Christine’s experience with CBT

Posted by Rex Alexander on Wed 29 May 24 in Basics, Guest Author |
 Hi REBT Mates! Christine Richardson posted the following as a comment in our long and perennial discussion about the differences between REBT and CBT. It is wonderful, thoughtful, and deserves a space of its own . . .


. . . I think you will find it interesting and moving.  Unfortunately, the system seems to have eaten Christine’s member info and I have no way of contacting her.  Christine, if you are reading this, I hope you will consider signing up as a guest author or contributing writer. Thanks for your useful contribution.  Without further ado, I give you Christine . . .



Christine Richardson says:

I have a different view than most of those participating in this discussion. I studied CBT the hard way–as a client. I am also in the process of reading Beck’s “Cognitive Therapy and the Emotional Disorders”. I am sorry I do not have as much knowledge of REBT (as in none), but I plan to start. I’d like to share how CBT works for a client who is living with extreme bipolar and grew up in an alcoholic home with drug addiction and a bipolar parent. 

When I started my CBT sessions, I didn’t have any idea what I was learning. I just knew talk therapy, Gestalt, and visualizing what I felt inside did not work. All were very silly, in my opinion. Now CBT made sense right away. It worked like a math equation to me and seemed logical. This is how it was explained to me:

Thought—Behavior—What did you feel before the thought?–To change the feeling, change the thought–change your behavior.

Those of you who are academics, Is this close to what you have studied? This may just be my perception. All I know is that it worked for me.


At that point in my life, I was a mass of unexpressed emotions. I was reactionary rather than proactive. This method gave me hope that the emotions could be dealt with one at a time. I had been stoic, but that just allowed the feelings to build up to the point that I had become unable to identify the feelings behind my thoughts, and thus, my behavior or action.

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The beginning was quite rocky. I had trouble figuring out what feeling was causing my negative thinking followed by behavior that did not help me.

I spent two years, mastering CBT: one-year learning and a second-year practicing/checking the process, so to speak. I think those who use RBET consider this approach too negative because of the way the process looks. However, for someone who is drowning in unnamed feelings, it was a lifesaver. Once I understood the process, I didn’t need as much guidance. I did need to check with someone else to be sure I had identified the right feeling, changed my thinking to lead to my desired behavior. Again, as I worked through those feelings, changed my thinking, and achieved my goal for my behavior, I became more hopeful. After two years, it was an automatic process.


To be fair, I don’t know much about REBT. But, I do know CBT saved my life. Combining CBT with my medication regimen and additional therapy along the way. I am staying mostly stable and content.

I don’t know how this uneducated opinion of a client of CBT. In the interest of full disclosure, Jeff was my guide through CBT.


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Originally posted 2017-12-07 22:16:40.

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