“Self-belief does not necessarily ensure success, but self-disbelief assuredly spawns failure.“
-From Self-efficacy: The exercise of control, 1997
Albert Bandura is an influential social cognitive psychologist who is perhaps best-known for his social learning theory, the concept of self-efficacy and his famous Bobo doll experiments. He is a Professor Emeritus at Stanford University and is widely regarded as one of the greatest living psychologists. One 2002 survey ranked him as the fourth most influential psychologist of the twentieth century, behind only B.F. Skinner, Sigmund Freud, and Jean Piaget. He was also ranked as the most cited living psychologist. “People with high assurance in their capabilities approach difficult tasks as challenges to be mastered rather than as threats to be avoided.”
First developed in 1955, Founder of Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT) is the original form of Cognitive Behavior Therapy and one of the most successful psycho therapeutic techniques in the world. World-renowned Psychologist
But this is not to deny the efficacy of Skinnerian behavioral therapy when performed in the proper contexts. While his strict form of behavioral therapy isn’t widely practiced anymore, a variation of it lives on in the form of cognitive-behavioral therapy. It’s proven useful in the treatment of certain pathologies, including simple phobias,anxiety disorders (like post-traumatic stress disorder and panic disorders), and addiction. It also works reasonably well for depression; as noted by psychologist Aaron T. Beck, depressed people think the way they do because their thinking is biased towards negative interpretations. Cognitive-behavioral therapy helps people reframe their world and become aware of their reaction to certain events. And when used in conjunction with antipsychotics, it can even help in the treatment of schizophrenia.
- Jean Piaget
- Piaget was the recipient of an array of honorary degrees and accolades, including the prestigious Erasmus (1972) and Balzan (1978) prizes. The author of more than 50 books and hundreds of papers, Piaget summed up his passion for the ongoing pursuit of scientific knowledge with these words: “The current state of knowledge is a moment in history, changing just as rapidly as the state of knowledge in the past has ever changed and, in many instances, more rapidly.”
- Saap (2009)
- Aaron T. Beck
- Cognitive Therapy
- Germer (2005)
- Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy
RATIONAL EMOTIVE BEHAVIOR THERAPY, (REBT) represents a model of change that has undergone more and more extensive empirical investigation during the recent years.
According to this model, psychopathology, the study of the causes and development of psychiatric disorders, is a result of a person possessing irrational beliefs that sabotage their purpose and goal. It is widely accepted that at the core of each human disturbance endures the tendency of making devout, absolutistic evaluations of perceived events, that come in the form of dogmatic “musts” or “shoulds” (Ellis & Dryden, 1997).
The byproducts of these “musts” or “shoulds” are failure intolerance, awfulizing, and self-downing. Awfulizing means, an event appraises as worse than 100% awful.
This means the person believes that zero happiness exists if the unwanted ending actually occurs. Self-downing refers to the tendency of labeling oneself, others or existence as being “worthless” or “bad” if failure occurs (Ellis & Dryden, 1997).
2b. (c d e f g h i)
What is REBT?
Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT) is a form of psychotherapy and a philosophy of living created by Albert Ellis in the 1950’s.
REBT (pronounced R.E.B.T. — it is not pronounced rebbit) is based on the premise that whenever we become upset, it is not the events taking place in our lives that upset us; it is the beliefs that we hold that cause us to become depressed, anxious, enraged, etc. The idea that our beliefs upset us was first articulated by Epictetus around 2,000 years ago: “Men are disturbed not by events, but by the views which they take of them.”
The Goal of Happiness
According to Albert Ellis and to REBT, the vast majority of us want to be happy. We want to be happy whether we are alone or with others; we want to get along with others—especially with one or two close friends; we want to be well informed and educated; we want a good job with good pay; and we want to enjoy our leisure time.
Of course life doesn’t always allow us to have what we want; our goal of being happy is often thwarted by the “slings and arrows of outrageous fortune.” When our goals are blocked, we can respond in ways that are healthy and helpful, or we can react in ways that are unhealthy and unhelpful.
