There are dozens of different types of therapies available to us; so how do we choose? How do we know what type of therapy is going to be right and work for us, meeting our goals and expectations and actually improving our lives? Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy differs from other types of therapy, and even from traditional Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, and is the right choice for most situations.
1. REBT puts you in the driver’s seat: Unlike some types of therapy, which heavily rely on the therapist as the expert to interpret and guide your feelings and behaviors, REBT strives to teach you how to be your own therapist. REBT therapists do not want you to be in therapy forever - they believe that, by teaching you skills and different ways of thinking, you can then leave equipped with the knowledge that you need to cope without a professional!
2. REBT accepts you for you: REBT is truly a non-judgmental approach to therapy; in fact, one of the foundations of the model is “Unconditional Acceptance of Self”. You are human, you make mistakes, and that’s ok - we aren’t here to chastise or judge you for your faults, because we all have them.
3. REBT takes into account your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors: Unlike some therapies, which focus solely on feelings from past experiences, childhood wounds, or only emphasize the importance of behaviors, REBT focuses on all three. Our thoughts, feelings, and behaviors are all connected - cutting out one piece of the equation means we aren’t getting the full picture.
4. REBT understands that sometimes your thoughts aren’t distorted: Traditional cognitive behavioral therapy teaches that you are distressed because your thoughts are irrational and distorted. REBT takes this one step further - while some of your thoughts may fall into that category, others are grounded in reality. It then teaches you how to cope with your “worst fears” if those fears are actually true. Worried your partner is going to break up with you because he hasn’t answered your texts in three days? That may be the case - and you can cope if it is.
Dana is a therapist in New York providing relationship counseling and sex therapy for individuals and couples.