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Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy

Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy is based on the premise that people have rational and irrational thought patterns based on past events. Its theorists suggest that rational thoughts encourage harmony, improved mental health and goal attainment. However, irrational tendencies are thought to sustain emotional disturbances that cause inner conflict.


REBT was developed by Albert Ellis during the 1950s. Ellis doubted the the effectiveness of traditional psychoanalysis and started to apply some of the principles he had learned through the work of philosophers such as Epictetus and Bertrand Russell. During the 1990s, he modified and named the approach, Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy.


This therapeutic approach has behaviourist influences and is based on the ABC:

  • A is the activating event
  • B (beliefs) involves the rational/irrational evaluation
  • C (consequences) represents emotions and behaviour

Therefore, the aim of  REBT is to eliminate negative absolutist beliefs and replace them with more flexible, positive perceptions.

How can Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy Help?

REBT has been successfully used to address problems such as depression and anger management. It has also been implemented to encourage personal growth and provide people with more positive ways of approaching life. Sessions take place individually and in groups.

Useful REBT Resources

The Albert Ellis Institute