Cognitive Behavioral Therapy


CBT focuses on the development of personal coping strategies that target solving current problems and changing unhelpful patterns in cognitions (e.g., thoughts, beliefs, and attitudes), behaviors, and emotional regulation. It was originally designed to treat depression, and is now used for a number of mental health conditions.


Rational Emotive Behavioral Therapy

REBT employs the ‘ABC framework’ — depicted in the figure below — to clarify the relationship between activating events (A); our beliefs about them (B); and the cognitive, emotional or behavioural consequences of our beliefs (C). The ABC model is also used in some renditions of cognitive therapy or cognitive behavioral therapy, where it is also applied to clarify the role of mental activities or predispositions in mediating between experiences and emotional responses.

ABC model.

The figure below shows how the framework distinguishes between the effects of rational beliefs about negative events, which give rise to healthy negative emotions, and the effects of irrational beliefs about negative events, which lead to unhealthy negative emotions.

Negative events and healthy vs. unhealthy responses.

In addition to the ABC framework, REBT also employs three primary insights:

  1. While external events are of undoubted influence, psychological disturbance is largely a matter of personal choice in the sense that individuals consciously or unconsciously select both rational beliefs and irrational beliefs at (B) when negative events occur at (A)
  2. Past history and present life conditions strongly affect the person, but they do not, in and of themselves, disturb the person; rather, it is the individual’s responses which disturb them, and it is again a matter of individual choice whether to maintain the philosophies at (B) which cause disturbance.
  3. Modifying the philosophies at (B) requires persistence and hard work, but it can be done.
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