REBT vs. eitheory for the win!


I was recently asked to describe the key differences (and similarities) between eitheory and REBT. I thought I would share the answer with you, if not to send a strong message that if you have any questions, personal or professional, I would be quite happy to try to begin a discussion.

The most important function of eitheory is that its framework is dependent on the application of a bio-psycho-social intervention strategy; something I don’t believe REBT emphasizes.

You are keen to pick up the fact that eitheory borrows from REBT. The essential philosophy of REBT is used to address the “psychological” portion of a bio-psycho-social intervention. REBT (unlike the practice of CBT) expects from its practitioners a level of commitment to holistic emotional and behavioral change that is more likely to have an impact on brain plasticity. REBT requires a persistent focus on cognition and behavior that is more likely than any other cognitive paradigm to strengthen and weaken neuronal pathways. (Of course CBT is issue-specific and is not likely to have that level of impact on the hole structure of the brain.)

I don’t remember Ellis emphasizing much more than cognition and behavior (of which behavior only began to be emphasized in the early 90s.) Unfortunately, other than homework and in vivo exercises, behavior is still very much under emphasized in the practice of REBT. From my experience, the main focus of REBT is on thinking and using the ABCs. The behavior portion of the paradigm is still, from my perspective, under-emphasized.

eitheory places a great deal of emphasis on behavior change by promoting the use of articulated thought. Behavior, in this way, becomes central to the practice of eitheory. Articulated problem identification and articulated disputation are believed to be more beneficial than simply relying on one’s inner thoughts to stay focused on problem solving, e.g., one’s mind has a tendency to wonder. Emphasizing that the entire eitheory problem-solving process be processed out loud is believed to benefit the client on more than one psychological level. In addition, paper and pencil diagramming often fails due to a lack of initiative. Articulated thought appears to be more beneficial than the alternatives. Articulated thought is emphasized in all client contacts.

eitheory emphasizes self help over help from others. eitheory promotes the idea that the “therapist” is more a teacher or guide, student or learner and avoids labels such as therapist or patient. Building one’s skills in social problem solving is believed to be more life-enhancing for the individual. Making the student learner free from dependence on the guide or teacher is also believed to be more life-enhancing.

eitheory uses an educational model, as does REBT. eitheory emphasizes a life-style change, as does REBT (in contrast with CBT which is issue specific and does not require a change in how the individual views h/erself entirely).

eitheory stresses that there is an essential correlation between emotion, the limbic area of the brain and the major organs of the body. REBT does not emphasize this connection. eitheory notes that emotion is not a “thing” unto itself. The expression of emotion includes a variety of other functions of the body that must be addressed as part of the plan for intervention. REBT does not recognize that “in the moment” cognitions are not likely susceptible to change and that change might be left postponed, while neurochemicals and hormones are left to decrement. Planning and commitment to change outweighs immediate change.

I think there are a number of very strong relationships between eitheory and REBT. But it is only a portion of the intervention paradigm. Bio-psycho-social intervention far exceeds the connection the theory has to REBT.

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28 responses

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