Tag: psychology

What is Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy?

What is Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy or REBT?

Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy, also known simply as REBT, is a type of psychotherapy and a philosophy of living created by the well-known and renowned psychologist Albert Ellis in the 1950s.

Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy’s (REBT) roots are based on the concept that when we become upset, it is not the actual event taking place that upsets us, but rather the beliefs that we hold that cause us to become depressed, anxious, furious… and so on. In other words we are upsetting ourselves. Think of a recent example where you were upset or angry? What were you telling yourself about the situation? What were you ‘demanding’ of yourself…? Or someone else…?

The idea that our beliefs upset us was first articulated by Epictetus around 2,000 years ago when he said: “Men are disturbed not by events, but by the views which they take of them.”

The Goal of Happiness

Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy

According to Albert Ellis (pictured left) and Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy (REBT), the vast majority of us want to be happy.

Who wouldn’t? We all want to be happy whether we are alone or with others. We want to get along with others — especially with one or two close friends. We want to be well-informed and educated. We want a good job with good pay. We want to enjoy our leisure time…

Unfortunately, as most of us know, life doesn’t always allow us to have what we want or go in the direction we would like.

And life is so often ‘not fair’. Our goal of being happy is often compromised by, as Hamlet states so well, the ‘slings and arrows of outrageous fortune.’

However, when our goals are blocked we still have a choice: we can respond in ways that are healthy and helpful, or we can react in ways that are unhealthy and unhelpful.

Let’s take a closer look at what makes a belief, or a thought, healthy or unhealthy…

The ABC Model in Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy (REBT)

Albert Ellis and REBT suggest that our reaction to having our goals blocked (or even simply the possibility of having them blocked) is determined by our beliefs. To illustrate this, Dr. Ellis developed a simple ABC format to teach people how their beliefs cause their emotional and behavioural responses:

A. Something happens.
B. You have a belief about the situation.
C. You have an emotional reaction to the belief.

For example:

A. Your employer falsely accuses you of taking money from her purse and threatens to fire you.
B. You believe, “She has no right to accuse me. She’s a bitch!”
C. You feel angry.

If you had held a different belief, your emotional response would have been different:

A. Your employer falsely accuses you of taking money from her purse and threatens to fire you.
B. You believe, “I must not lose my job. That would be unbearable.”
C. You feel anxious.

The ABC model shows that A does not cause C. It is B that causes C. In the first example, it is not your employer’s false accusation and threat that make you angry; it is your belief that she has no right to accuse you, and that she is a bitch. In the second example, it is not her accusation and threat that make you anxious; it is the belief that you must not lose your job, and that losing your job would be unbearable.

The Three Basic Musts

Although we all express ourselves differently, according to Albert Ellis and Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy (REBT), the beliefs that upset us are all variations of three common irrational beliefs. Each of the three common irrational beliefs contains a demand, either about ourselves, other people, or the world in general. These beliefs are known as The Three Basic Musts.

  1. I must do well and win the approval of others for my performances or else I am no good.
  2. Other people must treat me considerately, fairly and kindly, and in exactly the way I want them to treat me. If they don’t, they are no good and they deserve to be condemned and punished.
  3. I must get what I want, when I want it; and I must not get what I don’t want. It’s terrible if I don’t get what I want, and I can’t stand it.

The first belief often leads to anxiety, depression, shame, and guilt. The second belief often leads to rage, passive-aggression and acts of violence. The third belief often leads to self-pity and procrastination. It is the demanding nature of the beliefs that causes the problem. Less demanding, more flexible beliefs lead to healthy emotions and helpful behaviors

Disputing

The goal of Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy (REBT) is to help people change their irrational beliefs into rational beliefs. Changing beliefs is the real work of therapy and is achieved by the therapist disputing the client’s irrational beliefs. For example, the therapist might ask, “Why must you win everyone’s approval?” “Where is it written that other people must treat you fairly?” “Just because you want something, why must you have it?” Disputing is the D of the ABC model. When the client tries to answer the therapist’s questions, s/he sees that there is no reason why s/he absolutely must have approval, fair treatment, or anything else that s/he wants.

