Describe How the Cognitive Approach Has Been Applied to Rational Emotive Therapy

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The cognitive approach focuses on the importance of internal processes of the mind – such as thinking. They see our behaviour is a mixture of learning (conditioning) and thoughts. When we have psychological distress, it comes from errors in thinking, such as irrational thoughts or mustabatory thinking, e.g. “I must be the best at everything or I am useless”. The aim of RET is to restructure these irrational thoughts into positive and rational ones to make the person feel better about themselves. This is done by disputing the self defeating belief and showing the patient how their negative thoughts are causing their distress. Albert Ellis proposed RET as a way of treating anxiety problems, depression and anger management. He identified the A, B, C model – A = activating event, for example a friend doesn’t say hi to you in the street, B = belief system – the person believes that their friend doesn’t like them anymore and c= consequences – the person now has irrational thoughts and thinks they are worthless because their friend ignored them. The patient believes that A causes C but the therapist’s job is to show them that B – their irrational thoughts cause C – their mental distress. Therefore, the therapy works by helping the client change their irrational belief system (B) to improve the emotional consequences (C). This is done by disputing the belief system and proving their thoughts to be irrational – for example logical disputing, where the client must ask themselves “does thinking this way make sense”. The client and therapist must have a strong relationship to encourage the client to be open with the therapist who must show unconditional positive regard – be encouraging and positive towards the client to ensure they start to believe in themselves. The effort of RET is that irrational thoughts are restructured to more positive rational ones and as a
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