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Ellis recommends a selectively eclectic approach to therapy, used strategies interchangeably in no systematic way but according to the need of the hour. Following are the strategies that are common in use, as the name suggest it includes Cognitive Techniques Emotive Techniques Behavioral Techniques


Cognitive Techniques aims at teaching clients how to deal with self statements so that they no longer believe them and encourage them to acquire a philosophy based on reality. 1. Rational analysis 2. Disputing irrational belief 3. Changing ones language 4. Reframing

RATIONAL ANALYSIS It is the first step in REBT, analyses of specific episodes to teach the client how to uncover and dispute irrational beliefs. These are usually done in session at first; then, as the client gets the idea, they can be done as homework.

DISPUTING IRRATIONAL BELIEFS It is actively disputing clients irrational beliefs and teaching them how to do this challenging on their own. Client go over a particular must, should or ought until they longer hold that irrational belief or at least until it is diminished in strength. Disputing with irrational beliefs can be done both by the therapist and the client.

CHANGE IN LANGUAGE REBT contends that imprecise language is one of the cause of distorted thinking processes. Clients learn that musts, shoulds and oughts can be replaced by preferences.

REFRAMING Another strategy for getting bad events into perspective is to re-evaluate them as disappointing, concerning, or uncomfortable rather than as awful or unbearable. A variation of reframing is to help the client see that even negative events almost always have a positive side to them


Emotive Techniques helps the clients to understand the value of unconditional self acceptance and unconditional others acceptance, even though the behavior may be difficult to accept, they can decide to see themselves and others as worth while. 1. Rational-emotive imagery 2. Role playing 3. Shame attacking exercise 4. Use of force and vigor

It is a form of intense mental practice designed to establish new emotional patterns by making the clients imagine themselves the worst thing that could happen, unhealthy and upset feelings, intense experience of feelings and changing them to healthy and positive feelings. As clients change their feelings about adversities, they stand a better chance of changing their behavior in the real situation.

ROLE PLAYING There are both emotional and behavioral components in role playing. Clients can rehearse certain behaviors to bring out what they feel in a situation with the therapist in a presumed environment. The focus is on working through the underlying irrational beliefs that are related to unpleasant feelings.

SHAME ATTACKING EXERCISES Ellis has developed exercises to help people reduce shame over behaving in certain ways. When we stubbornly refuse to feel ashamed by telling ourself that it is not catastrophic if someone thinks we are foolish. The exercises are aimed at increasing self-acceptance and mature responsibility.


It is a way to help clients go from intellectual to emotional insight. Clients are shown how to conduct forceful dialogues by reverse role playing in which therapist adopts the clients belief and vigorously argues for it; while the client tries to convince the therapist that the belief is dysfunctional. It is especially useful when the client now sees the irrationality of a belief, but needs help to consolidate that understanding.


Behavioral Techniques are one of the best ways to check out and modify a belief by act. Clients can be encouraged to check out the evidence for their fears and to act in ways that disprove them. The common techniques are 1. Exposure 2. Risk taking 3. Paradoxical behaviour 4. Postponing gratification

EXPOSURE Possibly the most common behavioural strategy used in REBT involves clients entering feared situations they would normally avoid. Such exposure is deliberate, planned and carried out using cognitive and other coping skills.

RISK TAKING The purpose is to challenge beliefs that certain behaviours are too dangerous to risk, when reason says that while the outcome is not guaranteed they are worth the chance.

PARADOXICAL BEHAVIOR When a client wishes to change a dysfunctional tendency, encourage them to deliberately behave in a way contradictory to the tendency. Emphasise the importance of not waiting until they feel like doing it: practising the new behaviour even though it is not spontaneous will gradually internalise the new habit.

POSTPONING GRATIFICATION Postponing gratification is commonly used to combat low frustration-tolerance by deliberately delaying smoking, eating sweets, using alcohol, sexual activity, etc.


REBT is widely used, such as for Anxiety Depression Anger Marital difficulties Poor interpersonal skills Parenting failures Personality disorders Obsessive compulsive disorders Eating disorders Psychosomatic disorders Addiction

Impulse control disorders Pain management Antisocial behavior Adjustment to chronic health problems

Non-clinical Applications Personal growth Workplace effectiveness





the underlying core belief Focus on evaluating the irrational beliefs REBT is often highly directive, persuasive and confrontive


clients current behavior Focus on changing the client's behavior Beck places more emphasis on the client discovering misconceptions for themselves.



REBT has been criticized as, Maladaptive cognitions in disturbed people could be a consequence rather than a cause. The model is narrow in scope as thinking is just one human functioning. It ignores the role of individual differences. REBT is aimed at changing cognitions which is sometimes considered as unethical.



G. (2005). Student manual theory and practice of counseling and psychotherapy. California: Brooks/Cole publishers. Ellis, A., & Harper, R. (1997). Theory and practice of counseling and psychotherapy. California: Thomson Brooks/Cole. DiGuiseppe, R., (1996). The Nature of Rational and Irrational Beliefs: Progress in Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy Michler, F., (2004). Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy: The Basics. National Training Conference