Rational Emotive Therapy (RET)
What is rational emotive therapy?
Rational emotive therapy (RET) generally views human beings as having the potential for both rational and irrational thinking. As a result, RET works by helping individuals accept who they are, and that they will continue to make mistakes, but as they learn to accept themselves making these mistakes, they learn to live at peace with themselves.
RET was originally developed by Albert Ellis in 1955, which originally was a combination of humanistic, philosophical and behavior therapy. Rational emotive therapy views, thoughts, feelings and actions as having a reciprocal cause-and-effect relationship and that all three need to be considered in interactions with others.
How does rational emotive therapy work?
One of the main concepts in RET is that our irrational beliefs are learned from childhood. These irrational beliefs negatively impact our current lives. This pattern facilitates emotional disturbances which may lead to problematic behavior, personality disorders, or neuroses. What we think impacts how we feel because it’s not necessarily the event or situation that we have trouble with but rather how we perceive the event or situation.
The ABC theory of personality is the central concept identified in RET theory and practice.
- A (an activating event or existence of a fact)
- B (your beliefs about that event or existence of a fact)
- C (the emotional and behavioral consequences of your beliefs)
Generally speaking, your belief about an activating event largely causes your emotional reactions and by intervening in this belief system, you can change the consequence.
Common therapeutic techniques and procedures include:
- Disrupting your irrational belief systems
- Doing your cognitive homework
- Changing your language and using humor.
When is rational emotive therapy used?
Rational emotive therapy has been helpful in treating:
- Personality disorders
- Panic disorder
- Mental health disorders
This type of therapy may be used to treat other conditions and concerns in addition to those listed above. It may also be used in conjunction with other treatment methods. Your therapist will work with you to determine the best treatment method for your individual circumstances.
You should be aware that there is no treatment method that is successful for every person. What works for you, may not work for someone else.
What to expect from therapy
Put simply, you will get out of therapy what you put into it. It’s not a magic solution that will solve all your problems. It may involve you doing some real work and being completely honest with yourself and your therapist. Sometimes facing our truth is the hardest thing of all – but from that discomfort can come healing and growth.
Insight’s therapists are available for in-person, online, or telephone counselling at 6 locations in Alberta. Contact us to learn more.