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  • Writer's pictureDeric Hollings

Reliability vs. Validity

 

 

When practicing Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT), I keep in mind that this psychotherapeutic modality is a scientific approach to helping people get better and not to merely feel better. Concerning this realization, one source posits:

 

The general theory of REBT is based on the ABC model. Being a scientific approach, the original ABC model of REBT has evolved (and is still evolving) from its initial form. Thus, some original ideas of the theory were confirmed, others were invalidated, and other ideas were added based on research.

 

In experimental research, the terms “reliability” and “validity” refer to specific measures which are necessary to produce sound results. Although not all of my clients share an interest in research on a peer review level, they use an individual form of research when completing negotiated homework tasks.

 

Per one source, “Reliability is the extent to which the outcomes are consistent when the experiment is repeated more than once,” and, “Validity is the extent to which the instruments that are used in the experiment measure exactly what you want them to measure.”

 

Admittedly, I have no interest in conducting research studies. However, I’m concerned with whether or not clients use reliability and validity when conducting their homework, because I aim to help people accomplish their own interests and goals.

 

In simple terms, reliability relates to whether or not dependable results will occur. Think of a broken scale with which you weigh yourself. Suppose that compared to other scales your instrument renders results that are approximately five pounds over what you actually weigh.

 

You can rely on your scale to provide inconsistent results. However, the scale doesn’t accurately measure your weight. Therefore, its results are considered invalid. Thus, your scale is reliably invalid.

 

Given this understanding, think about how reliability and validity may apply to an REBT homework task. Imagine that John Doe wants to assess whether or not his use of unconditional acceptance is being done in a reliable and valid manner. We can scientifically track John’s use of this intervention.

 

Broadly speaking, the scientific method involves observation and formulating a question, researching a topic, proposing a hypothesis, testing with experimentation, analyzing data, reporting conclusions, and applying the information to the original observational question.

 

Collaborating with John, we observe that he disturbs himself with irrational beliefs about visitors to his apartment complex who park in his assigned parking spot. John pays $100 per month for the marked spot and he rigidly determines that no one else should park in his spot.

 

Because of his inflexible belief-consequence connection, John has engaged in many shouting and shoving matches with visitors to the apartment complex. His initial question is, “Is there a way that I can stop getting upset?” which is a proper question, because it represents John’s understanding about personal ownership.

 

John realizes that he can’t control or influence the behavior of others in this matter, although he’s tried to no avail. After formulating a question about his self-disturbance, John and I negotiate homework regarding the gathering of information related to unconditional other-acceptance (UOA).

 

Completing this task, John hypothesizes that if he practices UOA for one month, and checks in on his progress during weekly sessions with me, he can decrease his self-disturbed response to unproductive beliefs from a seven out of ten to a two out of ten on a scale whereby one is mildly annoyed and ten represents a physical assault related to anger.

 

John then tests his hypothesis with behavioral experimentation. Every time he observes someone parking in his parking spot, John tells himself, “While I wish people would honor the rules of this apartment complex, people are fallible and their imperfection isn’t worth fighting over.”

 

Each time John practices UOA of this sort, he experiences annoyance though not anger. At the end of a month wherein John uses UOA, and checks in with me regarding this REBT intervention strategy, he’s able to achieve a two out of ten rating—having met his original goal.

 

Together, John and I analyze the data from his experiment. John’s use of UOA was reliable, because he consistently applied the technique no matter how many times people parked in his spot.

 

Likewise, John’s subjective scale was valid, because he didn’t change the measurement of success along the way. John understands that violation of apartment norms can be annoying, though he doesn’t have to disturb himself into fits of rage over the matter.

 

Applying his success with UOA to other instances in life (e.g., people driving slow in the fast lane) John reports consistent success regarding his interests and goals. After a number of sessions, I revisit John’s initial question: “Is there a way that I can stop getting upset?”

 

Ultimately, John concludes that the answer is yes. He’s used a reliable and valid technique that allows John to stop upsetting himself with unhelpful beliefs about others.

 

John has successfully used REBT while understanding the importance of reliability and validity. Would you like to know more about how this psychotherapeutic technique, that uses a scientific base to help people get better, may help you to stop upsetting yourself?

 

If you’re looking for a provider who works to help you understand how thinking impacts physical, mental, emotional, and behavioral elements of your life—helping you to sharpen your critical thinking skills, I invite you to reach out today by using the contact widget on my website.

 

As a psychotherapist, I’m pleased to help people with an assortment of issues ranging from anger (hostility, rage, and aggression) to relational issues, adjustment matters, trauma experience, justice involvement, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, anxiety and depression, and other mood or personality-related matters.

 

At Hollings Therapy, LLC, serving all of Texas, I aim to treat clients with dignity and respect while offering a multi-lensed approach to the practice of psychotherapy and life coaching. My mission includes: Prioritizing the cognitive and emotive needs of clients, an overall reduction in client suffering, and supporting sustainable growth for the clients I serve. Rather than simply helping you to feel better, I want to help you get better!

 

 

Deric Hollings, LPC, LCSW

 

 

References:

 

David, D. (n.d.). Rational emotive behavior therapy in the context of modern psychological research. Albert Ellis Institute. Retrieved from https://albertellis.org/rebt-therapy-in-the-context-of-modern-psychological-research/

Hollings, D. (2022, May 17). Circle of concern. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/circle-of-concern

Hollings, D. (2022, March 15). Disclaimer. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/disclaimer

Hollings, D. (2023, September 8). Fair use. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/fair-use

Hollings, D. (2023, October 12). Get better. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/get-better

Hollings, D. (n.d.). Hollings Therapy, LLC [Official website]. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/

Hollings, D. (2022, November 4). Human fallibility. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/human-fallibility

Hollings, D. (2024, January 2). Interests and goals. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/interests-and-goals

Hollings, D. (2023, May 18). Irrational beliefs. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/irrational-beliefs

Hollings, D. (2023, September 19). Life coaching. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/life-coaching

Hollings, D. (2022, November 7). Personal ownership. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/personal-ownership

Hollings, D. (2022, March 25). Rational emotive behavior therapy (REBT). Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/rational-emotive-behavior-therapy-rebt

Hollings, D. (2024, January 4). Rigid vs. rigorous. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/rigid-vs-rigorous

Hollings, D. (2022, November 1). Self-disturbance. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/self-disturbance

Hollings, D. (2022, October 7). Should, must, and ought. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/should-must-and-ought

Hollings, D. (2022, November 9). The ABC model. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/the-abc-model

Hollings, D. (2022, December 25). The B-C connection. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/the-b-c-connection

Hollings, D. (2023, August 6). The science. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/the-science

Hollings, D. (2022, July 11). Unconditional acceptance. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/unconditional-acceptance

Hollings, D. (2023, February 25). Unconditional other-acceptance. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/unconditional-other-acceptance

Lemaron, P. (2023, October 22). Differences between validity and reliability in research. LinkedIn. Retrieved from https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/differences-between-validity-reliability-research-paul-lemaron-bgl8f

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