Aaron Beck's Rational-Emotive Behavior Therapy

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Traditional CBT encompasses various psychotherapeutic approaches that are based in the fundamental theory that a persons thinking is the fundamental factor influencing emotional and behavioral responses to life situations. CBT originated during the 1950’s and 1960’s and was popularized with the works of Albert Ellis’s Rational-Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT) and Aaron Beck’s Cognitive Therapy (Robertson, 2010). Both models stressed that cognitions, in the form of judgments, meaning, attributions, and assumptions tied to life events, are the primary factors that determine how individuals respond to environmental cues (Robertson, 2010). Today, CBT incorporates both cognitive and behavioral techniques. There are different derivations of CBT, but the different variations all share three assumptions for the mechanisms of change. The first assumption is that cognitive activity affects behavior. The second assumption is that cognitive activity may be monitored or altered. The third assumption is that the desired behavior change may be affected through cognitive change (Robertson, 2010). All CBT variations share the theoretical perspective that internal, covert processes including thinking, or cognition occur, and that cognitive events may mediate behavior change. In therapy, the clinician and client take an active approach in addressing thinking, assessing the validity and functionality of thoughts, and formulating a more rational, logical, realistic approach to interpreting one’s reality (Robertson, 2010). Unlike traditional CBT, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) tends to de-emphasize direct cognitive and emotional change strategies, and instead employs an ongoing cultivation of psychological defusion and acceptance (Herbert & Fo... ... middle of paper ... ...d “look on the bright side” in difficult situations to improve their distress, or cultivate “positive attitudes” which may lead to better performance and more positive behavior. The causal effects of cognitions on affect and behavior are a fundamental focus such that interventions are targeted at distorted, dysfunctional, and maladaptive cognitions. In ACT, a major feature is the decoupling of subjective experience from overt behavior (Hayes, 2004). Cognitions and other subjective experiences are not thought of as causally linked to behavior, as one can behave in ways that do not align with their cognitions or affective states. Instead, ACT emphasizes changing the relationships between cognitions and behaviors, rather than changing the content of the cognitions themselves. Through acceptance and defusion strategies, individuals can gain psychological flexibility.
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