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Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy at BWR

Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy is the first form of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, developed by Albert Ellis in the 1950s. In this type of therapy, the therapist actively leads the patient in a directed approach to managing cognition, emotions, and behavior which, according to the REBT modality, are all interconnected.

REBT tends to be a successful treatment for drug addicts and alcoholics and is widely utilized in their treatment. Addiction and alcoholism typically manifest profound denial. In REBT, the denial of reality is challenged, as well as those beliefs that are self-defeating in a direct manner than other types of cognitive behavior therapy (CBT).

Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy is highly focused on the present and attempts to change current patterns of thinking and hard-wired beliefs to prevent the negative behaviors that are elicited by cognition and their associated consequences. It is important to note that Behavioral Wellness and Recovery’s drug and alcohol rehab also utilizes other forms of CBT that probe more deeply into the past, such as schema-based cognitive therapy.

REBT first requires the patient to identify their general beliefs of self, others, and the world. Once completed, the drug and alcohol addiction therapist will guide the patient in identifying which beliefs may be irrational. An example of an irrational belief is that, “I must always eat healthy food, or I’m a failure,” or, “If my friends don’t call me every day that means they are angry at me.” Per Albert Ellis, these general views establish, “basic irrational assumptions.” Patients tend to rigidly protect these beliefs and will be challenged in therapy to look at different viewpoints by being challenged emotionally.

Albert Ellis also established the ABC Model, in which it is believed that negative behavior which produces consequences for the patient or others is not created by the situation, but the patient’s perception of the event. The patient’s perception will induce emotions that lead to the unwanted behavior.

Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT) can be summarized as:

Activating Event



The consequences include negative emotions and behaviors. If an activating (negative) event is perceived by the patient with rational beliefs it can induce healthy emotions. These emotions, while they are still negative emotions, can be utilized to formulate plans, exhibit positive behavior, and to encourage self-growth. Whereas, the negative emotions created by irrational beliefs tend to lead to negative behavior and long-term negative emotions that are unhealthy and can create mental health problems such as anxiety and depression.

REBT can be used for patients who have a mental health diagnosis, as well as patients who are struggling with everyday life stressors. Behavioral Wellness and Recovery treats drug addiction, alcoholism, and dual diagnosis disorders simultaneously and utilizes similar techniques for both.

If you or a loved one could benefit from the services provided by Behavioral Wellness and Recovery’s drug and alcohol rehab, you may contact our Addiction Specialists with questions or for admission information on our 24/7 confidential helpline at 800-683-4457.


Behavioral Wellness & Recovery is a Joint Commission accredited program. The Joint Commission recognizes excellence in health care organizations and programs.


Behavioral Wellness & Recovery is a Joint Commission accredited program. The Joint Commission recognizes excellence in health care organizations and programs.

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West Chester, PA 19380
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