Behavioral Therapy and Rational Emotive Behavior Theory

Institutional Affiliation
Behavioral Therapy and Rational Emotive Behavior Theory Overview
Behavioral Theory
Key concepts
The behavioral theory is considered as an attempt to elucidate human
personality. The theory conflicts with the Humanistic theory and the
Psychoanalytic in a number of ways. The most important way is how each
theory argues the formation of human personality (Trifiletti et al.
2005). According to the behavioral theory, behavior and personality are
shaped and molded by sub-cultural and cultural conditioning. This means
that, human beings have their lives determined as he is a product of a
culture that moulds him. From this, we can therefore argue that the
theory is deterministic.
Behaviorism is a term used to denote the psychology school founded by
Watson. The school was founded on the basis that behaviors can be
measured, trained or changed. The term came into being with the
publication of the classic paper Psychology by Watson. Behaviorism has
an interesting theory and definition. Basically, it is a learning theory
that believes behaviors are acquired through conditioning. Conditioning
is as a result of one interacting with his environment. According to the
theory, behavior is something that can be deliberated and measured
systematically without the behaviorist having to consider the mental
state of every individual (Trifiletti et al. 2005).
Therapy according to the behavioral theory, works on the principle of
learning including the processes and methods of learning (conditioning,
desensitization, reinforcing, imitation, aversion therapy and modeling).
The theory denies individuals free will. This gives the readers an
insight that the theory does not consider forces or energy from outside
(Trifiletti et al. 2005). Typically, the theory believes that a normal
behavior comes from the right conditioning, modeling and reinforcing
whereas abnormal behavior is as a result of defective conditioning,
modeling and reinforcing.
Key Theorists
This type of a theory has been endorsed by a number of famous
psychologists including Skinner, B.F. and John Watson. Other theorists
include Sigmund, Sigmund Freud and B.F. Skinner. In the first half of
the twentieth century, psychology was dominated by behavioral theories.
Today, the theory is used to help clients learn new behavior and skills.
Appropriate Populations for the Theory
This theory targets a growing population who are trying to shape their
behaviors. Behaviorism helps, this individuals mold themselves through
the processes of learning.
Inappropriate Populations for the Theory
The theory does not target the people with good behaviors. This can be
explained by the fact that the theory aims at shaping those with
undesirable behaviors.
Therapist’s Role
The therapist is supposed to help the client rectify their behavior by
employing the processes and methods of learning (conditioning,
desensitization, reinforcing, imitation, aversion therapy and modeling).
Client’s role
The role of the client is to follow the instructions given by the
therapist to help achieve the aim of the learning process.
Theory Strengths
Behavioral theories try to change and comprehend human behaviors.
According to some theorists for instance, Sigmund Freud associate
behavior to the unconscious. Apparently, the theories address bad
behaviors from their mental source. On the other hand, other theorists
as B.F. Skinner perceive behavior as a set that can be altered through
reinforcing. Irrespective of the differences in the behavior theories as
stated by various theorists, they serve the same purpose of changing
behavior, ensuring greater self confidence and improving self-belief.
Additionally, behavioral theories are used to enforce change in both the
short and long-term. Good behavior is used to ensure positive behavior
in a classroom setting. Students are seen to work individually or
cross-team so as to attain certain given privileges. Apparently, the
behavioral theories that practice an affirmative reinforcement
demonstrate positive consequences in the long-term. Behaviorism has two
types of conditioning. They include Classical and Operant conditioning.
Classical conditioning is employed in a behavioral training whereby an
innate stimulus is followed by a response. Later, a previous neutral
stimulus is joined with the innate stimulus. An individual responds to
the neutral stimulus even in absentia of the natural stimulus. This
technique was introduced by the physiologist IvanPavlov. The Operant
conditioning is also known as instrumental conditioning. This method of
learning involves rewards and punishments in the learning process. It
helps an individual link a particular behavior with its consequences.
Theory Limitations
The behavioral theory has a number of limitations. According to critics,
the theory is a one dimensional move towards comprehending human
behavior. Secondly, behaviorism does not take into consideration the
internal influences and free will of the client such as their feelings,
moods and thoughts. Besides, behaviorism does not regard other forms of
learning, particularly the learning that does not include punishment and
reinforcement. It is clear that, animals as well as individuals adapt
easily to their behavior if new data is introduced irrespective of a
previous behavior pattern having been acquired through punishment and
Evidently, the behaviorists do not consider if the developmental
processes influence human behavior. When treating a client, behaviorists
do not take into consideration the feelings, imagination, thoughts or
emotional experiences of the patient. The behaviorist believes that, if
the patient studies understanding his environment and interacting with
it, then he should be in a position to understand his behavior. The
behaviorist also believes that if a behavior is learned then it can be
unlearned if need be. This is by employing techniques such as
conditioning, aversion therapy, desensitizing and assertive training.
Key terms
The behavioral theory is considered as an attempt to elucidate human
personality. It is a learning theory that believes behaviors are
acquired through conditioning.
Is the theory Research based?
