The problem for nearly all fallible humans is using REBT. The well-known REBT author and clinician Dr. Windy Dryden refers to both the need to and the difficulty in using REBT as “walking the rational talk.” It is when fallible humans attempt to use REBT, implement it and act in accordance with the easy to understand concepts of REBT that humans sometimes get tripped up. REBT theory argues that fallible humans are prone to low discomfort tolerance. We by default both want and think we absolutely need to be comfortable. It is this need for comfort that largely makes “walking the talk of REBT” difficult to do.
What are we then to do to “walk the talk” of REBT? Sadly, there is no easy answer. Albert Ellis, the originator of REBT, used to say “push yourself” and he also advocated the use of penalties and rewards. So for example, if you failed to do what you committed yourself to doing then you were to not allow yourself access to some favored activity. For example, Ellis would prescribe no television viewing until after a client had carried out their therapeutic homework for the day and never before. Alternatively, he would advocate that a client could take a $20 bill and rip it up to penalize himself for failing to do what he said he would do. When I was in training and then during the years I later worked with Albert Ellis I wish I had a $20 bill every time I heard Ellis encourage a client to push themselves. If this were the case I would now be a very wealthy man.
As flawed human beings we all want and unfortunately too often demand quick, easy, painless, or magical answers to our most difficult problems. Some therapies even go along with this self-defeating wish to a greater or lesser extent. Unfortunately, life requires ongoing work, effort and pushing ourselves. REBT points this out and does not promise progress without a fair amount of work and effort. There is no way around “walking the talk” of REBT. It is that simple.