What Is Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy?

Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy is used to treat a variety of eating disorders by using a combination of philosophical positions and interventions. The daily and ongoing dispute of stressful thoughts encouraged by REBT can be especially helpful when overcoming something as harmful as an eating disorder.

So, what else can REBT teach someone recovering from an eating disorder?


People with eating disorders often criticize themselves, especially in such a difficult time as recovery. To counteract these negative thoughts, REBT teaches self-acceptance and discourages defining identity based on individual characteristics.

Discomfort Anxiety

REBT can help those recovering from an eating disorder from feeling they are defined as “feeling fat” and the anxiety surrounding those feelings. This can encourage those recovering to identify emotions more accurately and teach tolerance of one’s self. REBT also applies a number of strategies to remove anxiety from everyday eating, thereby avoiding unsafe food rituals. Coping statements, such as “This feeling will pass in time” are sometimes employed in addition to other strategies to reduce anxiety.

Identifying Shame

Rather than avoiding shame, REBT addresses the feelings associated with an eating disorder. People recovering from an eating disorder may feel shame when eating in public by not eating or eating less than normal. By eliminating shame, the person recovering can increase there social flexibility.


All-or-nothing thinking, along with perfectionist standards, can lead a person recovering from an eating disorder into relapse. Perfectionism can limit a person’s solutions to a problem and actually lessen the chances of a likely success in many cases. Instead of striving for perfectionism, REBT patients strive for satisfaction in imperfection. They recognize that feeling flawless is not a necessary end goal to recovery.

Source: Psychology Today

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