Created by Albert Ellis, Rational Emotive Behavioural Therapy (REBT) is a different approach and fits well within cognitive behaviour therapy.

It's approach and techniques towards psychological treatment have been used since the 1950s. 

Rational Emotive Behavioral Therapy REBT

What is Rational Emotive Behavioural Therapy (REBT)?

You may be unsure about what distinguishes REBT from other forms of psychotherapy techniques and methodologies.

The basis of REBT is the belief that it is not the events we experience that cause our emotions & feelings, rather it is our beliefs and thinking processes that cause us to experience emotions such as anger, stress, depression, and anxiety.

By consciously examining our processes and changing our irrational beliefs and has shown to have a favourable effect on reducing emotional pain.

We create our own responses by our beliefs and values, which may not be supportive in specific situations.

REBT established three guiding principles of REBT. These are known as the ABCDEs: activating event, beliefs, and consequences.

  • Activating (or Adverse) Event. First, we identify the specific situation or event that triggers the un-supportive behavioural or emotional response. 
  • Beliefs. Secondly, we identify the core belief(s) that are connected to the emotional or behavioural response must be identified and carefully examined.
  • Consequences. The combination of the activating event and the core beliefs will produce an un-supportive result By changing and replacing these negative beliefs, we can drastically improve a person’s outlook and experience of life.
  • Dispute. You will learn how to actively dispute their irrational beliefs and provide tools so that they can design and install healthier supportive beliefs.
  • Effect. The effect of replacing one’s irrational beliefs about a specific situation is you become more adaptive and rational, which in turn leads to an improvement in emotions, behaviours, and thoughts.

REBT Three Insights

Although everyone has irrational thoughts from time to time, it is suggested that people can develop three fundamental insights that will reduce this tendency.

  • 1: Our rigid beliefs about negative events are primarily responsible for our psychological disturbances.
  • 2: We remain psychologically disturbed because we continue to adhere to our rigid beliefs instead of working to change them.
  • 3: Psychological health only comes when people work hard to change their irrational beliefs. It’s a practice that must start in the present and continue into the future.

There have been many studies supporting the claim REBT is an effective form of therapy for issues like obsessive-compulsive disorder, depression, and social anxiety.

It has to be said, REBT can be a somewhat confrontational, challenging your beliefs can be very uncomfortable, there is little that can be done to avoid these ab-reactions, remember, any challenge would be dome with the intention of creating a better, more supportive belief, and any feeling will be temporary.

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Complementary Therapists Accredited Association
REBT - Society of Neuro Linguistic Programming
REBT - General Hypnotherapy Register
General Hypnotherapy Standards Council


Further Reading


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