Rational Emotive Therapy or Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy

Rational emotive behaviour therapy (REBT) was originated in 1955 by the American psychologist Albert Ellis, and was the first of the now widely used cognitive behavioural therapies. The general goal of REBT is to uncover irrational or dysfunctional beliefs, and to actively and directively dispute them. A basic model used in this approach is the ABC-model, in which a client’s problems are placed within three categories, namely the activating events (A), the belief system (B) and the behavioural consequences (C). Particular importance is placed on the belief system, since it is here, according to Ellis, one finds the roots of many of the client’s problems. The key to REBT is uncovering the irrational or dysfunctional beliefs about the undesirable events experienced by the client, and attempting to aid the client in disputing such beliefs, making them significantly less disturbed and better equipped to deal with adversities.


Hersen, M., Sledge, W. H. (Eds.) (2002) Ellis, A. Encyclopedia of Psychotherapy, Vol. 2 (pp. 483-487). New York: Academic Press