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Cognitive Behavioral Theory (CBT) Versus Rational Emotive Behavioral Theory (REBT)

Cognitive Behavioral Theory (CBT) Versus Rational Emotive Behavioral Theory (REBT)

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Cognitive Behavioral Theory (CBT) Versus Rational Emotive Behavioral Theory (REBT)

While cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and rational emotive behavioral therapy (REBT) have many similarities, they are distinctly different therapeutic approaches. When assessing clients and selecting one of these therapies, you must recognize the importance of not only selecting the one that is best for the client, but also the approach that most aligns to your own skill set. For this Assignment, as you examine the similarities and differences between CBT and REBT, consider which therapeutic approach you might use with your clients.

Rational Emotive Behavioral Theory (REBT) Learning Objectives

Students will:

  • Compare cognitive behavioral therapy and rational emotive behavioral therapy
  • Recommend cognitive behavioral therapies for clients

To prepare:

  • Review the media in this week’s Learning Resources.
  • Reflect on the various forms of cognitive behavioral therapy.

The Assignment

In a 1- to 2-page paper, address the following:

  • Briefly describe how cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and rational emotive behavioral therapy (REBT) are similar.
  • Explain at least three differences between CBT and Rational Emotive Behavioral Theory (REBT). Include how these differences might impact your practice as a mental health counselor. Cognitive Behavioral Theory (CBT) Versus Rational Emotive Behavioral Theory (REBT)
  • Explain which version of cognitive behavioral therapy you might use with clients and why. Support your approach with evidence-based literature.

Note: The School of Nursing requires that all papers submitted include a title page, introduction, summary, and references. The Sample Paper provided at the Walden Writing Center provides an example of those required elements (available at All papers submitted must use this formatting.

The Assignment

In a 1- to 2-page paper, address the following:

  • Briefly describe how cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and rational emotive behavioral therapy (REBT) are similar.
  • Explain      at least three differences between CBT and REBT. Include how these      differences might impact your practice as a mental health counselor.
  • Explain      which version of cognitive behavioral therapy you might use with clients      and why. Support your approach with evidence-based literature. (Please use APA formanting Introduction, summary References, )


Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and rational emotive behavioral therapy (REBT) present psychological approaches to the management of mental health. The application of each treatment option depends on the skill sets of the psychiatrist as well as how best they suit the client’s situation. The two psychotherapeutic approaches are often perceived to be similar. However, even though they share some significant similarities, they also have notable differences. This paper seeks to examine the similarities and differences of cognitive behavioral therapy and rational emotive behavioral therapy (REBT) and recommends the best version of cognitive behavioral therapy to employ on the management of clients mental disorders.

Cognitive behavioral therapy describes a talking therapy that was developed by Aaron Beck to improve mental disturbances by enforcing changes in behavior and thought (Ellis, 2017). It is also employed in the management of physical, anxiety and depressive problems. CBT breaks down problems into small manageable pieces which can be handled effectively. Often, this approach deals with current situations rather than the past as employed in other interventions. The main aim of CBT therapy is to improve the quality of life of an individual as well as the state of mind in practical ways. In this case, it is a goal-oriented, short-term psychotherapeutic approach that employs practical strategies in the resolution of mental and physical problems. Cognitive Behavioral Theory (CBT) Versus Rational Emotive Behavioral Theory (REBT).

Rational emotive behavioral therapy (REBT) describes a psychotherapeutic approach that assists in the identification of self-defeating feelings and thoughts, challenges their rationality and replaces them with productive and healthier beliefs (Turner, 2016). It was developed in the 1950s by Dr. Albert Ellis as the pioneer form of cognitive behavioral therapy (Ellis, 2015). Often, the intervention is applied to current situations to create awareness on the effects of negative emotions and beliefs on one’s wellbeing. After identification of these unhealthy behaviors and actions, it provides a suitable change approach to induce and build productive and positive habits. This facilitates the development of successful professional and personal relationships. As such, it is an action-oriented technique for management of behavioral, emotional and cognitive disturbances.

Similarities between CBT and REBT

CBT and REBT are both structured mental therapy approaches. REBT employs ABC‘s method which is characterized by activation of events, beliefs about the events and the consequences of the event, disputing interventions, effective responses, and new feelings. Similarly, the cognitive behavioral therapy applies a structured approach that entails psychological assessment, reconceptualization, acquisition, consolidation, and application of skills and training, generalization and maintenance and post-treatment evaluation follow-up.

Moreover, both approaches collect evidence regarding the client’s thoughts. This is achieved through professional interactions which help in behavioral observation as well as sharing of experiences, feelings, and activities. The result of both techniques is the effective resolution of problems through the acquisition of evidence regarding thoughts and provision of guidance to patients. They both rely on homework assignments whereby the completion of the assigned tasks creates therapeutic alliances. These assignments help an individual to condition themselves towards the development of healthier habits using self-management behavioral procedures.

They were also developed by trained and practicing psychoanalysts whose ideas came from their uncertainty of the effectiveness of the psychoanalysis and the roles of cognitive processes in emotional disturbances (Ellis, 2017). Rational emotive behavioral therapy is considered to be the pioneer of cognitive behavior therapy which means that their development focused on similar concepts including emotions, thought and behavioral modifications (Ellis, 2015). They are also action-oriented therapeutic approaches that seek to improve the quality of life and wellbeing of clients. Additionally, their notions affirm that human habits and emotions are triggered by thoughts, attitudes, beliefs and ideas and not by events.


Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy’s psychotherapeutic approach is highly confronting, persuasive and directive. Mental psychiatrists engage in extensive talks, providing dictations and instructions regarding the concept of rationality (Ellis, 2017). They also demonstrate irrational actions and explain why they are irrational since clients seek to understand why they behave in a particular manner. On the contrary, Cognitive Behavior Therapy emphasizes self-discovery whereby, reflective questioning is employed to identify an individual’s misconceptions. Mental psychiatrists ask questions which trigger the clients thinking on what they do and why they do those activities. This helps in discovering their irrational beliefs as well as their feelings. The client’s own words are used to resolve their problems through self-expression.

Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy addresses both emotional disturbances and distorted cognitions whereas the cognitive behavior therapy addresses distorted cognitions philosophic basis. REBT entails unconditional acceptance towards profound solution whereby, the client is guided on how to accept themselves, their imperfections and flaws as well as those of other people. Moreover, this therapy encourages unconditional acceptance of life regardless of the unfairness, hassles, and discomforts it brings (Losada et al.,2 015). On the other hand, CBT philosophical basis provides limited approaches to situations following their dismissal of mind-reading.

Consequently, Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy improves an individual’s self-esteem through unconditional self-acceptance (Losada et al., 2 015). This helps the client to understand and accept themselves through self-assessment. However, Cognitive Behavior Therapists reinforces the positive characteristics and habits of the client to boost their self-esteem. The CBT approach attracts pitfalls since the client could be easily discouraged by their failures in areas they believed in a good performance. Cognitive Behavioral Theory (CBT) Versus Rational Emotive Behavioral Theory (REBT). Eventually, the CBT approach to self-esteem could limit risk-taking and increase fear of failure. On the contrary, REBT self-esteem approach encourages self-acceptance including in failed situations and thus encourages risk-taking, preoccupation with proving and smug-complacency which facilitate the enjoyment of tasks by the client.

The differences between rational emotive behavioral therapy and cognitive behavioral therapy pose several impacts on mental health counseling practice. This means that psychiatrists should explore the client’s condition in depth to understand the most effective approach to employ in their treatment. Moreover, these differences limit the application of each intervention to specific cases and with the incorporation of particular skills. For instance, patients with self-esteem issues could be effectively treated using the rational emotive behavioral therapy rather than cognitive behavioral therapy following the role of REBT in fostering unconditional self-acceptance and unconditional acceptance instead of majoring on the client’s strength.

A version of cognitive behavioral therapy I might use with clients

Cognitive behavior therapy improves mental health modification of attitudes, beliefs, and thoughts. It incorporates both the cognitive and behavioral philosophies, and therefore, it is essential in improving mental health. Cognitive Behavioral Theory (CBT) Versus Rational Emotive Behavioral Theory (REBT). Diverse cognitive behavior therapy versions exist in psychiatric nursing practice. These include the stress inoculation training, unified protocol, Mindfulness-based cognitive behavioral hypnotherapy, Moral reconation therapy, structured cognitive behavioral training, Cognitive emotional behavioral therapy as well as Brief cognitive behavioral therapy (BCBT) (Hofmann, & Otto, 2017).

Among these versions, I would prefer the application of structured cognitive behavioral training with my clients. This is because; this approach heavily draws its philosophies from CBT and it asserts that emotions, thoughts and beliefs influence the behaviors of an individual. It also incorporates the psychological and behavior health modalities including those of rational emotive behavior therapy which makes it useful in addressing multiple problems. SCBT is time conscious and seeks to produce positive patient outcomes within a specific period and is therefore helpful in managing addictions associated with food and substances. It is also crucial in the management of anxieties, stress and diabetes conditions which pose significant health concerns in the contemporary health systems. Its application in the reduction of recidivism in criminal psychology makes it more useful in eradicating crime. As such, SCBT is the most appropriate approach to use in clients since it provides a basis for resolving multiple problems.


Cognitive behavior therapy and rational emotive behavioral therapy are psychological approaches to the management of mental and physical conditions. These techniques share several similarities and differences which provide criteria for differential applications. The psychiatrist skills together with the type of situation presented by the client influence the choice of therapeutic approach to employ. Cognitive behavioral therapies are most commonly used in the 21st century following their increased success in the treatment of multiple conditions. Several versions of this intervention exist in healthcare. However, structured cognitive behavioral training provides a basis for the management of numerous health problems promptly. It also incorporates several modalities and draws heavily on the cognitive behavior therapy philosophies making it more efficient and effective to use. Cognitive Behavioral Theory (CBT) Versus Rational Emotive Behavioral Theory (REBT).



Ellis, A. (2015, January). The Evolution of Rational-Emotive Therapy (RET) and Cognitive Behavior Therapy. In Evolution Of Psychotherapy……….: The 1st Conference (p. 107). Routledge.

Ellis, A. (2017). The place of meditation in cognitive-behavior therapy and rational-emotive therapy. In Meditation (pp. 671-673). Routledge.

Hofmann, S. G., & Otto, M. W. (2017). Cognitive behavioral therapy for social anxiety disorder: Evidence-based and disorder-specific treatment techniques. Routledge.

Losada, A., Márquez-González, M., Romero-Moreno, R., Mausbach, B. T., López, J., Fernández-Fernández, V., & Nogales-González, C. (2015). Cognitive–behavioral therapy (CBT) versus acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) for dementia family caregivers with significant depressive symptoms: Results of a randomized clinical trial. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology83(4), 760.

Turner, M. J. (2016). Rational emotive behavior therapy (REBT), irrational and rational beliefs, and the mental health of athletes. Frontiers in psychology7, 1423 Cognitive Behavioral Theory (CBT) Versus Rational Emotive Behavioral Theory (REBT)

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