Rational Emotive Behavioral Therapy (REBT) and other cognitive therapies view depression and other mood disorders as often caused and maintained, largely ( but not entirely) by unhealthy beliefs that are learned early on in life and maintained throughout the lifespan usually without the conscious awareness of the individual.
REBT as well as cognitive behavioral therapy help clients to identify dysfunctional beliefs and replace them with more functional ones.
The focus is not so much on how clients developed the beliefs, but are these beliefs helpful or hurtful and does the client want to continue to hold them or learn to change them. The REBT therapist if often a psychologist but can be a social worker, psychiatrist or other mental health professional.
Clients learn a system to initially identify their negative beliefs and how it affects their moods and behavior. They are then shown a number of cognitive and behavioral methods designed to help them change the way they think and ultimately how they feel.
These methods are explained, demonstrated and practiced in the office setting first. Later on, clients practice applying these methods to their real life situations during the week and bring them in for review and refinement.
Cognitive therapies tend to be collaborative and interactive. The therapist is more active in the session than in other therapies and the client does more outside of the therapy session between meetings.
Ultimately, clients learn skills to become their own therapists and to weather life’s storms fairly independently.