The ABC Model
Albert Ellis and REBT posit that our reaction to having our goals blocked (or even the possibility of having them blocked) is determined by our beliefs. To illustrate this, Dr. Ellis developed a simple ABC format to teach people how their beliefs cause their emotional and behavioral responses:
A. Something happens.
B. You have a belief about the situation.
C. You have an emotional reaction to the belief.
A. Your employer falsely accuses you of taking money from her purse and threatens to fire you.
B. You believe, “She has no right to accuse me. She’s a bitch!”
C. You feel angry.
If you had held a different belief, your emotional response would have been different:
A. Your employer falsely accuses you of taking money from her purse and threatens to fire you.
B. You believe, “I must not lose my job. That would be unbearable.”
C. You feel anxious.
The ABC model shows that A does not cause C. It is B that causesC. In the first example, it is not your employer’s false accusation and threat that make you angry; it is your belief that she has no right to accuse you, and that she is a bitch. In the second example, it is not her accusation and threat that make you anxious; it is the belief that you must not lose your job, and that losing your job would be unbearable.
The Three Basic Musts
Although we all express ourselves differently, according to Albert Ellis and REBT, the beliefs that upset us are all variations of three common irrational beliefs. Each of the three common irrational beliefs contains a demand, either about ourselves, other people, or the world in general. These beliefs are known as “The Three Basic Musts.”
1. I must do well and win the approval of others for my performances or else I am no good.
2. Other people must treat me considerately, fairly and kindly, and in exactly the way I want them to treat me. If they don’t, they are no good and they deserve to be condemned and punished.
3. I must get what I want, when I want it; and I must not get what I don’t want. It’s terrible if I don’t get what I want, and I can’t stand it.
The first belief often leads to anxiety, depression, shame, and guilt. The second belief often leads to rage, passive-aggression and acts of violence. The third belief often leads to self-pity and procrastination. It is the demanding nature of the beliefs that causes the problem. Less demanding, more flexible beliefs lead to healthy emotions and helpful behaviors
The goal of REBT is to help people change their irrational beliefs into rational beliefs. Changing beliefs is the real work of therapy and is achieved by the therapist disputing the client’s irrational beliefs. For example, the therapist might ask, “Why must you win everyone’s approval?” “Where is it written that other people musttreat you fairly?” “Just because you want something, why mustyou have it?” Disputing is the D of the ABC model. When the client tries to answer the therapist’s questions, s/he sees that there is no reason why s/he absolutely must have approval, fair treatment, or anything else that s/he wants.
Albert Ellis and REBT contend that although we all think irrationally from time to time, we can work at eliminating the tendency. It’s unlikely that we can ever entirely eliminate the tendency to think irrationally, but we can reduce the frequency, the duration, and the intensity of our irrational beliefs by developing three insights:
1. We don’t merely get upset but mainly upset ourselves by holding inflexible beliefs.
2. No matter when and how we start upsetting ourselves, we continue to feel upset because we cling to our irrational beliefs.
3. The only way to get better is to work hard at changing our beliefs. It takes practice, practice, practice.
Emotionally healthy human beings develop an acceptance of reality, even when reality is highly unfortunate and unpleasant. REBT therapists strive to help their clients develop three types of acceptance: (1) unconditional self-acceptance; (2) unconditional other-acceptance; and (3) unconditional life-acceptance. Each of these types of acceptance is based on three core beliefs:
1. I am a fallible human being; I have my good points and my bad points.
2. There is no reason why I must not have flaws.
3. Despite my good points and my bad points, I am no more worthy and no less worthy than any other human being.
1. Other people will treat me unfairly from time to time.
2. There is no reason why they must treat me fairly.
3. The people who treat me unfairly are no more worthy and no less worthy than any other human being.
1. Life doesn’t always work out the way that I’d like it to.
2. There is no reason why life must go the way I want it to
3. Life is not necessarily pleasant but it is never awful and it is nearly always bearable.
Clinical experience and a growing supply of experimental evidence show that REBT is effective and efficient at reducing emotional pain. When Albert Ellis created REBT in the 1950’s he met with much resistance from others in the mental health field. Today it is one of the most widely-practiced therapies throughout the world. In the early days of REBT, even Dr. Ellis did not clearly see that consistent use of its philosophical system would have such a profound effect on the field of psychotherapy or on the lives of the millions of people who have benefited from it.
