REBT believes we can unlearn conditioned habits, including using drugs and alcohol.

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REBT Focuses on the Present

While the past can have a considerable impact on someone’s life, REBT works to allow those struggling to move on from their past history. REBT can help pave a healthier path forward.