Albert Ellis REBT

Albert Ellis

Rational Emotive Behavioural Therapy

Albert Ellis (1913-2007) founder of REBT

Albert Ellis (1913-2007) founder of REBT

Albert Ellis (September 27, 1913 – July 24, 2007) was the American psychologist who in 1955 is credited with starting the Rational Emotive Behavioural school of Therapy or REBT , the forerunner of what became known as Cognitive Behavioural school of therapy or CBT.

Ellis held both an M.A and Ph.D degrees in clinical psychology from Columbia University, was be all accounts a sickly child who lacked self confidence , as a young man he realised that he struggled talking to girls of his own age.

One day he decided to walk around central park in New York and talk to 100 girls as a way of curing his shyness, he later reflected that although he did not get a date he cured himself of the irrational thoughts that surrounded him associating with women .

The main Idea in cognitive therapies is that we all from time to time think irrationally.


Marcus Aurelius 121AD to180AD

Marcus Aurelius 121AD to 180AD

Ellis was a keen reader of philosophy gaining his ideas from the stoic philosophers of ancient Greece, in particular Marcus Aurelius who was quoted as saying:

'Very little is needed to make a happy life; it is all within yourself, in your way of thinking'.


Which sums up the whole idea behind this modality of therapy which believes that humans have a tendency to think irrationally ,getting into to cycles of behaviour known as self defeating beliefs.
The therapists role is to help clients think themselves out of their difficulties by asking them to consider if their difficulties are a product of irrational or magical thinking.


For example someone who believes that everybody is looking at them may be asked to look in a shop window and in the reflection of the glass observe if people are looking at them or are just going about their business.
The therapist disputing of irrational thinking, is according to the theory essential in helping clients get in to the habit of considering other explanations for their difficulties and gain a strategy for moving their life on.
Unlike psychoanalytical therapies, cognitive therapists while acknowledging the clients past , works In the here and now' helping the client to use strategy's to change in their life.

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