This introduction to REBT is based on Shameless Happiness, a concise booklet that outlines the basics of REBT.
REBT is based on the premise that whenever we become upset, it is not the events taking place in our lives that upset us; it is the beliefs that we hold that cause us to become depressed, anxious, enraged, etc.
Epictetus first articulated the idea that our beliefs upset us around 2,000 years ago:
“Men are disturbed not by events, but by the views which they take of them.”
A third distinctive human characteristic is the capability for forethought.
People do not simply react to their immediate environment, nor are they steered by implants from their past. Most human behavior, being purposive, is regulated by forethought.
The future time perspective manifests itself in many different ways. People anticipate the likely consequences of their prospective actions, they set goals for themselves, and they otherwise plan courses of action that are likely to produce desired outcomes.
Through exercise of forethought, people motivate themselves and guide their actions anticipatorily.
The capability for intentional and purposive action is rooted in symbolic activity. Future events cannot be causes of current motivation and action. However, by being represented cognitively in the present, foreseeable future events are converted into current motivators and regulators of behavior.
Thoughts of desirable future events tend to foster the behavior most likely to bring about their realization.
Forethought is translated into incentives and action through the aid of self- regulatory mechanisms.
From Bandura 1989ACD
How does Self-efficacy make us or break us?
A strong sense of efficacy enhances human accomplishment and personal well-being in many ways. People with high assurance in their capabilities approach difficult tasks as challenges to be mastered rather than as threats to be avoided. Such an efficacious outlook fosters intrinsic interest and deep engrossment in activities. They set themselves challenging goals and maintain strong commitment to them. They heighten and sustain their efforts in the face of failure. They quickly recover their sense of efficacy after failures or setbacks. They attribute failure to insufficient effort or deficient knowledge and skills, which are acquirable.
They approach threatening situations with assurance that they can exercise control over them. Such an efficacious outlook produces personal accomplishments, reduces stress, and lowers vulnerability to depression.
In contrast, people who doubt their capabilities shy away from difficult tasks, which they view as personal threats. They have low aspirations and weak commitment to the goals they choose to pursue. When faced with difficult tasks, they dwell on their personal deficiencies, on the obstacles they will encounter, and all kinds of adverse outcomes rather than concentrate on how to perform successfully. They slacken their efforts and give up quickly in the face of difficulties. They are slow to recover their sense of efficacy following failure or setbacks.
Because they view insufficient performance as deficient aptitude, it does not require much failure for them to lose faith in their capabilities.
They fall easy victim to stress and depression.
SELF-REFLECTIVE CAPABILITY If there is any characteristic that is distinctively human, it is the capability for reflective self-consciousness.
This enables people to analyze their experiences and to think about their own thought processes.
By reflecting on their varied experiences and on what they know, they can derive generic knowledge about themselves and the world around them.
People not only gain understanding through reflection, they evaluate and alter their own thinking by this means. In verifying thought through self-reflective means, they monitor their ideas, act on them or predict occurrences from them, judge from the results the adequacy of their thoughts, and change them accordingly.
Among the types of thoughts that affect action, none is more central or pervasive than people’s judgments of their capabilities to exercise control over events that affect their lives. The self-efficacy mechanism plays a central role in human agency (Bandura, 1982; 1986). Self- judgments of operative capabilities function as one set of proximal determinants of how people behave, their thought patterns, and the emotional reactions they experience in taxing situations.
