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What Is Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT)?

by Landmark Recovery

November 6, 2019

When it comes to drug and alcohol therapy, there are a number of different types of counseling, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and rational emotive behavior therapy (REBT) are two of the most common forms of therapy used. But, what exactly are these forms of therapy and how do you know if they are effective?

Let’s take a look at what happens during these forms of counseling and how they can help you or your loved one if you are struggling with substance use disorder.


Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT)

Before we begin looking at how this type of therapy can help, let’s take a look at how this type of counseling came to be.


In 1957, Albert Ellis published an article called “Rational Psychotherapy and Individual Psychology” where he set the foundation for what he referred to as rational therapy. The belief behind using rational therapy is that if the goal is to change certain dysfunctional psychological states, such as a depressed mood, we have to look at potential irrational beliefs that they have.

While this idea can be found prior to Ellis’ paper, he was able to accurately explain his viewpoint in a scientifically testable model. Eventually, this type of therapy evolved and changed names to rational emotive behavior therapy.



In general, REBT is an action-oriented psychotherapy that teaches patients to identify, challenge and replace “self-defeating beliefs with healthier ones that promote emotional well-being and goal achievement.”

REBT is an approach that is used to assist individuals in coping with and conquering adversity and achieving goals. During REBT, patients and clinicians will work together to address unhealthy attitudes and emotions such as depression, anxiety, guilt, and more as well as certain behaviors such as aggression or addiction, that can impact a person’s happiness and overall mood.

After identifying these attitudes and behaviors, REBT provides patients a number of methods to help them reformulate their beliefs into more sensible and helpful through a technique called disputing.

Overall, this type of therapy can help restore function and increase effectiveness at work and socially. It can also help with issues such as substance abuse disorder.



There are a number of different methods and techniques that clinicians deploy during their sessions. The main aim is obviously to change the way that clients think.

During treatment, patients are taught to dispute their irrational beliefs by teaching them how to accept themselves despite personal weaknesses that they may feel or notice.



There are a number of obvious goals that come with using rational emotive behavior therapy. The overall goal is to help patients develop a more positive outlook by restructuring these irrational thoughts and beliefs that they hold.

As REBT therapists work to restructure thoughts that will change the feelings or behaviors that a person may feel during therapy.

Obviously, there are a number of goals associated with REBT and these forms of therapy overall, however, how effective is this type of counseling? Is it worth it to pursue?


How Effective Is REBT?

When learning about different forms of therapy and treatment, it is important to seek out treatment that is evidence-based and proven to be effective in achieving the goals that it sets out for.

Findings suggest that REBT is a viable and comprehensive therapy method that has the “potential to promote emotional health and self realization at a societal and individual level.”


Other Forms Of Therapy

Along with REBT, many treatment centers will work to provide patients with the best forms of therapy to help them achieve and maintain long-term sobriety.



Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, or CBT, is one of the most commonly used and most effective forms of therapy to help treat behavioral and mental health issues, as well as addiction. In general, CBT is used to help people when it comes to their triggers. The overall goal of CBT is to help patients identify and overcome the triggers that they feel are contributing to their respective problems, whether it be depression, anxiety, substance abuse, or something else.

Cognitive-behavioral therapy is an approach that is used to help replace a patient’s negative triggers with positive ones that can help them improve these feelings and problems that they may be dealing with.

Overall, CBT is an effective form of treatment and if you are looking into treatment methods to help your loved one overcome addiction or some other problem related to mental health, you should ensure that the treatment facility that you are looking into utilizes a form of evidence-based treatment such as cognitive-behavioral therapy.



Along with cognitive behavioral therapy, dialectical behavioral therapy is another common form of counseling that is used to help people in certain situations. It should be noted that this form of therapy is generally used for people who are dealing with issues like suicidal thoughts, borderline personality disorder, and more.

During DBT, patients will learn things like social skills, dealing with stress, and having healthier interpersonal relationships. During these sessions, patients will work to develop these skills and strategies to help make them feel happier and more of a sense of worth.


Family Therapy

Cognitive-behavioral therapy, rational emotive behavioral therapy, dialectical behavioral therapy, all of these types of counseling are individual. While this method of therapy can be extremely effective in helping patients open their eyes to their issues, group counseling is another tried and true method that can help.

One common form of group therapy that may be used during drug and alcohol treatment is family therapy. It should be no surprise that substance abuse disorder has a ripple effect that affects the entire family unit and loved ones, not just the user. During this type of counseling, families are put through a therapeutically guided process that was designed to assist and support families as they identify and share the impact of substance use from each person’s individual perspective.

This is meant to help the patient understand the reach and effect that their problem has had on their loved ones. Overall, the goals are to improve communication and restore family function.

There are a number of effective forms of therapy that clinicians can use during treatment to help patients learn how to overcome their substance abuse problems and stay on the road to recovery. Learning more about these different types of counseling will help you feel more prepared for when you go to treatment or when you send your loved one to get the help that they need.


Next Steps

If you are searching for a treatment center that can offer you or your loved one the quality care that you need to conquer addiction and substance abuse disorder, Landmark Recovery is one drug and alcohol rehab that can help.

At Landmark, our patients are put through a number of different forms of evidence-based treatments and therapies to give them the highest chance of success. Along with these forms of treatment, there are also things that Landmark offers to help patients with their respective problems. For example, Landmark can offer patients access to a medically assisted detox and can provide them with a discharge plan to help patients following their stay in our inpatient facility.

At Landmark, we will utilize therapies like CBT and REBT to help our patients learn how to overcome urges, avoid relapses, and stay committed to their recovery. If you are interested in learning more about Landmark Recovery and how our Louisville or Indiana drug rehab can help, please visit our website and reach out to our admissions team today.

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About the Author

Landmark Recovery

Landmark Recovery

Landmark Recovery was founded with a determination to make addiction treatment accessible for all. Through our integrated treatment programs, we've helped thousands of people choose recovery over addiction and get back to life on their own terms. We're on a mission to save one million lives over the next century. We encourage all those struggling with substance use to seek professional help.