While still a psychiatric resident, Maxie C. Maultsby, Jr., studied briefly with Joseph Wolpe in 1967 and with Ellis for the following 7 years. At the 1975 Chicago National Conference of Rational Emotive and Behavior Therapists, Maultsby described his unique method of psychotherapy called Rational Behavior Therapy, or RBT. Then RBT was (and probably still is) the only method of psychotherapy that is based on the well-established facts about the mental activities of normal human brains that make learning and behavioral self-management possible. That fact was first noted in print by Arnold M. Ludwig, M.D., in the forward of the book Rational Behavior Therapy.
Rational Behavior Therapy is based on the psychosomatic learning theory of normal human behavior. Therefore, it takes the most comprehensive behavioral stance: namely that cognitive emotional and physical actions that have not been genetically determined are learned. Consequently, all three of those learned behavioral groups are the most logical, simultaneous focus of psychotherapy. This psychosomatic, human learning theory is one of the few that is based on the fact that normal human brains are genetically programmed to instantly and automatically give people the most healthy and desirable, or the most unhealthy and undesirable emotional and physical behaviors that are most logical for their beliefs and attitudes. The theory is both culture free and as universally applicable to the various learned human behavioral problems as the germ theory is to the various infections. Finally, this theory fulfills all seven sets of the essential empirical criteria (listed earlier) for being an ideal unifying theory of modern behavior therapy.
1. The Main Unique Therapeutic Constructs and Techniques in Rational Behavior Therapy
First are Maultsby's two theoretical models of habitual emotions: the AbC construct for attitude-triggered, habitual emotions, and the aBC construct for belief-triggered habitual emotions. At the neurobioelectrical level, both constructs are logical extensions of Ellis' ABC model of new or not-yet-habitual human emotions. Their two main clinical values are that the aBC belief construct reveals to patients/clients how they have unwittingly taught themselves much of their emotional problems; they will have done it via vicarious, mental practice. But most important, the aBC construct shows them why and how they can use rational beliefs and the same mental process and rapidly achieve the therapeutic success they desire. The AbC attitude construct readily reveals these two instantly helpful clinical facts: (1) How and why people's own attitudes make them instantly and automatically react in their habitual emotional and physical ways, even without initial conscious thoughts of doing it, and (2) Why it is unhealthy, incorrect, and often emotion
Behavior Therapy ally self-abusive to accuse "It" (some external event) or some other person of making oneself (or anyone else) have the emotional feelings one habitually has. With their silent (i.e., unspoken) AbC attitudes, people do that to themselves.
2. The Five Rules for Ideally Healthy and, Therefore, Rational Thinking
1. Rational thinking is based on obvious facts.
2. Rational thinking best helps people protect their lives and health.
3. Rational thinking best helps people achieve their own short-term and long-term goals.
4. Rational thinking best helps people avoid their most unwanted conflicts with other people.
5. Rational thinking best helps people feel emotionally the way they want to feel without using alcohol or other drugs.
For thinking (and therefore any learned behavior) to be rational, it only has to obey at least three of these five rules at the same time. Habitually thinking rationally gives people the best probabilities for being as healthy, successful, and happy as they desire to be. There are almost no life situations that cannot be handled better with ideally healthy and, therefore, rational thinking.
3. Written, Rational Self-Analysis (RSA)
This technique facilitates developing skills in instantly and automatically doing two things: (1) Deciding for oneself when it will probably be healthiest and most personally beneficial to instantly respond with positive, negative, or neutral emotional and/or physical behavioral reactions, and (2) when the opposite responses will be healthiest and most personally beneficial.
4. Rational Emotive Imagery (REI)
This technique enables patients/clients to practice at will their desired new emotional and physical behavioral responses. Thereby they decide how rapidly and successfully they achieve their therapeutic goals.
5. The Five Stages of Therapeutic Emotional and Behavioral Reeducation
Psychotherapy means word therapy, without drugs or other medical treatments. Of course, if patients/clients need medication for some existing medical or psychiatric problem, RBT therapists see that they get it. But without medication or electric shock therapy, all therapeutic change is really therapeutic emotional and behavioral reeducation. It occurs in the following five sequential stages, regardless of the type of psychotherapy being used.
First is intellectual insight, or learning what has to be practiced to achieve therapeutic success. Second is the mental and physical practice of the new therapeutic ideas that are essential for learning the desired new emotional and physical habits. Third is cognitive-emotive dissonance (see the glossary). Fourth is emotional insight; patients/clients have it when they begin to have their desired new emotional and physically responses instantly and automatically in their desired situations. Fifth is new personality trait formation. In this case, patients/clients have their desired new emotional and behavioral reactions as instantly and automatically in their desired situations as they formerly had their undesirable emotional and behavioral reactions.
There is much more to RBT than the listed therapeutic models and techniques. For more in-depth knowledge, please refer to the bibliography.
Was this article helpful?