Rational Emotive Theory is a type of psychotherapy that is active-directive, comprehensive, empirically, and philosophically based (Ellis, 2004). It focuses on behavioral and emotional disturbances and problems thereby making it possible for people to live more fulfilling and happy lives. In this case, a client aged 24 years by the name Ana is experiencing anxiety and depression. The reason is that she feels there is lack of support from her family and friends, financial difficulties due to loss of her job, her husband has been deployed overseas, and she has to raise their baby all by herself. The rational-emotive theory is appropriate for this case as what contributes to Anas psychological problems are her patterns of thinking, feeling, and behaving which can be said to be dysfunctional and irrational leading to despair. The reason why I believe this theory is appropriate for this case is that I think Anas psychological problems are a result of irrational thoughts and beliefs which are the focus of the rational emotive theory. Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT) bases the resolving of psychological problems on removing the causes mentioned. Therefore, the goal of REBT will be to change the core general irrational beliefs thereby evolving Anas specific cognitions that are involved in the causation of her anxiety and depression.
The use of REBT is a short-term therapy with long-term effects. The therapy utilizes various techniques to help patients cope with their psychological and emotional problems. REBT is a cognitive behavior therapy that involves psychoanalysis and behavior therapy (David, 2014). It aims to improve how patients feel and make them feel better about themselves and situations around them and to ensure that the stay better. For Ana, REBT will be a short-term therapy that will seek to address her psychological problems by activities that will aid the change of her thinking patterns.
The role of the counselor when using REBT is to assess the clients irrational beliefs that lead to the depression and anxiety. Through establishing a collaborative therapeutic alliance with the client, the counselor should listen to the clients opinions and perspectives to determine what pattern of thoughts, feelings or behavior lead to the psychological problem. For Ana, the counselor should find out what makes her think that her family and friends do not adequately support her for instance. The first step the counselor should take is to help Ana stop awfulizing her situation. The counselor should understand the clients concern and act as a teacher, facilitator, and encourager (Rational-emotive Behavior Therapy, n.d). The counselor should help the client see how she has learned to upset herself unnecessarily. Anas experiences may be frustrating, but they are what happens to many people. The difference is that Anas feelings, thoughts, and behavior is different from what would be rational and thus results in depression and anxiety. The counselor should identify the irrational thought pattern. Ana has catastrophizing thoughts. She worries herself a lot about the idea that something terrible could happen to her husband. The counselor should try and help Ana change her views regarding this. Another irrational thought pattern Anna shows is frustration intolerance. Although Ana has had many experiences that are frustrating such as losing her job and having to raise their child all alone, she does not resort to what the rational reaction would have been which is adapting to the changes. The frustrations wear her down and give her self-defeating thoughts. The counselor should employ multimodal and disputing methodologies in the therapeutic process. The purpose of this is to help Ana challenge, dispute and question self-defeating behaviors, emotions, and cognition. Above all, the client should be empowered to become capable of supporting herself even with adversities she may have to encounter in the future.
During therapy, the clients contribution is critical to the success of the process. Ana; for instance, has the sole responsibility of expressing the nature of her problem to the counselor for the counselor to determine the possible causes of her emotional and psychological disturbances. The accuracy of the counselors assessment solely relies on the information given by the client. Anna has to participate in the therapeutic process by being forcefully and actively involved. She has to be willing to carry out the day to day activities that may be assigned to her as part of the therapy. Also, she needs to be prepared to unlearn her thinking patterns and be ready to replace them with new ones that are encouraging and rational.
REBT is most appropriate for the population with clinical psychological problems. They include people experiencing depression, addiction disorders, anxiety disorders such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), social anxiety, stress management, personal growth, sexual abuse recovery, e.t.c. REBT is suitable for this category as according to it, it is not situations that determine how people feel and behave but rather peoples behavior and feelings are a consequence of what they choose to believe about their circumstances and themselves (Rational-Emotive Behavior Therapy, n.d). The psychological concerns are all a result of an experience. REBT addresses the cultural needs of clients by making a connection between the existing cultural beliefs and emotions. REBT addresses the concern that issues an individual has may lead them to feel that are incompetent and they feel vulnerable and not in control thereby view themselves as lacking social capital. The individual feels that if they are not able to prevent something terrible from happening the society will discard them. REBT seeks to change this by encouraging people with this problem to do what they can in preventing bad things from happening, and if they are unable to do so, they should have the grace to accept things. REBT addresses the social needs of clients. Most clients of which Ana is an example, tend to feel depressed because they think that their partners, friends or family do not love them. REBT encourages the clients to change their perspectives regarding this. It emphasizes the focus on the things an individual can do, such as loving rather than being loved. Also, about frustrations, REBT encourages people to try and change their thoughts about things that frustrate them. For instance, Ana should change her thinking that the loss of her job is something horrible and instead try to control the situation by adapting to her new job.
Additional information about the nature of Anas relationship with her husband would be invaluable in the determination of the causes of her emotional and psychological problems. Also, information on how close Ana is to her friends and family would be essential. The information will help establish whether issues in her relationships is a cause for Anas problems. The risk involved in using REBT is that the model could be harsh, formulaic and fails to address underpinning problems (Ziegler, 2016). The problem with this is that permanent solutions cannot be found. Also, what the model may regard as rational could be disputed as what is rational or irrational could differ among people.
Finally, the use of REBT is the most appropriate theory in resolving Anas case. The reason is the concepts of this approach is relevant to Anas case. Counselling aims to change irrational beliefs. REBT is a short-term behavioral therapy. REBT is appropriate for people with depression relate problems. Both the counselor and the client have roles to play for successful application REBT. There are risks involved in the use of REBT which could affect the efficiency of the theorys application in resolving psychological problems.
David, D. (2014). The Empirical Status of Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT) Theory & Practice. Albertellis.org. Retrieved 10 December 2017, from http://albertellis.org/pdf_files/The-Empirical-Status-of-Rational-Emotive-Behavior-Theory-and-Therapy.pdf
Ellis, A. (2004). Why rational emotive behavior therapy is the most comprehensive and effective form of behavior therapy. Journal of Rational-Emotive & Cognitive-Behavior Therapy, 22(2), 85-92. http://dx.doi.org/10.1023/b:jore.0000025439.78389.52
Rational-Emotive Behavior Therapy. Lcswethics.com. Retrieved 10 December 2017, from http://lcswethics.com/texts/rebt.html
Ziegler, D. (2016). Defense mechanisms in rational emotive cognitive behavior therapy personality theory. Journal of Rational-Emotive & Cognitive-Behavior Therapy, 34(2), 135-148. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10942-016-0234-2
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