Insight

Albert Ellis and Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy (REBT) contend that although we all think irrationally from time to time, we can work at eliminating the tendency. It’s unlikely that we can ever entirely eliminate the tendency to think irrationally, but we can reduce the frequency, the duration, and the intensity of our irrational beliefs by developing three insights:

  1. We don’t merely get upset but mainly upset ourselves by holding inflexible beliefs.
  2. No matter when and how we start upsetting ourselves, we continue to feel upset because we cling to our irrational beliefs.
  3. The only way to get better is to work hard at changing our beliefs. It takes practice, practice, practice…

Acceptance

Emotionally healthy human beings develop an acceptance of reality, even when reality is highly unfortunate and unpleasant. REBT helps you develop three types of acceptance: (1) unconditional self-acceptance; (2) unconditional other-acceptance; and (3) unconditional life-acceptance. Each of these types of acceptance is based on three core beliefs:

Unconditional self-acceptance:

  1. I am a fallible human being; I have my good points and my bad points.
  2. There is no reason why I must not have flaws.
  3. Despite my good points and my bad points, I am no more worthy and no less worthy than any other human being.

Unconditional other-acceptance:

  1. Other people will treat me unfairly from time to time.
  2. There is no reason why they must treat me fairly.
  3. The people who treat me unfairly are no more worthy and no less worthy than any other human being.

Unconditional life-acceptance:

  1. Life doesn’t always work out the way that I’d like it to.
  2. There is no reason why life must go the way I want it to
  3.  Life is not necessarily pleasant but it is never awful and it is nearly always bearable.

Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy (REBT) Today

Clinical experience and a growing supply of experimental evidence show that REBT is effective and efficient at reducing emotional pain and is particularly effective for treating anxiety disorders. When Albert Ellis created Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy (REBT) in the 1950s he met with much resistance from others in the mental health field. Today, it is one of the most widely-practiced therapies throughout the world. In the early days of REBT, even Dr. Ellis did not clearly see that consistent use of its philosophical system would have such a profound effect on the field of psychology or on the lives of the millions of people who have benefited from it.

Psychology of a Perfect Diet

Many of us with an interest in nutrition and health make the assumption that there must be a perfect diet: a perfect way to eat, a perfect nutritional system, the one way of consuming food that trumps all other approaches.

I know I used to. If you follow this thinking, all you need do is discover this one perfect diet and you’ll hit the jackpot. By finding the perfect diet, you can have perfect health, perfect weight, perfect energy, perfect looks, and live forever… you may ask yourself if the weight loss supplements with the roids logo is part of that perfect diet?

So, who wouldn’t want to find this perfect diet?

Now this may sound like a bit of an exaggeration, and I’m being slightly tongue-in-cheek here – but the reality is, I see far too many people, including experts, who take this dogmatic stance — there has to be one perfect diet.

Now the problem with believing there is a one-size-fits-all perfect diet has some important consequences that we should take a look at:

  • It often has us on an endless search
  • We’re constantly on edge trying to find the perfect foods
  • We can become confused and frustrated because so many ‘experts’ claim that they have the perfect way to eat and they all have scientific proof — and many of them say something quite contradictory.
  • We might believe we found the perfect diet, and stick to it for a while only to watch ourselves falling off the wagon, eating foods outside of the diet, craving ‘forbidden’ foods, which then leads to a lot of self rejection and personal turmoil.

This last point is a particularly important one. That’s because there’s so much nutritional confusion and personal frustration that happens when we’re trying to follow our perfect diet perfectly — and the reality is — perfection doesn’t exist.

Show me one place in life where we can all be in agreement about what’s perfect.

  • Is there a perfect way to earn money?
  • Is there a perfect way to do relationships?
  • Is there a perfect way to raise children?
  • Is there a perfect way to have fun?
  • Is there a perfect way to move and exercise?
  • Is there a perfect way to have sex?
  • Is there a perfect house?
  • Or a perfect place to live?

Hopefully you get the point.

There is absolutely no such thing as the perfect diet.

There are likely as many excellent ways to eat as there are people on planet Earth. The right diet for any one of us is linked to so many different factors: your age, genetics, preferences, your sex, the environment you live in, this season, your lifestyle, the amount of exercise you do, any health challenges you might be dealing with, your personal goals, your personal beliefs, and all kinds of yet-to-be-discovered factors, and you can even get shredded with these body building essentials if getting fit is part of your goals. Famciclovir is an antiviral drug. However, it is not a cure for these infections. The viruses that cause these infections continue to live in the body even between outbreaks. Famciclovir decreases the severity and length of these outbreaks. It helps the sores heal faster, keeps new sores from forming, and decreases pain/itching. This medication may also help reduce how long pain remains after the sores heal. In addition, in people with a weakened immune system, famciclovir can decrease the risk of the virus spreading to other parts of the body and causing serious infections. Visit https://www.ukmeds.co.uk/treatments/sexual-health/famvir/ to learn more about sexual infections and how to cure them with prescription medicines.

