You are on page 1of 5

Omo-Ikerodah Elizabeth Omomo


INTRODUCTION Rational Emotive Therapy is a therapy developed by Albert Ellis; a

psychotherapist and psychologist, who was inspired by many of the teachings of Asian, Greek, Roman and modem philosophers. The name was formerly known as rational therapy but was changed to Rational Emotive Therapy in 1959. Presently, it is known as Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy (REBT), the current appellation came into effect in 1992. Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT) is a comprehensive, direct, philosophically and empirically based psychotherapy which focuses on resolving specific problems facing a troubled individual and enabling them to live happier and more fulfilling lives. The thrust of this therapy is anchored on the premise; that our emotions result solely from our beliefs, not by the events that occur in our lives. Ellis (2001) asserted that one of the fundamental premises of REBT is that humans, in most cases, do not merely get upset by unfortunate adversities, but also by how they construct their views of reality through their language, evaluative beliefs, meanings and philosophies about the world, themselves and others. In his maiden publication on rational therapy, he captured the

philosophical basis of REBT as the principle that a person is rarely affected

emotionally by outside things but rather by 'his perceptions, attitudes, or internalized sentences about outside things and events. This principle of REBT stated by Elis has its root in the earlier work of ancient Stoic philosophers which was reechoed centuries later by Williams Shakespeare in the in Hamlet and rephrased in Ellis (1962) "There's nothing good or bad but thinking makes it so. The REBT framework incorporates the beliefs of Albert Ellis about human beings; he believes that human beings are born with the dual potentials for both healthy and unhealthy thought processes. He calls the healthy process rational thinking and the unhealthy variety irrational thinking. Rational thinking, as would be expected, means objectively seeing things as they really are, self- and socialhelping and constructive whereas irrational thinking distorts reality by misinterpreting things that happen, self- and social-defeating and un-helpful. The irrational thinking or tendencies encompassing destructive and self-defeating cognitions, emotions and behaviors is what REBT is created to address through cognitive-philosophic, emotive-evocative-dramatic, and behavioral methods. The methods and techniques are geared to help individuals challenge and dispute their irrational and self-defeating constructs and help them come up with more rational and self-constructive ones. REBT uses A-B-C theory of personality which an acronym stands for activating event, belief and consequence. Ellis's conclusion is that the belief, not the activating event, causes the emotional consequence. Corey (2001), how one feels is primarily determined by how one

thinks, if a person has a number of irrational beliefs; he or she is likely to experience much emotional pain throughout life as various challenges are encountered. On the other hand, if a person's beliefs are rational, then he or she can handle the disappointing events of life with aplomb. The emotional consequence is subjected steps D, E, and F which stands for disputing, effective philosophy and a new set of feelings respectively. The irrational beliefs from B are challenged by disputing the self-defeating belief (D) which result its replacement with a rational one that yields an effective philosophy (E) and also a new set of feelings (F) which are not debilitating. Ellis (1994) asserted that through REBT, by understanding the role of their mediating, evaluative and philosophically based illogical, unrealistic and self-defeating meanings,

interpretations and assumptions in upset, people often can learn to identify them, begin to D, dispute, refute, challenge and question them, distinguish them from healthy constructs, and subscribe to more constructive and self-helping constructs.


EFFECT OF REBT ON SOCIAL WORK Ellis (2001) observed from REBT, that people to a large degree

consciously and unconsciously construct emotional difficulties such as selfblame, self-pity, clinical anger, hurt, guilt, shame, depression and anxiety, and behaviors and behavior tendencies like procrastination, over-compulsiveness,

avoidance, addiction and withdrawal by the means of their irrational and selfdefeating thinking, emoting and behaving. This revelation have provided social work with adequate resources to adequately achieve its three basic purposes of social work practice provided in 1958 by the Committee for National Association of Social Workers in America. REBT will positively help social work to serve as agents of social control.


IMPORTANCE OF REBT TO SOCIAL WORK REBT is important to Social Work it provides knowledge needed in the

practice of social work. REBT encompasses the knowledge of giving and receiving help, the knowledge of the meaning rationality and effect on the individual. REBT is important to social work as it has provided the varied tools to deal with the rational and emotional nature of man. REBT generally teaches and promotes the concepts and philosophies of life of unconditional self-acceptance, other-acceptance, and life-acceptance; these teachings are central to the practice of social work and hence important to the field of study.


Corey, G. (2001). Theory and Practice ofCounseling and Psychotherapy (6th ed.). Belmont, CA: Brooks/Cole. Ellis, A. (1962) Reason and Emotion in Psychotherapy. p. 54 Ellis, A. (1994). Reason and Emotion In Psychotherapy, Revised and Updated. Secaucus, NJ: Carol Publishing Group Ellis, A. (2001). Feeling better, getting better, staying better. Impact Publishers Ellis, A. (2001). Overcoming Destructive Beliefs, Feelings, and Behaviors: New Directions for Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy. Promotheus Books.