REBT – Rational Emotive Behavioural Therapy


REBT is a form of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) developed by Dr. Albert Ellis in 1955. REBT is an action-oriented approach to managing cognitive, emotional and behavioural disturbances.

According to REBT – how we think about events is largely what leads us to emotional and behavioural upset, with an emphasis is on the present, rather than the past. You will be helped to examine and challenge any unhelpful thinking habits which are creating unhealthy emotions and self-defeating/self-sabotaging behaviours.

The theory is an action-oriented approach focused on helping people deal with their irrational beliefs and learn how to manage their emotions, thoughts, and behaviours in a healthier and more realistic way.

The priciple of REBT

Ultimately, REBT recognises that our cognition (thoughts) emotions, and behaviour are all connected, all interacting and influencing each other.

In order to understand behaviour during situations, its essential to look at the beliefs that people hold about these situations and the emotions that arise as a result of these beliefs.

REBT is a short-term form of therapy which involves different types of techniques to challenge irrational beliefs and replace them with healthier, more productive ones. REBT is grounded in the idea that people generally want to do well in life and reach their goals.

The focus of REBT is mostly on the present to help someone understand how their perceptions of situations can cause emotional distress, which in turn, leads to unhealthy actions and behaviours that interfere with their life goals.

Once identified and understood and changed to more rational thoughts, this can help people to develop better relationships and approaches to situations and events. 

REBT can be particularly helpful for people living with a variety of issues, but especially those experiencing the following:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Addictive behaviours
  • Phobias
  • Procrastination
  • Disorder eating habits
  • Sleep problems
  • Overwhelming feelings of anger, guilt or shame

The core concept of REBT is the ABC model. This model explains that, whilst we might blame external events for our unhappiness, it is actually our beliefs/interpretation of these events that lies at the heart of psychological distress.

The ABC concept of REBT

Albert Ellis’ ABC Model in the Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

A – Activating event – this is when something happens in the environment which triggers a negative reaction or response.

B – Beliefs – this describes the thoughts about the triggering event or situation, usually irrational thoughts about the activating event.

C – Consequence – this is the emotional response which are usually distressing emotions resulting from the irrational thoughts or beliefs.

With anxiety, for example. Individuals tend to engage in self-defeating behaviours and have unhealthy attitudes which can be rigid or extreme. REBT suggests that the attitudes largely influence whether someone will have unhealthy negative feelings.

REBT will help to make the distinction between healthy negative feelings of concern and unhealthy feelings of anxiety. Therefore, by adopting more healthy negative feelings, it will help during times of adversity.

With rigid attitudes to adversity, individuals tend to use ‘demand’ statements such as ‘must’ ‘absolutely’ ‘should/shouldn’t’. Through using demands an individual is more likely to experience extreme negative emotional consequences.

REBT encourages people to realise that they have a choice in their emotions and to take accountability for their beliefs. The therapy will also encourage the use of language that is useful.

Professional help

Our REBT therapists will work closely with you to help identify your individual set of beliefs, attitudes, expectations and personal rules that frequently lead to emotional distress.

They will then provide a variety of methods/tools to help you reformulate any unhelpful, irrational beliefs into more rational, realistic and helpful ones. Which will help you move forward more positively.

If you would like to make an appointment to see one of our REBT therapists. Then contact us at CBT and Counselling Kent today. Request an appointment

Links – https://albertellis.org/rebt-cbt-therapy/