Albert Bandura is best known for his theory of self-efficacy and his work in social learning, including the famous “Bobo doll” experiment. In addition, Bandura served as President of the American Psychological Association in 1974 and continues to research and teach at Stanford University. Below are just a few quotations from Bandura’s writings.
Albert Bandura Quotes on Self-Efficacy
- “Self-efficacy is the belief in one’s capabilities to organize and execute the sources of action required to manage prospective situations.” From Social Foundations of Thought and Action: A Social Cognitive Theory, 1986
- “If efficacy beliefs always reflected only what people can do routinely they would rarely fail but they would not set aspirations beyond their immediate reach nor mount the extra effort needed to surpass their ordinary performances.” From Encyclopedia of Human Behavior, 1994
- “Self-belief does not necessarily ensure success, but self-disbelief assuredly spawns failure.” From Self-efficacy: The Exercise of Control, 1997
- “By sticking it out through tough times, people emerge from adversity with a stronger sense of efficacy.” From Encyclopedia of Human Behavior, 1994
- “People’s beliefs about their abilities have a profound effect on those abilities. Ability is not a fixed property; there is a huge variability in how you perform. People who have a sense of self-efficacy bounce back from failure; they approach things in terms of how to handle them rather than worrying about what can go wrong.” From Self-Efficacy: The Exercise of Control, 1996
Albert Bandura Quotes on Social Cognition
- “A theory that denies that thoughts can regulate actions does not lend itself readily to the explanation of complex human behavior.”
- From Social Foundations of Thought and Action: A Social Cognitive Theory, 1986
- “People not only gain understanding through reflection, they evaluate and alter their own thinking.”
- From Social Foundations of Thought and Action, 1986
- “People who regard themselves as highly efficacious act, think, and feel differently from those who perceive themselves as inefficacious.
- They produce their own future, rather than simply foretell it.” From Social Foundations of Thought and Action: A Social Cognitive Theory., 1986
- “People with high assurance in their capabilities approach difficult tasks as challenges to be mastered rather than as threats to be avoided.” From Encyclopedia of Human Behavior, 1994
- “We are more heavily invested in the theories of failure than we are in the theories of success.” From APA address, 1998
- “Gaining insight into one’s underlying motives, it seems, is more like a belief conversion than a self-discovery process.” From Social Foundations of Thought and Action: A Social-Cognitive Theory, 1986
- “Psychology cannot tell people how they ought to live their lives. It can however, provide them with the means for effecting personal and social change.” From Social Learning Theory, 1977
- “Success and failure are largely self-defined in terms of personal standards. The higher the self-standards, the more likely will given attainments be viewed as failures, regardless of what others might think.” From Social Foundations of Thought and Action: A Social-Cognitive Theory, 1986
Bandura, A. (1996). Self-Efficacy: The Exercise of Control.New York: Freeman.
Bandura, A. (1986). Social foundations of thought and action: A social cognitive theory. Prentice-Hall series in social learning theory. Englewood Cliffs, NJ, US: Prentice-Hall, Inc.
Bandura, A. (1977). Social Learning Theory. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall.
Successful Efficacy Builders do more than convey positive appraisals.
In addition to raising people’s beliefs in their capabilities:
- They structure situations for them in ways that bring success
- They avoid placing people in situations prematurely where they are likely to fail often
- They measure success in terms of self-improvement rather than by triumphs over others.
People also rely partly on their somatic and emotional states in judging their capabilities. They interpret their stress reactions and tension as signs of vulnerability to poor performance. Mood also affects people’s judgments of their personal efficacy.
Positive mood enhances perceived self-efficacy, despondent mood diminishes it.
How does Self-efficacy make us or break us?
Perceived self-efficacy is defined as people’s beliefs about their capabilities to produce designated levels of performance that exercise influence over events that affect their lives.
Self-efficacy beliefs determine how people feel, think, motivate themselves, and behave.
Such beliefs produce these diverse effects through four (4) major processes. They include cognitive, motivational, affective, and selection processes.