Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Essay

While cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and rational emotive behavioral therapy (REBT) have many similarities, they are distinctly different therapeutic approaches. When assessing clients and selecting one of these therapies, you must recognize the importance of not only selecting the one that is best for the client, but also the approach that most aligns to your own skill set. For this Assignment, as you examine the similarities and differences between CBT and REBT, consider which therapeutic approach you might use with your clients Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Essay.

Learning Objectives

Students will:

Compare cognitive behavioral therapy and rational emotive behavioral therapy
Recommend cognitive behavioral therapies for clients
To prepare:

Review the media in this week’s Learning Resources.
Reflect on the various forms of cognitive behavioral therapy.

The Assignment

In a 1- to 2-page paper, address the following:

Briefly describe how cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and rational emotive behavioral therapy (REBT) are similar.
Explain at least three differences between CBT and REBT. Include how these differences might impact your practice as a mental health counselor.
Explain which version of cognitive behavioral therapy you might use with clients and why. Support your approach with evidence-based literature.
Note: The School of Nursing requires that all papers submitted include a title page, introduction, summary, and references Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Essay..


The most common treatment applied for psychiatric cases involves the use of pharmacological therapies. Still, these pharmacological therapies are discouraged since they have significant side effects, which include dangerous drug interactions as well as cardiovascular, dermatologic, endocrine-metabolic, gastrointestinal, hematologic, neurologic, psychiatric, and reproductive problems. The more significant side effects include hospitalization and an increased risk of suicidal ideation. Many would consider these side effects far worse than their potential benefits that the pharmacological therapies present. This is not an ideal scenario since medical intervention is targeted at preserving life while avoiding harms. This scenario creates an opportunity for psychotherapies that present an alternative treatment approach that avoids the undesirable side while addressing the prevailing psychiatric condition (Katona, Cooper, & Robertson, 2012). The present paper discusses the similarities and differences between cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and rational emotive behavioral therapy (REBT) as two examples of psychotherapies applied in psychiatry.

Similarity between CBT and REBT

CBT and REBT apply similar approaches in acknowledging that unconscious processing can achieve noticeable results within psychological intervention. This assumes that any psychological condition is caused by cognitive bias so that influencing unconscious processing would resolve the psychological distress by changing the patient’s thought process. In fact, the two therapies assume that every individual has two levels of thought processing. The first level is maladaptive thoughts that are presented as the psychological distress, and which the treatment reframe and challenge as part of the treatment process. The second level is automatic thoughts that are evaluative in nature and are not under conscious control. This implies that the two therapies resolve psychological conditions while focusing on the present circumstances without regard for origins. In explaining this, it is important to note that the psychological condition is typically strengthened by reinforcers so that treatment so that treatment presents contingencies against the reinforcers through conscious planning with the mechanism for change in behavior being beyond the scope of awareness (Shea, 2015). In this respect, both CBT and REBT rely on unconscious processing to resolve the psychological distress since they focus on what is being experienced rather than the process of change.

Differences between CBT and REBT

Although CBT and REBT as similar in their focus on the experience and not change process, they have some distinctive differences. Firstly, the two have philosophic differences. Whereas CBT only addresses distorted cognitions REBT goes a step further in not only addressing distorted cognitions but also emotional disturbance. Secondly, CBT ignores secondary disturbance (such as worrying about worrying) whereas REBT considers secondary disturbance to be important in the treatment process. Thirdly, CBT focuses on bolstering self-esteem through eliminating imperfections whereas REBT focuses on unconditional self-acceptance through acknowledging both the imperfections and perfections. Fourthly, CBT does not accept any negative emotions while REBT accepts some negative emotions as being valuable. For instance, REBT accepts regret, concern, sorrow, and sadness while rejecting anger, depression and anxiety. Finally, CBT considered anger as an appropriate and healthy expression while REBT considers anger to be inappropriate (Wheeler, 2014).

Choice between CBT and REBT

REBT presents the better choice when compared with CBT. That is because REBT is based on the core notion that behavior and emotions are generated by thought, attitudes, belief, and ideas, and not an event. Unlike CBT, REBT’s philosophical basis is more comprehensive since it includes distorted cognition along with emotional disturbance such that correcting cognitive distortions is only considered successful if the absolutistic demands are uprooted. In addition, REBT accepts that secondary disturbances could have an effect on the treatment while CBT ignores their occurrence. Besides that, REBT advocates unconditional self-acceptance that includes self-esteem whereas CBT advocates for improving self-esteem. Also, REBT is clear in noting that some negative emotions are useful (Wheeler, 2014). In this respect, the differences between CBT and REBT show that REBT adopts a more comprehensive approach to treatment thereby making it the better choice Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Essay.

Version of CBT to be applied to older adult clients in a nursing home with psychiatric disorder

Older adult clients in a nursing home with psychiatric disorder would require the use of cognitive model of CBT as described by Chand and Grossberg (2013). The model presents three levels. The first level is the client’s core belief that identifies the condition. For instance, the client could indicate that he or she is unlovable. The second level identifies the intermediate belief, such as the client indicating that he or she is not a likeable person. The final level has three aspects. The first aspect is the situation that could indicate a social gathering. The second aspect is the automatic thoughts whereby the client expresses that no one wants to talk to him or her. The final aspect is the reaction to include sadness and anxiousness to describe emotions, avoiding eye contact and quietness to describe behavior, and tension in the shoulders to describe psychology. In this respect, the cognitive model of CBT is best suited to address the needs of older adult clients.


Psychotherapies present the best options for treating psychiatric conditions since pharmacological therapies are typically accompanied by undesirable side effects. Two commonly applied psychotherapies are CBT and REBT that rely on unconscious processing to resolve the psychological distress since they focus on what is being experienced rather than the process of change. Despite the similarity, CBT and REBT differ in philosophies, approaches to secondary disturbances, view of self-esteem and self-acceptance, acceptance of negative emotions, and how they view anger. The differences identify REBT are more comprehensive than CBT thereby making REBT the better choice for psychotherapy.


Chand, S. P. & Grossberg, G. T. (2013). How to adapt cognitive-behavioral therapy for older adults. Current Psychiatry, 12(3), 10-15.

Katona, C., Cooper, C. & Robertson, M. (2012). Psychiatry at a glance (5th ed.). Hoboken, NJ: Wiley-Blackwell.

Shea, D. (2015). Cognitive behavioral approaches for counselors. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications.

Wheeler, K. (Ed.). (2014). Psychotherapy for the advanced practice psychiatric nurse: a how-to guide for evidence-based practice (2nd ed.). New York, NY: Springer Publishing Company Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Essay.

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