A Journey of Understanding Oneself: Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy

A Journey of Understanding Oneself: Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy


Once upon a time, in a hustling city, lived a man named Rohit aged around 34 years. He has recently become a Father. Though he has the happiness of becoming a father to a beautiful angel, he seems dull and expresses no joy. Upon enquiry, got to know that he has had extremely low self-esteem since his marriage to Sara. 

Sara and Rohit met and began their relationship immediately after their schooling. Since the inception of their relationship, Sara’s parents have always accused Rohit of putting their daughter into trouble off and then. Though Sara’s parents have caused problems and trouble between Rohit and Sara, they mutually took their relationship forward. Both agreed, got married and moved into a new apartment. Once Sara’s parents got to know that their daughter was pregnant, they approved and showered love and affection for their daughter. Even then, Sara’s parents were having a strong reaction towards Rohit. After 4 years of marriage, they now have a child. 

Rohit feels difficulty in hearing all the critical acclaim of Sara’s parents even now. This is completely draining Rohit emotionally which is why he seems to be worried even when he has a daughter by his side. Though Sara supports Rohit in many ways, she certainly felt the necessity of seeking professional help. 

Rohit’s journey of understanding himself began from there. 

But now, before knowing what happened to Rohit then, let’s learn briefly about the therapy that Rohit underwent which is Rational Emotive Behavior therapy. Let’s now explore the therapy further. 


Rational Emotive Behaviour therapy popularly addressed as REBT was developed by Albert Ellis. He created it when he was analysing and formulating Psychoanalysis as a therapy in which he focused much on enhancing the thoughts and thought processes of the clients. He then realized that his clients were recovering and improving faster than before. He first explored the technique on himself wherein he said that he has a fear of talking in public and also with young women. As a part of the research, he exposed himself to talking to strangers in public and also to 100 women. He explained that during these times, he used Rational and behavioural techniques which helped him overcome the fear by desensitising him. 

REBT- A Therapeutic Approach

Rational Emotive Behaviour therapy, popularly known as REBT is a type of Cognitive Behaviour Therapy approach that deals with individuals learning to challenge their inappropriate thoughts and feelings that make them engage in inappropriate behaviour which eventually results in the development of appropriate thought patterns and behaviour. 

REBT- approach believes that individuals themselves are the main proponent for their false thoughts and behaviours. Once you get to correct these irrational or unconventional beliefs one has about yourself, you eventually develop a desirable thought pattern and behaviour. 

Basic Principles of REBT 

Rational Emotive Behavior therapy has certain basic principles which include; 

  • The core of REBT remains in the ABC Model. A- Activating events, B- Belief that remains as triggers and C- Consequences are seen in the behaviour of the individual. So, REBT henceforth works on the ABC Model which explores an individual’s ABC and alters and transforms them accordingly leading to a desirable behaviour for the individual.  
  • Irrational beliefs – Most of the problems arise in an individual when they hold on to strong irrational thoughts and beliefs. The major irrational beliefs are found to be demanding, catastrophizing and evaluating a whole world with just one simple thought or belief. During sessions on REBT, the therapist would try to figure out these irrational beliefs and make the client understand and challenge those irrational beliefs. 
  • Unconditional Self-acceptance and Acceptance of Reality both of these play a crucial role in the therapeutic process. No individual is perfect, rather each one of us has certain issues, problems, fears and much more. Accepting oneself even during adverse situations is the key component to a happy and healthy life and well-being of an individual. In addition to unconditionally accepting oneself, it’s important to accept what reality has for us. Many times, things would happen not as anticipated by us. So it’s significant to learn to accept reality and move on in life. 
  • Behaviour changeBehavioural change happens automatically when one’s thoughts/beliefs and emotions are modified accordingly. Though REBT mainly contributes to cognitive restructuring, it eventually is connected with rational and desirable behavioural modification.

Therapeutic session of Rohit with The Therapist or Counselor 

With all this basic understanding regarding REBT, let’s get into the story of Rohit – What happened in his therapeutic session 

The basic crunch of the session is to help and support Rohit by making him understand his own beliefs and emotions about his in-laws and restructure them. The session began with the basic information sharing about oneself and then to the exploration of Rohit’s problem. The therapist knows the basic key behind the current problem of Rohit is the criticism he gains from his in-laws which makes him feel that he doesn’t get full respect from his wife as well. 

So, the therapist used humour as a strategy to see what Rohit does with it. Whenever we use humour, we may have to ensure the sensitivity and timing with which you counter humour in the session. It should balance and humour often reduce the intensity and importance an individual holds on to towards his or her irrational beliefs. 

Read More; Dialectical Behaviour Therapy’s Role in Mental Wellness

So, here the therapist used humour as “Rohit, it seems like you’ve been seeking approval from your in-laws since you saw your wife for the first time. Even when you declared your love for their daughter, their ignorance and behaviour towards you hasn’t changed. Even then, I respect your loyalty towards your in-laws.” 

Rohit reacted and responded well and further told a joke to re-encounter the therapist “You know, I agreed to the wedding vow that stated I have to respect, love and cherish my wife’s parents”. So, each session went by making him confront and understand that if an individual’s thoughts, emotions and behaviours are more concerned and connected with the welfare of others, it would lead to lower the self-esteem of the individual. 

Read More: Affording Therapy: Breaking Down Budget-Friendly Mental Health Options

So, session by session Rohit understood what he was lacking and he identified and listed his own irrational beliefs. Once he encountered that his main problem was to gain the respect of his in-laws, the therapist encountered that by making Rohit challenge these through debates. Through debates with the questions of what, why, how, does it matter, where did you get to know that this is important etc, Rohit himself understood all that he had regarding his in-laws seemed to be irrational. The therapist then made Rohit rephrase and modify his thought pattern.

In the further sessions, he was asked to log in a notebook his other irrational thoughts, beliefs and emotions. He was further asked to bring his wife to check the comparability and boundaries they hold onto in their relationship. 

Read More: 15 of the Best Couples Therapy Techniques to try

Take Away

In conclusion, let’s reconnect to what Albert Ellis said once 

“The best years of your life are the ones in which you decide your problems are your own. You do not blame them on your mother, the ecology, or the president. You realize that you control your destiny.”- Alber Ellis. Henceforth, REBT helps us understand that most of the problems that we have are of our own. When these are solved by unravelling the irrational thoughts, beliefs and desires by restructuring, individuals are capable of gaining strength, and growth and thus live life to the fullest. 

References +
  • https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/how-do-life/201608/albert-el is-quote%3famp 
  • https://psychologywriting.com/case-conceptualization-using-rational-emotive-behavior-therapy/

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