chapter  15
11 Pages

Can Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT) Be Effectively Used With People Who Have Devout Beliefs in God and Religion?

ByARNOLD A. LAZARUS

The familiar aphorism “As you think, so shall you feel” implies that positive thoughts tend to evoke pleasant feelings, while negative thoughts are apt to have the opposite effect. When applied to religiosity, it comes as no surprise that those who embrace an angry God model tend to have poor mental health outcomes, whereas those who believe in a loving God model are apt to enjoy more positive mental health outcomes (Clay, 1996; Pargament, 1997). Thus, a question that is too ambiguous to answer is, “are people who have a devout belief in God and religion healthier and happier than those who don’t?” Clay (1996) points out, “when you look more closely, you find there are certain types of religious experiences that seem to be helpful and several types that seem to be harmful.” Ellis, in the present chapter, refers to his “older views about devout religiosity being antithetical to good mental health and effective therapy,” which he later changed to “emotional health is significantly affected by the kind of religious and nonreligious beliefs people hold.”