Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT)

Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT) helps replace unhealthy behaviors with healthy ones. For more, contact Hawaii Island Recovery.

Hawaii Island Recovery offers Evidenced-based Clinical treatments such as Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT).

Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy originated in the mid-1950s by Dr. Albert Ellis and is considered one of the original cognitive-behavioral therapies that helps address dysfunctional emotions, behaviors, and beliefs that can drive addiction and other disorders. 

What Is Rational Emotive Behavior?

Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT) is a ”humanistic cognitive-behavioral approach.” It is defined by The Albert Ellis Institute as “an action-oriented approach to managing cognitive, emotional, and behavioral disturbances.” 

Rational emotive behavior can be defined as one’s own thoughts that can lead to self-sabotage and unhealthy or self-destructive behaviors. 

REBT and Substance Use Disorders 

According to research by Dr. Ellis in the “Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy For Addictions” Instructor’s Manual, a therapist can help someone with a substance use disorder identify the irrational thoughts and behaviors that led to the addiction and help them change the way they process their reaction to people, places, or situations by using the main principles of REBT. These principles are:

  • Activating: the person, place, or situation that triggers a negative response or behavior
  • Belief: the beliefs or behaviors a person develops in response to the person, place, or situation that has occurred
  • Consequences: the resulting effects from the beliefs or behaviors that occurred in response to the person, place, or situation that triggered a negative behavior

For those suffering from substance use disorders (SUD), REBT is an effective and powerful tool in addiction recovery, as it challenges the irrational beliefs and self-destructive constructs that may prevent you from having a successful recovery. 

woman meditating on beach - REBT and substance use disorders

How Can REBT Help Challenge Irrational Beliefs?

In Dr. Ellis’ ABC model, the letter “D” stands for dispute. With “dispute,” one is encouraged to turn irrational beliefs into rational ones.

Dispute is an important function in challenging one’s rational beliefs to help change the negative thought patterns of an individual. The purpose of “dispute” is to decrease the negative or unwanted feelings or behaviors that may lead to destructive actions. 

There are three main steps to help you change and challenge your negative belief constructs when it comes to dispute. According to the article “Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy” by The American Addictions Centers, these steps are outlined as follows:

#1. Detect. Detect means becoming self-aware and taking notice of one’s thoughts and beliefs. Once you become aware of what you believe, try to gain an understanding of why you believe or think a certain way, how you developed these thoughts, and how these beliefs help you in life. 

#2. Debate. After you’ve identified the belief, begin to question the foundation of your beliefs. Are they centered around things that are accurate or inaccurate? Weigh the pros and cons of your beliefs; this will help lead you to the final step in the process, to “decide.”

#3. Decide. Now that you’ve identified your beliefs and weighed the pros and cons of the foundations of these beliefs, it is time to decide if these beliefs are rational or irrational. One of the best ways to make this final decision is to examine the consequences of your beliefs. Beliefs that lead to negative or wanted outcomes can be classified as irrational in Dr. Ellis’ model. 

If you are having trouble deciding if your beliefs are rational or irrational, or if you’re unsure if your belief constructs are causing negative behaviors, thoughts, or consequences, please see guidance from a counselor or healthcare professional. 

The Goal of REBT

According to Frontiers in Psychology, the goal of REBT “is to reduce irrational beliefs in favor of rational beliefs, encouraging decreases in unhealthy negative emotions and increase healthy negative emotions.” Instead of displaying unhealthy negative emotions when difficult situations arrive, those emotions would be replaced with health negative emotions. 

According to the “ABC’s” of REBT, examples of healthy negative emotions versus unhealthy negative emotions include:

  • Sadness vs. Depression
  • Anger vs. Rage
  • Remorse vs. Shame or Guilt
  • Concern vs. Anxiety
  • Love vs. Codependence
  • Hope vs. Apathy
  • Distaste vs. Disgust
  • Yearning vs. Envy
  • Happiness vs. Mania
  • Desire vs. Addiction

REBT has been effective for the following conditions:

Recognizing the differences between healthy and unhealthy negative emotions will help you examine why you hold certain beliefs about people, places, situations, or circumstances that evoke negative emotions and/or behaviors. When you start to actively consider why you feel certain emotions, you can begin to change your thought patterns and develop healthy coping skills, leading to healthier negative thoughts when difficult situations arise.

Benefits of REBT include: 

  • Better quality of life
  • Overall improvements in health and well-being
  • Development of healthy coping skills
  • Decrease in levels of anxiety, stress, and depression
  • Improvement in social behaviors with others

Find Help at Our Hawaii Recovery Center 

At our treatment centers in Hawaii, we offer residential treatment programs for a minimum of 30 days to 90+ days, depending on medical necessity. We provide comprehensive, evidence-based treatment for substance abuse and co-occurring mental health disorders.

Residential Treatment Services

Because each person’s needs are different, a customized treatment plan is created with the patient’s input that succinctly reflects their goals and outlines their unique path to recovery. We offer a variety of therapeutic modalities to support our client’s mind, body, and spirit. In addition, we offer experimental and cultural programming, as well as holistic therapies to help support your recovery needs. 

Learn more about our addiction treatment services and how we can help you live your life free of substance abuse, need, and dependence.

Addressing the root causes of a person’s addiction is an essential component to lasting recovery. Learn how Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT) can help turn self-destructive thoughts and behaviors into healthy ones. Call Hawaii Island Recovery today at (866) 390-5070.

Get Help Today!

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