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Ask Aldo about Rational Living Therapy


Ask me about Rational Living Therapy.

Each month, I'll select a question and answer to post on this page.

To submit your question, click here.

Question: How is Rational Living Therapy different from Ellis' Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy?
                       -- Micah Perkins, L.P.C.

Answer:  Thank you for this outstanding question.  A case certainly could be made that because Al's REBT approach is the original CBT approach that all other CBT approaches are extensions of it.  I agree.  Without the development of REBT, RLT might not have ever been developed. All of us who have practiced "cognitive-behavioral therapy" or found relief from it owe a great deal to Dr. Albert Ellis.

With that said, there are some similarities and some differences.

The most important similarities include:

bulletTherapy is based on the cognitive model (our thoughts cause our feelings and behaviors as long as our body is  healthy).
bulletAssumption that irrational behavior and emotions are the result of irrational thinking.
bulletBelief that people can and do change their thoughts
bulletEmphasis on aspects of stoic philosophy
bulletBelief that self-esteem is a highly irrational concept
bulletBelief that "shoulds," "musts," "have to's," and "had betters" are at the root of many emotional / behavioral problems

The most important differences include:

bulletRational Living Therapy postulates that sometimes thoughts are acquired through hypnosis, both intentional (as with a hypnotherapist) and unintentional (as with sudden shock and trauma)
bulletAs a result, Rational Living Therapists (who are training in the Rational Hypnotherapy technique) often will utilize this technique to help their clients to change irrational thoughts to rational thoughts.  Rational Living Therapy has a strategic, theoretical reason for utilizing Rational Hypnothearpy.
bulletRational Emotive Behavior Therapy encourages Unconditional Self-Acceptance (USA).   While Rational Living Therapy agrees that USA is a more rational concept than self-esteem, we believe Unconditional Self-Acceptance also creates an overgeneralization and is too vague to be useful.  For this reason, Rational Living Therapists emphasize their replacement for self-esteem and self-confidence -- the "Four A's"
bulletREBT's ABC's are the ABC's of unwanted emotions and behaviors, while Rational Living Therapy's ABC's are the ABC's of all emotions and behaviors that are not the result of a physical problem.
bulletRational Living Therapy emphasizes the concept of "Reflexive Thoughts"
bulletRational Living Therapy emphasizes the "Rational Questions" (a modification of Maxie Maultsby's questions) to help the client determine for himself or herself how rational a thought is.
bulletRational Living Therapy is a more systematic approach to psychotherapy than is Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy
bulletRational Living Therapy disagrees with REBT's belief that people have a genetic tendency to think / behave irrationally.
bulletEllis' REBT uses the concepts of Healthy / Unhealthy and Appropriate / Inappropriate emotions and behaviors.  Rational Living Therapy avoids the constructs healthy / unhealthy, appropriate / inappropriate and favors, instead "Rational vs. Irrational."
bulletRational Living Therapy emphasizes the importance of saying what you mean and meaning what you say, and therefore, discourages the use of "swear words," not for moral reasons, but for emotional reasons
bulletRational Living Therapy intentionally makes use of both direct and indirect methods for disputing thoughts, suggesting success.

Aldo Pucci

Copyright, 2004-2011 by Aldo R. Pucci.  All rights reserved.  It is unlawful to reproduce the contents of this website in any fashion, by any means, without the written permission of
Aldo R. Pucci.  Rational Living Therapy is a trademark of Aldo R. Pucci