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 The Efficacy of Rational Emotive Therapy: A Quantitative Review of the Outcome Research.


The results demonstrated that RET is an effective form of therapy. The efficacy was most clearly demonstrated when RET was compared to baseline and other forms of controls. The differences between comparisons of RET to CBM and Behavior Therapy were not significant.

One general criticism of RET outcome studies have been the great number of analogue studies. Ledwidge (1978) and Zettle & Hayes (1980) claimed that by using student volunteers, the therapeutic efficacy of RET was not demonstrated. Based on the present results this criticism is not warranted. No significant differences were found between comparisons of student and clinical subjects. Most of the studies involving students were investigating genuine problems. While these problems may not be as severe as those seen in clinical settings, if RET was not an effective form of therapy, or was not effective for more severe problems, a disparity between results found with students and psychotherapy clients would have been found.

Reviews with a definitive allegiance to RET (e.g., DiGuiseppe & Miller, 1977) criticized many RET outcome studies for using postgraduate students as therapists. This clearly remains a problem. The majority of therapists in the studies reviewed were PhD Candidates, with relatively little experience compared to professional therapists. The results suggest that therapist experience is an important variable in influencing the effectiveness of RET.

These results with therapist experience vary somewhat from Miller & Berman (1983). In their quantitative review of CBM studies, therapist experience was not related to effect size. One explanation of this difference lies in how Miller & Berman (1983) assessed therapist experience, which was measured in years, whereas a rating scheme was used in the present meta-analysis. A rating scheme was used in the present study was used because information regarding exact clinical experience was generally not available. If more detailed information was readily available, results similar to the Miller & Berman (1983) may have been found.