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Cognitive and Behavioral Therapy

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Cognitive Behavior Therapy

Aaron Beck is the inventor of cognitive-behavior therapy (CBT), whose guiding principle is that the driving forces of mental dysfunction are habitual, unrealistic, self-defeating ideas—“automatic thoughts,” in the clinical parlance—that, like tinted lenses, color one’s perceptions of, and therefore one’s reactions to, the external world.

There are now studies that show CBT’s effectiveness in treating anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, phobias, borderline personality disorder, bipolar disorder, anorexia, bulimia, and schizophrenia, as well as back pain, colitis, hypertension, chronic fatigue syndrome, marital distress, anger, and overeating. (1)

Most therapists today use an approach based upon CBT, or identify with a less structured approach called eclectic that almost always employs techniques that come from cognitive behavioral therapy and its related research. CBT is a robust, proven and very effective treatment approach for many mental disorders, including the big ones like depression and anxiety. And virtually every study on CBT has shown its effectiveness in conjunction with or without psychiatric medications.

 

Rational Emotive Behavioral Therapy

Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT) was developed in 1955 by Albert Ellis, Ph.D. 
REBT is an action-oriented psychotherapy that teaches individuals to examine their own thoughts, beliefs and actions and replace those that are self-defeating with more life-enhancing alternatives.

REBT employs the 'ABC framework' to clarify the relationship between activating events (A); our beliefs about them (B); and the cognitive, emotional or behavioral consequences of our beliefs (C). The ABC model is also used in some renditions of cognitive therapy or cognitive behavioral therapy, where it is also applied to clarify the role of mental activities or predispositions in mediating between experiences and emotional responses.

REBT has 3 basic tenets:

  1. People don't just get disturbed by events, but by the *perception*. A+B.
  2. No matter when you developed your belief, you still believe it.
  3. There is no way but work and practice to provide relief.

Although the activating experiences may be quite real and have caused real pain, it is our irrational beliefs that create long-term, disabling problems!