TREC: What is this type of therapy based on

One of the most effective cognitive-behavioral psychological interventions currently in the analysis, management and reformulation of dysfunctional beliefs is rational emotional behavioral therapy (TREC), proposed in the middle of the last century by Albert Ellis.

His central theoretical hypothesis argues that it is primarily cognitive interpretations of situations experienced by a person that cause a particular emotional state.

In this way, detect the existence of distortions by drawing a conclusion or an idea about a given event and replacing these thoughts with more realistic ones, the emotional consequence may have a more rational and balanced nature.

    The postulates of TREC today

    Over the past two decades, TREC has evolved and changed considerably. Contrary to its initial nomenclature (the TRE), this type of intervention today involves much more the relationship between cognition, emotion and behavior constructs.

    A second element that has grown in importance in TREC more recently is the relevance of the general adoption of a philosophy of life shaped by awareness of the differentiation between irrational and rational cognitions. The three central principles on which this type of philosophy of life is based correspond to the following.

    1. Unconditional self-acceptance

    From this an attitude of self-respect remains in the individual himselfRegardless of whether the evaluation of the aspects that define the conduct of such a subject is qualified as good or bad.

    2. Unconditional acceptance of the other

    The positive or negative evaluations that a person makes of others are conditioned by their own beliefs, emotions or actions and are based on socially present principles, values ​​and moral aspects. Despite such influence, the global being of the other is accepted with compassion and respect.

    3. Unconditional acceptance of life

    Based on personal or social goals or objectives you can achieve an assessment of vital circumstances, Although these circumstances in themselves are not judged, but are actively assumed and accepted.

      The foundations of the current TREC

      The theoretical basis that underlies TREC and enables the adoption of a more adaptive and rational general cognitive functioning, as well as the philosophy of life mentioned above, derives from the following central ideas.

      1. The confluence between the genetic load and the biological load

      It is an element that the human being has in the origin and the whole of the contextual experiences (physical environment, interpersonal relations and dominant social values) is the cause of the system of thoughts and beliefs of each individual.

      Learning derived from family, academic or professional influence, as well as interpersonal relationships, they shape a particular perspective for reading and interpreting oneself, others and the world in the world. Let’s say it’s the lens through which the person appreciates everything around them. Therefore, although sometimes such beliefs or perspectives are not functional, they tend to appear and remain unconscious, as these are the precepts that the individual is used to automatically generating.

      When a thought manages to pass from the domain of automatisms to the conscious part, it is when its analysis and its questioning are made possible. The objective of TREC in this sense therefore becomes by making people aware, first of all, of the type of cognitions that are set in motion in the face of certain personal situations and to what nature they correspond (functional or not).

      2. The methodology used in the TREC

      It’s fundamentally scientific. This involves substantial training in a number of techniques which will promote the adoption of general cognitive functioning based on logic, realism and rationality.

      So, assuming that sometimes personal situations will be more or less pleasant, they are actively accepted as such, but they will always be assessed on the basis of conclusions based on facts and not on subjective assumptions. In other words, the interpretation that the individual will learn to perform with the TREC will be based on thought hypotheses derived from logical, probable and coherent approaches. On the contrary, these unlikely, contradictory or easily falsifiable options will be rejected.

      This ability to modify and adapt their thoughts based on evidence and not subjectivities is due to a flexible, adaptable, modifiable, etc. style of thinking, which is verified through behavioral experiences where the person is exposed to their irrational beliefs in order to contrast them scientifically.

      This methodology aims to replace rigid and dogmatic reasoning, As is the case with beliefs related to merit or non-merit which are given to vital circumstances experienced by others or by oneself based on their good or bad deeds; the scientific method has nothing to do with that kind of divine justice which is sometimes meant to be applied to assess certain vital events.

      3. Conceptual distinctions

      In connection with the previous point, the TREC aims for the person to learn to discern the difference between a preference (linked to rational approaches) and a requirement (linked to dysfunctional postulates).

      In the first case, preference indicates desire, Which implies the acceptance of the possibility that it does not materialize.

      In the second phenomenon, demand implies obligation, necessity, rigidity, etc., and it does not envisage the appearance of other alternative options. The latter are the ones most often associated with the onset of personal emotional distress and are often formulated using the known cognitive distortions “should” or “should”.

      4. Focus on the present

      Finally, TREC emphasizes its techniques for identifying dysfunctional cognitive patterns of the present, therefore gives little relevance for attributing traumatic causation to events occurring in childhood. The key lies, with high probability, in the catastrophic connotation that the person generated at the time to form their own thoughts, not so much in the situation itself.

      Obviously, it is assumed that there are certain events such as episodes of abuse, abuse, marked deficits in the development of significant links which can objectively constitute traumatic situations. However, in many other not-so-extreme occasions, the cognitive interpretation made in this regard becomes one of the factors responsible for the dysfunctional belief system a person may exhibit today.

      To conclude

      As you can see, the type of intervention presented presents a basic theoretical development with sufficient rigor and foundation to achieve very significant efficiency indices. The way in which an individual values ​​his reality becomes one of the fundamental aspects which condition the presence of an adaptive and satisfying emotional state.

      Thus, the basic learning that TREC enables the individual is mainly oriented towards generate in the person a positive self-image of competence in managing their own thoughts and in the capacity of these to be modified (substantiated or refuted) on the basis of the objective evidence found. This new reasoning methodology ultimately promotes a realistic, rational and therefore more balanced cognitive style.

      Bibliographical references:

      • Ellis, A. (2014). You can be happy. Rational Emotional Behavior Therapy for Overcoming Anxiety and Depression. Ed: Iberian Paidós: Barcelona.
      • Ellis A. (2013). How to control anxiety before it controls you. Ed: Iberian Paidós: Barcelona.

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