Addiction Therapy

Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT) for Addiction


Massachusetts Center for Addiction in Quincy, MA, is committed to providing comprehensive treatment options for alcoholism and addiction. Our approach includes using treatments like rational emotive behavior therapy (REBT) to help you overcome addictive behaviors and feel empowered in your recovery. 

Here’s an overview of rational emotive behavior therapy for addiction, including the benefits and how we integrate REBT into our treatment process. 

Understanding Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT)

Rational emotive behavior therapy (REBT) is a type of psychotherapy that focuses on empowering the individual to manage damaging or irrational thoughts that lead to actions and behaviors that don’t serve their greater good. REBT helps you recognize and tear down destructive and irrational behaviors in order to rebuild healthier rational thought patterns. 

The underlying idea behind REBT is that it isn’t the events or circumstances in our lives that create challenges but rather how we interpret and react to them. This approach shifts responsibility away from the circumstances and onto our thoughts and behaviors. This includes learning how irrational thoughts and behaviors can contribute to destructive outcomes, like substance use and addiction. 


Male patient sitting with his therapist during rational emotive behavior therapy session for addiction.

The Role of REBT in Addiction Recovery 

REBT has traditionally been used to help people overcome feelings of depression, anxiety, lack of self-worth, anger, and guilt. It has also been shown to be significantly effective in helping individuals change self-defeating thoughts and behaviors. 

Addiction is often accompanied by mental health conditions, which play a substantial role in the tendency and desire to abuse drugs or alcohol. REBT helps get to the core of self-defeating mental health issues so that you gain control over how they affect your life. 

The cognitive restructuring of rational emotive behavior therapy is built on the foundation of the ABC model. The ABC model outlines how irrational thoughts and reactions are tied to self-damaging and addictive behaviors. 

  • A: Activating Event – In regard to addiction, this is often considered a “triggering event.” The activating event is typically undesirable, and an irrational response or thought pattern is formed because the person doesn’t believe it should be happening to them. 
  • B: Beliefs – This is your belief system connected to the event. It’s these beliefs that create the consequences. 
  • C: Consequences – This is the outcome of the thought patterns surrounding an activating event. This can be either positive or negative, depending on the belief response. 

Here’s an example of the ABC model that illustrates the role of REBT in addiction recovery.

A: The alarm didn’t go off, and you were late for work. Your employer sternly reprimanded you, saying this was the last time it could happen. 

B: Your beliefs are that the employer is being unfair and judging you too harshly, after all, it was an accident. 

C: You stay angry all day about the employer’s response and use this to justify heading directly to the bar after work because you need a drink to unwind from the stress. 

It was the feeling of being judged too harshly that led to the anger and, eventually, the trip to the bar. If, instead, the belief was that we’re all humans who make mistakes, but we still have responsibilities and need to be accountable, the consequences would have been different – and less likely to lead to alcohol or drug use. 

In addiction recovery, REBT teaches that it’s not the event itself that leads to substance use or relapse. Instead, it’s our beliefs that do. This is an empowering approach that helps to lift the feeling of helplessness and self-loathing and replace them with control, accountability, and self-acceptance. 

Benefits of REBT for Addiction 

Rational emotive behavior therapy offers a number of important benefits for those facing the challenges of addiction and taking steps toward recovery. REBT for addiction therapy can:

  • Help you learn more appropriate, healthier ways to respond to triggering situations
  • Recognize irrational thoughts and beliefs and learn how to overcome them
  • Improved emotional regulation
  • Recognize and control disturbing thoughts and feelings
  • Acknowledge that you are not in control of everything in life
  • Acknowledge that while you can’t control events, you can control your beliefs and outcomes 
  • Develop coping strategies
  • Develop a sense of acceptance for yourself, others, and life in general

REBT Treatment Process at Massachusetts Center for Addiction 

At Massachusetts Center for Addiction, our REBT treatment approach begins with a thorough assessment by one of our experienced clinicians, followed by individualized goal setting and therapy that involves the application of REBT techniques. 

We’re committed to treating the whole person with our holistic approach to addiction recovery. We recognize the vital role of mental health in addiction treatment and integrate rational emotive behavior therapy with our other effective treatment modalities. We offer dual diagnosis treatment for addiction, which enables us to focus on addressing mental health issues at the root of your addiction. REBT is an effective part of this process. 

Our clinical team includes experts in the fields of mental health and substance use disorders. Together, we bring decades of expertise in treating substance use disorders through a range of effective and holistic therapies. We’re proud to offer REBT in Massachusetts as part of our addiction treatment process. 

Why Choose REBT at Massachusetts Center for Addiction 

Massachusetts Center for Addiction offers a comprehensive, holistic approach to addiction recovery, including REBT. Our clinical team brings the highest level of expertise to ensure you’re provided with every tool to overcome addiction.

Massachusetts Center for Addiction offers a supportive environment, and we utilize scientifically proven treatments like REBT to address the root psychological factors for addiction and lay the groundwork for lifelong addiction recovery. 

Ready to Get to the Root of Addiction?

The first step to addiction recovery is to contact our team for a free and confidential phone assessment. We’re here to help and offer a range of holistic addiction treatment therapies, including REBT in Massachusetts.

If you have a question or want to learn more about rational emotive behavior therapy for addiction, contact us today at 844-486-0671