Cognitive Behavioural Therapy is a type of therapy that is also known as Rational Emotive Behavioral Therapy (REBT). It focuses on thinking, judging, deciding, analyzing, and doing. It assumes that cognition’s, emotions, and behaviors interact and have a reciprocal cause-and-effect relationship. The therapy teaches that our emotions stem mainly from our beliefs, evaluations, interpretations and reactions to life situations.
The assumptions behind REBT are that people contribute to their own psychological problems and symptoms through the way that they interpret events and situations. One can reorganize their behaviors by reorganizing how they think. Operant conditioning, modeling and behavioral rehearsal can be applied to thinking and changing it. The approach includes a collaborative relationship between therapists and clients, the idea that cognitive problems in thinking produce psychological distress. Therefore, the focus of the therapy is to change cognition’s and therefore change behavior and emotions. The therapy is generally time limited and focuses on specific and structured target problems. Through this therapy – the client is to learn how to identify and dispute unhealthy beliefs and to replace ineffective ways of thinking with effective and rational thoughts. They are encouraged to stop absolutistic thinking, blaming and repeating false beliefs.
It is believed that emotional disturbances are due to problems in thinking – self-defeating beliefs and blame. As well, irrational beliefs will lead to self-defeating behaviors – for example someone may say that they must have love or approval from others in their lives in order to feel good. The steps that a therapist feels should be taken in order to change dysfunctional living are an acknowledgement that we are responsible for creating our own emotional problems, and acceptance that we have the ability to change our disturbances significantly, a recognition that emotional problems stem from irrational beliefs, a clear perception of ones beliefs, a recognition of the value of disputing self-defeating behaviors and an acceptance of the fact that to change we must work hard in emotional and behavioral ways to counteract irrational beliefs and feelings.