But don’t let this frustrate you.

Nutrition is an ongoing journey. It’s an exploration. It’s a fascinating experiment. We live in a time where our bodies are changing, our nutritional needs are very different than they were 1000 years ago, the world is a different place, we’re under a lot of environmental pressure from new toxins in a poor food chain — so our nutritional needs are ever-changing and ever-evolving. That’s the good news.

When you really let go of trying to find the perfect diet, you can relax.

You can be an explorer

You can have a smile on your face and test out new approaches, new foods, new supplements, or the latest diet if you really want to – and see how it works for you.

Now you can view this journey in two ways: problematic and disappointing, or fascinating and exciting. Your choice.

The desire for perfection in any area of life is a form of simplistic wishful thinking. Perfectionism is a dream that we need to wake up from. The alternative is to continue sleepwalking and not understand why we’re constantly feeling out-of-balance, disempowered, uncertain, and always looking for answers about why our health or our eating habits aren’t perfect.

The field of nutrition is a bit messy. It’s a bit unstable…
Our lives are a bit unstable…
These are the times we live in…

So, let’s embrace that and do our best to celebrate it.

Are you willing to let go of being perfect? Are you willing to admit that your quest for perfectionism often leads to confusion and self-abuse? Are you ready to embrace uncertainty and be a nutritional explorer in your own life?

Just say yes, and your relationship with food will blossom like never before…

Mindful Eating and the Positive Effects of CBT

mindful-eating-and-the-positive-effects-of-cbt

Just like all skills, health and well-being can be cultivated through training and practice by using mindful eating and the positive effects of CBT

Whether you’re learning to play the piano, moving from a sedentary life to an active one, or developing more effective ways to handle emotional triggers, the same type of neural circuitry is at play. One of the most inspiring advancements in recent neuroscience is that the neural pathways in our brains are ‘plastic.’ What this means is they change in response to training and experience.

Now, this is wonderful news! What it means is we’re not stuck with any set of thoughts, feelings, or behaviors if we don’t want to be. If we’re willing to commit to learning, training, and practice, we can change anything that’s not working for us.

One of the reasons I love CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy) is because it’s basically all about changing neural circuity. Instead of focusing on rules about when, what, and how much you ‘should’ be eating, CBT guides you through a process of rewiring yourself from the inside out. By using this rewiring process, you can begin to think differently, address emotions and other triggers more effectively, and make choices that support greater well-being.

Positive Effects of CBT

Because this change in neural pathways is based on awareness and intentional decision making, it has far reaching consequences in other areas of your life, not just eating and activity. For example, CBT guides you to identify thoughts and feelings that might be driving your desire to eat when you’re not hungry. You can then pause to intentionally decide if you’ll eat anyway, redirect your attention, or meet your real needs.

If you choose to eat anyway, instead of doing so automatically and out of habit, you’ll be fully aware of the likely outcome and can then enjoy eating mindfully and without guilt. If you choose to redirect your attention until you are hungry or meet your underlying needs, you’ll have a different experience that will propel you one step closer to your desired future habits. Whichever choice you make, you’re re-training your brain to pause in the face of an impulse or urge, weigh your options, and then consciously decide what to do next.

Pause, Think… Act

You can probably see how applicable this process can be to virtually everything else in your life – and most of my clients quickly see that connection too. For example, let’s say you notice that you feel irritated because your child’s room is a disaster… again. Instead of automatically reacting with a disciplinary yell — which doesn’t feel great and doesn’t seem to help in the long term anyway — you pause, weigh your options, and decide whether and how to respond.

Or perhaps you receive yet another email from your boss with a tight deadline with more work than you can reasonably do. Before complaining to your co-worker or sending off a return email you’ll later regret, you pause, weigh your options, and decide whether and how to respond. It’s hard to think of a situation where this process of identifying, pausing, and intentionally choosing wouldn’t be valuable for you.

However, as with most things in life, there is a catch… This type of rewiring takes training and practice. Caring for ourselves and making decisions that support our greatest interests are skills — skills that can undoubtedly be developed if we’re committed to doing the work. And, like most worthwhile life changes, the outcome is well worth the effort!

As you work on sharpening your mindful eating skills, think about what other areas of your life have you started to shift too?