Rational-emotive and cognitive-behavior therapy

Theory Application

Grand Canyon University: PCN-500







Theory Application



When examining the case study of Ana, the details provided about her life coupled with the symptoms she is experiencing could be theorized within the somewhat similar conceptual frameworks of the behavioral and rational emotive behavioral therapies. Due to personal beliefs and understanding, I selected the rational emotive behavioral method to provide both an explanation and effective remedy to the issues currently confronted by the client.

Relevant Concepts

Rational emotive behavioral therapy (REBT) is a client based approach, that draws upon both behavioral and cognitive techniques and approaches (Lecture 4, 2014). REBT is centered around the ABC approach to personality, which postulates that events are processed on an individual level, in the confines of personal ideology and beliefs, and this act results in an emotional reaction (Murdock, 2012). In application with the case study of Ana, many of the difficulties could be addressed through identification of stressful factors, and her personal perceptions that are linked to the symptoms of anxiety and depression. To expound, her unemployment experience could be affecting her deeply, due to her own perceptions of what it means to be jobless. Through REBT, Ana’s conceptualization of such outside influences could be shifted to reflect that they are not a significant indication of her self-worth. As these internal changes take place, her feelings about the issues she is currently facing will be rationalized in a manner which causes the lease amount of emotional discomfort.


REBT vs. Other Theories

The central constructs of behavioral therapy present the behavior of the client as the most important factor to be changed (Murdock, 2012). In addition, BT asserts that client behavior is directly correlated to the external environment, and behavior can be strengthened or weakened by positive or negative consequences (Murdock, 2012). In contrast, REBT is rooted in the ideology that people have control over their thoughts and behaviors, though they do not have control over the external factors that influence life (Murdoc, 2012). In Ana’s case, I believe this approach would provide more encouragement and to identify, understand, and shift personal views, as REBT is constructivist, and therefore less analytic and rigid when compared to BT (Murdock, 2012). As researched by Iftene, Predescu, Stefan, and David, REBT was found to be equally as effective in treating symptoms of depression even when compared to pharmacological and cognitive-behavioral modes of therapy (2015). These characteristics strengthen the applicability of REBT as a viable means of rehabilitation for Ana and the issues she is currently facing.

Goals and Intervention Strategies

Through the lens of REBT, the most prominent goals of therapy are to remove irrational beliefs, and resulting dysfunctional behaviors while teaching the client the philosophies of REBT (Murdock, 2012). Some areas to explore with Ana would be her beliefs regarding her current professional situation, her social involvement, and attitudes toward her family and relationships. Perhaps, through exploring these topics, irrational assumptions could be dispelled. One intervention strategy that could be valuable to Ana would be disputing, which is a major component of REBT therapy. When practicing the act of disputing, clients are forced to closely consider their beliefs and assumptions to become aware of their irrational, illogical nature (Murdock, 2012). In addition to disputing, bibliotherapy, reframing, humor, and the integration of rational coping strategies could be used to assist Ana in coming to terms with her personal beliefs that are causing her to cope with anxiety and depression to her surroundings.

Appropriate Term of Therapy

Due to the complex elements of REBT, effective treatment could take a significant amount of time. However, I believe the most important factor, as a directive in appropriate term of therapy, depends largely on the progress of the client, in this case Ana. Therapy should only be concluded when consistent progress is observed over a few sessions, and Ana is able to rationally cope with new sources of stress in her life.

Counselor’s Role

Within the constructs of REBT, the role of the counselor is as complex as the theories upon which the approach is built. The counselor is expected to remain unconditionally accepting, yet authoritative while employing organic personality traits (Murdock, 2012). As common in classic modalities, the counselor is to play more of an instructor role in guiding the client to the acceptable perception of problems. However, the individuality of the client remains an important factor in the process of therapy.

Client’s Role

To provide the maximum benefit, the client is expected to work very hard to understand the philosophies of REBT and implement them into their everyday experiences (Murdock, 2012). The client is also to take on the more submissive role, as the counselor leads them to their best mental state through reworking and questioning harmful core beliefs.


Appropriate Population and Social/Cultural Components

Both BT and REBT are criticized when being evaluated from a cultural and social standpoint, as the emphasis is truly on the thoughts and reactions of the individual client (Murdock, 2012). It could therefore be argued that neither approach is suitable for members of commonly oppressed or discriminated origin, however I believe REBT allows for greater emphasis on some social components to include a relaxed view on sexual orientation when contrasted with BT (Murdock, 2012). Due to Ana’s position, I believe REBT’s more wholesome approach would be more effective in treating Ana, as a lot of her issues seem to source from various relationships in which she is currently active or inactive.

Additional Information

To aid in better administering therapy within the REBT framework, it would be very valuable to discern Ana’s personal values, ideologies, beliefs, and perceptions about herself, the major people in her life, and the world in general. The more information that can be obtained regarding the client, the better understanding the counselor will hold. This leads to a situation where Ana’s irrational thoughts and beliefs can be shifted to a rational state.


The most significant risk of the REBT therapeutic approach lies in the lack of importance placed on societal and cultural influences (Murdock, 2012). As the focal point of REBT is mainly the thoughts and reactions of the client, this could leave some residual underlying issues in relationships with other people, or lead to an extended amount of time in a situation that is simply unsuitable for a person, regardless of their individual beliefs.


As previously expressed, the concepts upon which rational emotive behavioral therapy are built can apply to all people. This theory is amazing in that it holds the ability to allow complete independence from extraneous factors, simply through reconstructing the understanding and thought process of the client. Though it is lacking in social and cultural improvement, this is something that could be added to REBT within an eclectic therapeutic approach.




Iftene, F., Predescu, E., Stefan, S., & David, D. (2015). Rational-emotive and cognitive-behavior therapy (REBT/CBT) versus pharmacotherapy versus REBT/CBT plus pharmacotherapy in the treatment of major depressive disorder in youth; A randomized clinical trial. Psychiatry Research, 225(3), 687-694. doi:10.1016/j.psychres.2014.11.021

Lecture 4. (2014). PCN 500: Behavioral therapy and rational emotive behavior therapy (REBT). Phoenix, AZ: Grand Canyon University

Murdock, N. L. (2012). Theories of counseling and psychotherapy: A case approach (3rd ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education. ISBN-13: 9780132659789.

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