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Life Transformation Through REBT (Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy)
By Anuj Chugh
I had recently attended a 4-day course programme at Emoticons India, Pune, India covering Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy which consisted of two levels – Level one in which it is taught how to use this form of psychotherapy on yourself and Level two wherein we were asked to role-play and form pairs of one therapist and one client & perform live therapy amongst each other under the guidance of our mentors. It was an enlightening experience, motivating us to dust ourselves, break the action-behaviour patterns of our previously dull selves or past, if any, or to motivate us to challenge our core assumptions that were based on mostly false premises, and function at even greater levels in basically all that we choose to apply this most simple form of therapy to. Also I have understood from my one and a half decades of exploring and analysing all different forms of self-help that are out there that basically, when you master the art fully - any one art, I must say, in pure unadulterated form - so you have it under your full grip and have been able to attain full mastery, the result is always happiness.
The secret is not the books, the secret is not in the books, the secret is you and when you have attained this happiness through self-mastery, it is yours to keep. The others around you whom you come into contact with or happen to come into contact with, in the day-to-day dealings of your life, tend to become excited about your presence, they want to be around you as they sense something right about you, that you are the one and you have somehow cracked the mental code to your happiness. In reality, it is nothing. It is just the result or the culmination of continued efforts and practice in rational way of thinking, while keeping our beliefs and emotions in check (REBT) through rational thoughts and hence, being able to take charge of your emotions and creating new behaviour patterns that would actually take you somewhere in life, i.e. a place where you would love yourself to be, where hopes, wishes, and dreams do not just remain in fantasy's domain but are either practical, or become practical and well within your reach.
The basic underlying premise of Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy that I like is that your life is precious and you should not be going through the hell you go through, but strive to improve your life conditions, make them better by making yourself wiser. How do you go about doing that? The chief way is to target and attack your core irrational beliefs which are based on false premises. Deep down there is always an unconscious belief harboured that is not true and which causes us hopelessness, sadness, or depression. The role of the REBT practitioner or the REBT therapist is to trace / locate that core belief by probing deep on the recent activating event that have caused distress / cognitive dissonance to the client.
The moment you understand and realize that what you have believed is not true, it hits upon you like a realization and dawns upon you like an enlightenment, like a friend from now on, always be at your side at all times, never to waiver or leave you. The result is you have ultimately become your own therapist and this will lead you to peak performance and lets you unleash your true potential. Once you accept the truthfulness of the new beliefs that are to replace the old ones, you have already instantly made yourself stronger at a cognition level, then at feelings or emotional level and finally, at the behaviour level, which is bound to follow in this sequence as it is in the nature of things.
The uproot of self-created miseries from the past happenings of your life is only possible through persistent efforts and consistent use of REBT or a deep effort in a rational way of life. Let's face it – you can't modify any of it that has happened to you in the past, or your beliefs at that time or the consequences of it. But with this new awareness of REBT toolkit, its methods and techniques as your saviour, you do in my opinion find a long lasting support to perform your best in all your dealings of life. REBT hence, in my opinion, is a transformative catalyst for you to negate the mental conditioning of your past, environmental influences & behaviours and actions of others towards you, which may have wrongly affected you as you amplified / magnified them in your mind. Hence, transferring the power back to you and as a result, your destiny in your own good hands.
We can see from the sheer volume of books, resources and articles that are published every year in every part of the world that success, happiness, achieving our goals, moving on and moving ahead in life are universally accepted and taken as a serious business and why not - of what worth then a human life would be otherwise, than just a rotting and decaying piece of flesh? All such self-help reading / audio / audio-visual material always have a rational approach and are attacking and targeting our belief in some form or the other and many people who do not take much aid of these material but are otherwise happy and successful, take enough care by nurturing healthy beliefs. So I would say, REBT is already or can be placed at the root of all methods, from which all methods can be derived – be it any area of life.
To conclude this, I would say that REBT wisely and strongly teaches us proportionality, i.e. to keep things in their right perspective and gives us a permanent, renewed vigour and zeal for life. The goal of REBT, I would phrase as – "To co-op up in all the conditions of life without losing your aspirations."
Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy (REBT) developed by Dr Albert Ellis in 1955 has truly been a gift and a boon to humanity and the world, and in my opinion it's truest potential should be tapped by people from all walks of life, across all industries and from all departments by challenging the now-defunct beliefs and assumptions and by resolving disputes, animosities and bad blood which are destroying our societies, institutions and organisations and also pose a threat to our civilization.
"Herald a much needed Golden Age to this world and do what's supposed to be done. Ideal way of life consisting of all-inclusive growth and the final understanding of humanity that overconsumption, reckless exploitation, endless lust for growth and excessive greed hampers humanity's own progress. What is not healthy for oneself is not healthy for the planet and vice versa. Be open-minded and get rid of this mental illness and disease which is destroying lives, yours and others."
My intent of writing this detailed article is the hope that my readers would cut to the chase and know how and where to start changing and transforming without further ado. Though they may want to start reading more about REBT or start exploring about it on the web, I don't recommend it. As I have remarked earlier, ultimately books are not going to change your life or live your life for you. I hope I have been succinct and to the point of what I wanted to convey. Still, to satisfy the reader's curiosity, I leave you with this definition of REBT from Wikipedia which is dry and only consists of technical terms that do not excite us in any way:-
"Rational emotive behavior therapy (REBT), previously called rational therapy and rational emotive therapy, is a comprehensive, active-directive, philosophically and empirically based psychotherapy which focuses on resolving emotional and behavioral problems and disturbances and enabling people to lead happier and more fulfilling lives."