REBT

REBT – Rational Emotive Behavioural Therapy. Basic Concepts Expalined

Albert Ellis (1913-2007) founder of REBT therapyREBT short for The Rational Emotive Behavioural Therapy approach to counselling belongs to the behavioural School of therapy and was devised by Albert Ellis an American psychologist who in the 1950’s devised a form of therapy that he believed would help us think our way out of distress.


As a younger man Ellis wanted to find a girlfriend, to try to break his habit of being shy, he went in to New York’s central park and talked to 100 women.
Although he never got a date he became more confident of talking to woman and altered, what he described as, an irrational fear.


REBT founder, Albert Ellis (1913-2007), had an interest in the philosophy of the ancient Greeks, one philosopher in particular was  Marcus Aurelius, (yes he is the character Russell Crow played in the film Gladiator) who said “Very little is needed to make a happy life; it is all within yourself, in your way of thinking”.

REBT and CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) are closely related.

The basis of the theory is:-

  1. Action (you crash your car)
  2. Belief (You believe that you are a rubbish driver)
  3. Consequence (you stop driving because you fear you will have another accident)
  4. Dispute (the counsellor disputes that you are a rubbish driver, and asks you to consider that most people will have an accident in their driving careers)

The goal of REBT is to help clients replace Irrational Thinking with Rational Thinking.


Clients are encouraged to undertake homework to assess how the therapy is working for them, the therapist sets task and goals which is why it is known as an Active directive form of therapy. 

REBT therapists believe that we can ‘think ourselves out of our problems’.