Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy was developed by Dr. Albert Ellis in the 1950's. Educators are beginning to rethink how they address behaviour in schools. Slowly we are appreciating that if students are to learn how to better manage themselves emotionally and behaviourally more successfully then REBT has a lot to offer through RATIONAL EMOTIVE BEHAVIOUR EDUCATION
Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy - schools are copping on!
Have you heard a child, colleague
(yourself!) use expressions such as she made me angry, if only the weather were
better, I can’t stand it when things don’t go my way? These kind of self-talk
statements indicate an underlying belief system which precipitates feelings and
behaviours that are not self-helpful and may also be harmful to others. For
those of us who believe that the way we feel and behave is dictated by factors
external to ourselves this will challenge that view and hopefully
provide some food for thought!
A long time ago (100 AD) a person called
Epictetus developed his philosophy about life. The legacy of his wisdom sits at
the core of personal development programs for students, teachers and parents
being implemented in school communities across the land. His message across the
ages to us is this,
are troubled not by things, but by the view we take of them.”
Epictetus was one of many wise folk,
collectively called the stoic philosophers. Their advice and good counsel have
not fallen on deaf ears however. Early last century a young 16 year old began a
life long journey of learning about and personal application of “stoic
philosophy’ in his life. He has since incorporated this into his now famous and
planet wide approach to psychotherapy called Rational Emotive Behaviour
Therapy. I am of course talking about the eminent psychotherapist Dr. Albert
Ellis, considered to be the grandfather of Cognitive Behaviour Therapy. He
formulated his ABC Theory of Emotional Disturbance and began applying it in
practice in 1955.
Our biological inheritance and our early
learning combine and influence the formulation of our core beliefs (our
assumptions, rules for living, our values). REBT asserts that when we think, we
feel and behave; when we feel there is a thought and behaviour linked to that
feeling and so on. It follows then that if what we believe (think) drives our
feelings and behaviours then we have the potential to control (self-regulate)
how we feel and behave! If this is so we can choose to feel and act
self-helpfully, so, as Ellis says, we can achieve the goals we set ourselves.
We do this by having (cultivating, learning) a ‘mindset’, (automatic habits of
thinking) which helps us to live a satisfactory and rewarding life.
The ABC Theory of Emotional
A = Activating event i.e. what happened
B = Beliefs i.e. my constructed
C = Consequences of A and B i.e. how I
feel and behave
Beware of the following automatic
thought categories! If you believe these to be true, you will act and behave
using words like 'awful’, 'terrible’, 'horrible’,'catastrophic’ to describe
something - e.g. 'It would be terrible if …’, 'It’s the worst thing that could
happen’, 'That would be the end of the world’.
viewing an event or experience as unbearable e.g. 'I can’t stand it’, 'It’s
absolutely unbearable’, I’ll die if I get rejected’.
using 'shoulds’ (moralising) or 'musts’ (musturbating) e.g. 'You should
not have done that, 'I must not fail’, 'I need to be loved’, 'I have
to have a drink’.
labelling or rating your total self (or someone else’s) e.g. 'I’m/you’re stupid
/hopeless /useless /worthless.’
Some of us are more resilient than
others; we seem to cope better with the slings and arrows that come our way.
Others are predisposed to feeling (and therefore acting) in ways that are
self-defeating. REBT offers us the tools with which to boost the ‘psychological
immune system’ of the individual as a protective mechanism against unhealthy
negative emotions. Jonas Salk talked about the possibility of psychologically immunising young people. Ellis, Seligman and others would argue that this is possible through programs based on sound psycho therapeutic principles.
This is what a growing number of schools are doing through Rational Emotive Behaviour Education in South Australia.