Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT) is a type of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) developed by psychologist Albert Ellis. REBT has been shown to be an effective treatment in anger management. In this post, we’ll get into the subject of Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy for Anger Management.
Emotive Behavior Therapy is useful to not only define the trigger and emotional/behavioral consequence for one’s anger but also to identify the irrational beliefs associated with the anger response.
Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT) emphasizes four categories of irrational beliefs that lead to an angry response. It is important for a Cognitive Behavioral Therapist (CBT) to teach his clients that it is not a specific trigger that causes anger, but once irrational interpretations of the trigger that lead to the anger response.
It is important for a client involved in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) to understand that one of the main goals of treatment is to change his beliefs, more so than the trigger itself.
In Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT) the first type of irrational belief that leads to an anger response is called awfulizing. Clients in treatment for anger management often exaggerates the level of hardship associated with any given trigger. They often view negative events as awful, horrible or terrible, rather than something they do not prefer for something that is unfortunate.
It is the role of a Cognitive Behavioral Therapist (CBT) to teach clients that such evaluations are drastic and not based in reality. Therapy sessions may involve the client coming up with alternative words to describe various situations or triggers; words that are not so extreme. It is common for a Cognitive Behavioral Therapist, especially those practicing Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT) to use, and encourage the client to use, words such as “inconvenient” and “unfortunate,” even “very bad,” instead of extreme words such as horrible or awful.
These are more realistic descriptors of common anger triggers. It is important for a Cognitive Behavioral Therapist not to invalidate the client’s feelings during this process, but acknowledge that they are experiencing a negative emotion work with them collaboratively to come up with alternative ways to describe the triggering event.
Low Frustration Tolerance
The second type of irrational belief that often leads to an anger response, according to the theory of Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy is referred to as a low frustration tolerance (LFT). It is quite common for a client seeking anger management to have a belief that they are unable to tolerate or deal with discomfort or unfairness.
Clients seeking anger management will often say they “can’t stand” certain situations, which is a belief that is not based in reality. A Cognitive Behavioral Therapist helps the client to see that in actuality they can tolerate a situation, just that they do not like it. A Cognitive Behavioral Therapist helps the client to differentiate between not being able to tolerate something and disliking something. This helps the client to see the world more realistically.
A third type of irrational belief that is the target of Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy is called demandingness. Clients seeking Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for anger management are often triggered when another person does not adhere to his desires or dictates. Demandingness places inflexible and rigid demands on oneself or other people, which is not based in reality. Cognitive Behavioral Therapists help clients to understand the difference between a preference and a demand. Demandingness often involves the belief that one should or must behave in a certain way, which is an irrational way of thinking.
People seeking anger management, often present with a tendency to overgeneralize about certain people. They tend to identify an entire person by one behavior. Clients may also identify themselves based on one behavior. A Cognitive Behavioral Therapist helps clients to look at specific behaviors, like ADHD, performed by themselves or other people, rather than generalize or stereotype a person based on when behavior. It is important for people seeking anger management to recognize that all people to good and bad things, and it is unrealistic to judge or characterize a person based on one negative action.
Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy used in anger management has a goal of reducing a clients anger response by first restructuring his irrational beliefs, specifically those irrational beliefs noted above. Beliefs are the way in which people talk to themselves. Teaching clients new semantics of their internal dialogue is a helpful way to restructure their beliefs, and ultimately decrease the anger that results from these beliefs. It is important for a Cognitive Behavioral Therapist to not only emphasize these points within the therapy session but to assign homework assignments for the client to complete throughout the week to practice the skills learned in the session. Clients will over time be able to identify which irrational belief is affecting his emotions and challenges own leads.