Rational Emotive Behavioral Therapy for Depression

Depression is a serious mental health illness that can significantly interfere with one’s quality of life. However, research has made it easier to diagnose and treat depression. By further understanding the causes of depression, medical professionals have had the opportunity to develop numerous effective treatments for patients who deal with depression.

Physicians do not recommend their patients to solely rely on medication to manage their illness for fear of drug dependence, addiction, negative health effects and more, and many people are now in favor of finding other non-medicinal forms of treatment in hopes to live a life without being in a “drug-induced state.” One of the many effective treatment options for depression is Rational Emotive Behavioral Therapy (REBT).

What Is Rational Emotive Behavioral Therapy?

REBT is based on the theory that when individuals become depressed, it is not the events or circumstances in life that cause these feelings, rather it is held beliefs that cause their feelings whether they be anger, depression, anxiety, fear, etc.

REBT supports the idea that one’s beliefs cause him or her to be upset not the events themselves. REBT also believes that the majority of individuals wantto be happy, but the goal of happiness is often blocked by one’s beliefs.

Albert Ellis, the creator of REBT, suggests that a person’s beliefs determine how one will react emotionally or behave during a certain experience. Further, Ellis states that it is a person’s irrational beliefs that cause him or her to become upset, angry, or depressed.

How Does Rational Emotive Behavioral Therapy Work for Depression?

REBT involves taking three common irrational beliefs and turning them into rational beliefs:

  • I have to be successful and have the approval of others for my performances in order to have worth.
  • Others must treat me, and feel about me, the same way I feel about myself. Others must treat me how I want to be treated; if they don’t, they are worthless and deserve to be chastised or penalized.
  • I have to get what I want, when I want it, and I must never get what I don’t want. If something doesn’t go my way, I am appalled.

These irrational beliefs create feelings of depression, anger, anxiety, fear, aggression, shame and guilt.  By changing these irrational beliefs, supporters of REBT say an individual is able to react to experiences with healthy emotions and behaviors because they will subconsciously think with rational thoughts due to the changes in their beliefs.

In addition, therapists also work to help patients develop unconditional self-acceptance, other-acceptance and life-acceptance. REBT is an effective treatment option for depression because it helps individuals to reduce their emotional pain and stressors that can trigger depression.