Cognitive-Behavioral and Rational Emotional Behavior Theory: Comparison


Psychotherapy is applied as a therapeutic approach capable of helping individuals to cope with unwanted behaviors, emotions, and attitudes. Research indicates that the prevalent majority (90%) of therapists utilize cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) (Ryan et al., 2011). The purpose of the paper is to compare and contrast CBT and rational emotive behavioral therapy (REBT) and report how varieties between the two practices can impact psychiatric practice.

Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

The principal goal of CBT is to alter harmful and irrational behavioral patterns and attitudes that might lead to functional damage. Hence, a CBT therapist should make it clear for patients how to mitigate distorted ideations by means of special behavioral exercises. For instance, an individual can monitor his or her progress with the help of a diary, a chart, or sticker notes that they will compile regularly. Typically, the course of CBT lasts between six weeks and six months.

Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT)

The major task of REBT is to cope with emotional and social problems. A proper course of REBT can induce a person to admit their irrational judgments (such as “I have to be perfect”). REBT enables the specialist to instruct the patient on holding up thought processes accountable for the individual behavioral anxiety. Hence, by concentrating on present behaviors, patients will learn how to identify and confront irrational processes and not let the latter provoke self-destructive behaviors.


Both therapies enhance critical thinking and endorse the application of social, cognitive, and emotive methods to modify patients’ thought processes. CBT addresses cognitive defects that are likely to cause mental distress. Furthermore, CBT strives to single out flaws in thought processes and assist the person in opposing them (Ryan et al., 2011). In its turn, REBT has many aspects that are related to those reflected in CBT. Both in CBT and REBT, the therapist encourages patients to evaluate their current understanding of reality.


The major focus of CBT is on boosting a person’s self-esteem, whereas REBT aims at promoting self-acceptance. According to Ryan et al. (2011), CBT care providers teach individuals by means of specific techniques that can also be useful outside therapy. For instance, a specialist may collaborate with the patient’s family and friends to gain a faster recovery. However, the care provider must adhere to the ethics of nursing practice when arranging such collaborations (Polit & Beck, 2012). CBT is useful due to its concentration on personal independence and communication capability (Davies-Smith, 2006). Meanwhile, REBT is a critical reasoning approach, which incorporates various cognitive and behavioral aspects (Sacks, 2004). Psychological health care providers can utilize this approach to gain consistency and teach patients to benefit from positive cognitive and emotive aptitudes.

Out of the available CBT forms, I would prefer to work with the Socratic exchange. This process involves the dual discovery process, during which the psychiatrist guides the patient through a series of questions and responses aimed at provoking automatic thoughts and assessing the rationale behind them (Freeman Clevenger, 2014). This approach allows the specialist to direct patients to the perception of their reasoning and behaviors.


The main differences between REBT and CBT are traced in the way of treating patients from the therapeutic perspective. A psychiatric-mental health nurse practitioner should assess the patient’s condition prior to applying any of the two approaches due to personal differences between people. Frequently, patients demonstrate symptoms that are likely to be treated by means of REBT and CBT alike. In such cases, the specialist should perform a careful appraisal and choose the most suitable method.


Davies-Smith, L. (2006). An introduction to providing cognitive behavioural therapy. Nursing Times, 102(26), 28-30.

Freeman Clevenger, S. M. (2014). Cognitive behavioral therapy. In K. Wheeler (Ed.), Psychotherapy for the advanced practice psychiatric nurse: A how-to guide for evidence-based practice (2nd ed.) (pp. 313-346). Springer Publishing Company.

Polit, D. F., & Beck, C. T. (2012). Nursing research: Generating and assessing evidence for nursing practice (9th ed.). Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.

Ryan, T. E., Blau, S., & Grozeva, D. (2011). Teaching cognitive-behavioral therapy to undergraduate psychology students. Journal of Instructional Psychology, 38(1), 23-31.

Sacks, S. (2004). Rational emotive behavior therapy: Disputing irrational philosophies. Journal of Psychosocial Nursing & Mental Health Services, 42(5), 22-51. Web.

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PsychologyWriting. (2023, September 18). Cognitive-Behavioral and Rational Emotional Behavior Theory: Comparison. Retrieved from


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PsychologyWriting. (2023) 'Cognitive-Behavioral and Rational Emotional Behavior Theory: Comparison'. 18 September.


PsychologyWriting. 2023. "Cognitive-Behavioral and Rational Emotional Behavior Theory: Comparison." September 18, 2023.

1. PsychologyWriting. "Cognitive-Behavioral and Rational Emotional Behavior Theory: Comparison." September 18, 2023.


PsychologyWriting. "Cognitive-Behavioral and Rational Emotional Behavior Theory: Comparison." September 18, 2023.