Behaviorism is researched based. This is because the theory bases on
behaviors (Trifiletti et al. 2005). As such, it is easy to measure,
quantify, and collect data when carrying out a research. Effectual
therapeutic modus operandi including intensive behavioral intervention,
token economies, behavior analysis, as well as separate trial training
is all entrenched in behaviorism. Studies indicate that these approaches
are important in changing undesirable behaviors in both children and
Rational Emotive Behavior Theory
Key Concepts
Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT), formerly referred to as
rational emotive therapy, is a broad, active-directive, practical and
idealistic founded psychoanalysis that centers on determining behavioral
and emotional predicaments as well as disturbances (Ellis & Dryden,
2007). This as a result assist individuals lead satisfying and cheerful
Pioneers of specific basic characteristics of rational emotive behavior
theory have been acknowledged in different prehistoric theoretical
traditions, such as Stoicism. The primary key publication of Ellis that
focuses on rational therapy for instance, explains the theoretical
foundations of the theory as the standard that individuals are seldom
impacted psychologically by external factors (Ellis & Dryden, 2007). To
a certain extent, individual’s attitudes and perceptions regarding
external events and factors is what affects them mentally.
Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy is build on the rationale that
dysfunctional and illogical patterns and manners of behaving and
thinking contribute to individual disturbance, as well as behavioral and
emotional social and self misery (Ellis & Dryden, 2007). The teaching of
the theory is that after desires, wishes, and preferences are turned
into ostentatious, then defeatism dictates, a factor that results into
upsetness and disturbance. The theory state that dysfunctional beliefs
in individuals’ behavioral system contributes to crooked, uninformed
and impractical misrepresentations and presumptions in how they think
(Ellis & Dryden, 2007). As a result, REBT primarily teaches that persons
are likely to distress and worry themselves when they make excess use of
dogmatic and absolutistic ‘ought’s’, and ‘should’. The theory
speculates that disturbances take place as a result of
overgeneralization. This encompasses globalization and exaggeration of
traits or happenings, and specifically unwanted traits or happenings. In
most cases people are defined by their supposed misdemeanors and errors.
Bigotry and disturbance take place when things are perceived to be
tedious, hard or painful surpassing one’s capability to deal with
them. The concept of ‘secondary interruption’ is also significant to
the theory.
Key Theorists
Albert Ellis is the theorist behind the creation and development of
REBT. He is an American psychologist and therapist stimulated by Roman,
Greek, Asian, and contemporarily philosophers and their teachings. Ellis
developed the theory in 1950s and since then, it has undergone various
developments until the year 2007, when he died. The theory was among
the initial cognitive behavior therapies (Ellis & Dryden, 2007).
Appropriate Populations for the Theory
The populations targeted by the theory are those who are psychologically
disturbed or up-set. These individuals’ behavioral system contributes
to crooked, uninformed and impractical misrepresentations and
presumptions in how they think.
Inappropriate Populations for the Theory
REBT does not target individuals who are living a cheerful and a more
satisfying live. This is based on the evidence that the theory targets
persons who are psychologically or emotionally disturbed or upset and
teaches them to live happy and fulfilling lives.
Therapist’s Role
The main duties of the counselor or the therapist encompass
understanding the concerns of the clients and thereafter, work as an
encourager, a teacher and as a facilitator.
Client’s Role
In order to be better REBT puts forth that client should put their
effort and this encompasses doing a number of activities given by the
facilitator. This helps in empowering the clients, a factor that makes
them face their future hardships with courage.
Theory Strengths
The theory has a number of strengths. For instance, it assist clients
make out how they upset themselves as a result of unnecessary reasons.
REBT also teaches clients how they can un-upset and empower themselves
with an aim of leading a fulfilling and happier life. The theory
stresses on the ways of establishing a thriving shared remedial
association founded on its educational model (Ellis & Dryden, 2007). In
addition, REBT works collaboratively, philosophically and humanistically
on the foundations of individuals’ point of view (Ellis & Dryden,
2007). Further, the theory makes use of a consistent and an incorporated
methodology of emotive-experiential, cognitive in addition to behavioral
Theory Limitations
The limitations of the theory can be obtained of its criticism. REBT
according to some critics is formulaic, harsh, and it fails to tackle
deep fundamental predicaments. The theory’s perception of rationality
has also been questioned by radical constructivists. They argue that
logic and reason are individual property and they cannot be impartially
Key Terms
Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT) is a broad, active-directive,
practical and idealistic founded psychoanalysis that centers on
determining behavioral and emotional predicaments as well as
Is this Theory Research-based?
It is true to say that Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy has a strong
and considerable research foundation aimed at validating and supporting
the theoretical underpinnings and psychotherapeutic effectiveness. A lot
of scientific empirical research and experimental studies have confirmed
the theory to be efficient in the treatment of numerous types of
psychopathology predicaments. Randomized clinical trials are an example
of research that has provided a positive perception of the efficiency of
the theory (Ellis & Dryden, 2007). Generally, REBT is perhaps among the
most researched theories and substantial clinical experience and
psychological study have confirmed most theoretical assumptions of the
theory on psychotherapy and personality.
Ellis, A. & Dryden, W. (2007). The Practice of Rational Emotive Behavior
Therapy (2nd ed.) Springer Publishing.
Trifiletti, L.B., Gielen A.C., Sleet, D.A. & Hopkins, K. (2005).
Behavioral and social sciences theories and models: are they used in
unintentional injury prevention research? Health Educ. Res. 20:298- 307.