Rational Emotive Behavioral Therapy for Depression

Rational Emotive Behavioral Therapy for DepressionTwo people can go through the exact same experience with their depression, however one person might view it completely differently than the other. This is exactly what psychologist Albert Ellis started noticing in the 1950’s upon treating his patients. In order to help them through their issues, Ellis designed a new form of therapy – Rational Emotive Behavioral Therapy. REBT become one of the most effective forms of psychological treatment, as it allowed patients to change their perspective on their issues rather than be clouded by irrational thoughts of their depression that would only back-pedal their progress.

The ABC Model

A major part of helping others understand his new behavioral therapy, Ellis developed the ABC Model to show that a patient’s interpretation of their issues is truly what fuels them, rather than the actual trauma itself.

  • Activating Event – An activating event is when something occurs in the environment that the patient thrives in. Usually, it is a negative event that leads to the depression.
  • Beliefs – The patient forms their own beliefs as to what occurred in their environment and hold true to them.
  • Consequence – The patient will experience an emotional response to the event in which their beliefs were formed. The consequence is dictating how the person interprets their beliefs.

The Basic Steps

As the understanding of how irrational thoughts begin to develop, Rational Emotive Behavioral Therapy then goes into their basic steps, where treatment begins in an attempt to heal the depression that is occurring.

  • Identifying irrational thoughts – Just like in every other form of treatment, the first step of REBT is to identify the thoughts and behaviors that are causing problems for a patient. As the therapist and patient begin to talk about the depression, the therapist can begin to point out where irrational thoughts are burying themselves in the patient’s mindset. These irrational thoughts can include avoiding difficult situations to obtain happiness, needing to be the best at everything, or getting angry about other people’s missteps or mistakes, which further the depressive state.
  • Challenging beliefs – Rather than coddling the patient, the therapist must acknowledge their irrational beliefs and challenge them. This means that they are to basically play devil’s advocate and push back at the patient for them to begin to talk about their beliefs and dissect them rather than just accept them and stay depressed.
  • Gaining insight on thoughts – By challenging beliefs with a therapist, a patient can come to a state of mind where they begin to understand that their thought process was not healthy. From there, they can continue their therapy as well as adopt certain hobbies that promote good well-being (such as meditation and yoga) to keep themselves in a place where rationale takes precedence.

When it comes to REBT and depression, many patients find success as it allows the fog to lift over their state of mind, leading to a clear thought process. During their depression, they are not likely to be able to see situations for what they are worth, making certain situations grow more intense and unmanageable. In conjunction with the proper medication, REBT can be an excellent way to help a person understand their depression, heal from it, and prevent it from occurring in the future.

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