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Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy Approach to Groups

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Albert Ellis
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Started in 1955-grandfather of Cognitive Behavior Therapy; Father of REBT
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Stresses in REBTuti
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thinking, judging, deciding, analyzing and doing
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Key Concepts
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Assumes that cognitions, emotions and behaviors interact and have a reciprocal cause and effect relationship Is highly didactic, very directive and concerned as much with thinking as with feeling Teaches that our emotions stem mainly from our beliefs, evaluations, interpretations and reactions to life situations Is based on the premise that the way to bring about lasting emotional and behavioral change is for members Stresses action in the real world as a way to change
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Group members learn
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To identify and dispute irrational beliefs that are maintained by self-indoctrination That events do not cause our problems, but our interpretation of these events do (perception is reality) To replace ineffective ways of thinking with effective and rational cognitions To stop absolutistic thinking, blaming and repeating false beliefs (must, should, always) Members are expected to be active and to put into practice into everyday life what they are learning in group
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Ellis View of Human Nature
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We are born with a potential for both rational and irrational thinking We have the biological and cultural tendency to think crookedly and to needlessly disturb ourselves We learn and invent disturbing beliefs and keep ourselves disturbed through our self-talk We need to acknowledge that we are mainly responsible for our own disturbed thoughts, emotions, and actions We have the capacity to change by using a combination of cognitive, emotive and behavioral methods
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Emotional Disturbance
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Blame is core of emotional disturbance, so to recover–stop blaming self and others We escalate desires and preferences into dogmatic and absolutist “shoulds, musts, oughts, demands, commands-which are irrational beliefs that need to be changed They can wear you down.
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Irrational Thoughts/Beliefs
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Irrational ideas lead to self-defeating behaviors Absolute “shoulds”, “oughts”, and “musts” result in our becoming and remaining emotionally disturbed (musterbation)
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ABC Theory of Personality
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When we have an emotional reaction at point C (the emotional consequence), after some activating event at point A, it is not the event itself (A) that causes the emotional state (C), although it may contribute to it. It is the belief system (B) or the beliefs that we have about the event that mainly creates the (C)…B-C Jumps around
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Confronting Irrational Beliefs
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Cognitive restructuring is a central technique of REBT Group members learn how to identify and dispute their faulty ways of thinking
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The process of disputing (D) faulty thinking involves:
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Detecting irrational beliefs and seeing them as unrealistic Debating these beliefs Discriminating between irrational thinking and rational thinking
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REBT Process
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A=existence of fact, event, behavior, attitude of individual B=person’s belief C=emotional and behavioral consequence or reaction of individual D=disputing intervention-challenging beliefs E=Effective philosophy after disputing (evaluating) F=new set of feelings Human beings are largely responsible for creating their own emotional reactions and disturbances Goal: show people how to change irrational beliefs that directly “cause” disturbed emotional consequences
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Role of the Group Leader
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REBT leader teaches members how to challenge their assumptions Leader challenges members’ faulty thinking and teaches them how to apply realistic and constructive thinking to cope with current problems and with future problems Leader uses a variety of cognitive, behavioral and emotive methods (think, feel, act) methods to assist members in modifying their dysfunctional patterns Assumes the role of teacher and mentor Employs a directive role in getting member to commit themselves to practicing in daily life what they learn in group
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Cognitive methods in REBT
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Their beliefs and self-talk keep them disturbed Emphasis on thinking, disputing, debating, interpreting, explaining and thinking
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Cognitive techniques used in REBT groups
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Teaching the ABC’s of REBT Active disputation of faulty beliefs Teaching coping self-statements Pyschoeducational methods Cognitive homework
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Emotive Methods in REBT groups
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multimodal (# of techniques) approach to change variety of cognitive, emotive and behavioral techniques
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Unconditional acceptance
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group leaders model an accepting attitude
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rational emotive imagery
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members vividly imagine the worst thing that could happen and are encouraged to change feelings and respond differently
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use of humor
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laugh at self-defeating beliefs
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shame attacking excercises
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teaches clients to accept themselves in spite of reactions from others (laugh at themselves, not butt of the joke)
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role playing
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involving a cognitive evaluation
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Behavioral Methods in REBT
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Use the entire range of cognitive behavioral techniques Some behavioral methods include: self-managing methods behavioral role playing and role rehearsal homework assignments reinforcement and penalties skills training
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self-talk of group leaders
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can use REBT as a way to identify and challenge their internal dialogue that can get in their way of effectively leading a group
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Advantages with REBT with multicultural populations
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A sensitive leader can challenge members to question messages from their culure Members can learn new ways of thinking and behaving
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Limitations of REBT with multicultural populations
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REBT leader needs to use caution in confronting members too forcefully about their behaviors and beliefs Important for leaders to understand and respect cultural differences and not judge these differences Leaders need to be careful to avoid imposing their belief and values
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Contributions and strengths
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Can be applied to working with a wide range of problems Groups useful in helping members to learn about their self-defeating beliefs and how this influences their current way of acting and feeling The approach stresses the need to put into action newly acquired insights Can be used as a basis for psychoeduation in groups
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Limitations of the approach
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Danger of a leader being inappropriately confrontive Possibility of the leader deciding for members what is “faulty thinking” Concern about the misuse of leader’s power to pressure members and to persuade them to adopt the leader’s views and values