Cognitive Behavioral Theory versus Rational Emotive Behavioral Theory

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Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) rests on the notion that acuity and thoughts influence behavior. It is a procedure of psychotherapy that treats and enhance happiness by transforming dysfunctional behavior, emotion and thoughts (Hayes, 2015). Conversely, rational emotive behavioral therapy (REBT) is a method of therapy that assists one to recognize self-defeating feelings and thoughts, challenge the rationality of these emotions and substitute them healthier, more creative beliefs (Trower & Jones, 2019). However, both psychotherapies have similarities and differences and finally, there is the preferred method due to the evidence of the research.


One of the major similarities between the two therapies is that they both need explicit identification of problems and the circumstances in which they occur. In addition, they both are very structured whereby REBT utilizes the ABC technique while cognitive uses the feelings and self-discovery (Ellis, 2019). Besides, both therapies concentrate on human emotion and behavior, which are correlated to the ideas, beliefs, thinking and attitudes. These elements are said to have strong potency towards attitude transformation (Dryden, 2019). Finally, they are both empirical in that they collect hypothesis or evidence about the thoughts, guide patients and resolve problems in the end.


Despite the similarities, the therapies have their differences. Firstly, REBT concentrates more on the philosophic bases regarding a disturbance with emotions, which makes the treatment powerful. The solution to REBT state is acceptance, where the patient has to accept the condition and the people around them learn to take the situation also (Beck, et al. 2015). This is contrary to CBT where this is not an issue. Secondly, REBT is also concerned with the concept of secondary disturbance involvement. The patient, being cognizant all the time with issues that disturbs them, can be viewed as a necessary factor in having depression, panic attacks and anxiety. REBT considers this while CBT does not follow that principle. Finally, CBT focuses majorly on uplifting the esteem of the patient while REBT encourages self-acceptance (Dobson & Dobson, 2016). In other words, CBT identifies the person’s weakness and rate their behavior while REBT opens the patient’s eyes and see the positive view of their situation.

Preferable cognitive therapy

The preferred therapy is REBT because it distinguishes the two major problems which are emotional problems and practical problems. It is preferable because it helps the patient take responsibility for their distress. It helps the patient recognize that neither a negative circumstance nor another person can ever disturb anyone unless they are themselves. The method also helps the patient identify their ‘must.’ This process comes after the patient has accepted their situation. It helps the patient dispute their ‘must’ because the only way one can ever remain disturbed about negativity is by strongly and persistently agreeing with the ‘musts.’ Once the patient has bared them, they can relentlessly confront and question their demands. Finally, it helps the patient reinforce their preference.

In conclusion, research shows that both therapies have something in common as well as differences. However, their basic idea affirms human behavior and emotions are mainly generated by attitude, ideas, thinking and beliefs. The two approaches have shown that they are not generated by the events or the people around the patients. The two methods have shown that transforming the thinking of a person leads to behavioral and emotional change. Finally, this research concludes that REBT is more suitable for a patient that has an emotional and behavioral issue because it helps them deal with the situations first by accepting.



Beck, A. T., Davis, D. D., & Freeman, A. (2015). Cognitive Therapy of Personality Disorders, Third Edition. New York, NY: Guilford Publications.

Dobson, D., & Dobson, K. S. (2016). Evidence-Based Practice of Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy, Second Edition. New York, NY: Guilford Publications.

Dryden, W. (2019). REBT with Diverse Client Problems and Populations. Basingstoke, England: Springer.

Ellis, A. (2019). Early Theories and Practices of Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy and How They Have Been Augmented and Revised During the Last Three Decades. Advances in REBT, 1-21. doi:10.1007/978-3-319-93118-0_1

Hayes, S. C. (2015). The Act in Context: The Canonical Papers of Steven C. Hayes. London, England: Routledge.

Trower, P., & Jones, J. (2019). REBT and Psychosis. REBT with Diverse Client Problems and Populations, 217-239. doi:10.1007/978-3-030-02723-0_11


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