Rational Emotive Behavioural Therapy (REBT)

Just what is REBT and how does it work?

Rational Emotive Behavioural Therapy (REBT) was developed by Dr. Albert Ellis in 1955. It has since flourished and spawned a variety of other cognitive–behaviour therapies. REBT's effectiveness, short–term nature, and low cost are major reasons for its popularity.

REBT's comprehensive approach works best for individuals desiring a scientific, present–focused, and active treatment for coping with life's difficulties, rather than one which is mystical, historical, and largely passive. REBT focuses on the dynamic of cause and effect

Cognitive Therapy teaches you how certain thinking patterns are causing your symptoms – by giving you a distorted picture of what's going on in your life, and making you feel anxious, depressed or angry for no good reason, or provoking you into ill–chosen actions, when more appropriate thoughts, feelings and actions help in producing a more positive and productive outcome.

REBT is based on a few simple principles that have profound implications regarding life change:

Practical vs. Emotional

REBT distinguishes clearly between two very different types of difficulties: practical problems and emotional problems. Your flawed behaviour, unfair treatment of you by others, and undesirable situations, represent practical problems. Regrettably, your innate human tendency is to be upset by these practical problems, thereby unnecessarily creating a second order of problems-–emotional suffering.

The treatment of a clients problems evolve through three stages of therapy. These are known as RIA stages; Realization, Investigation/Interpretation and Actualization.


Stage 1:   Identify your "musts." Once an individual accepts that they distort their own emotions and actions, then the key to solution lies in determining precisely how distortion takes place. The culprit usually lies in one of the three core"musts:"

Stage 2: Dispute your "musts." The only way you can ever remain disturbed about adversity is by vigorously and persistently agreeing with one of these three "musts." Thus, once you've identified them, relentlessly question and challenge the demands you impose upon yourself, others and the world you inhabit.

Stage 3: Application of change. Decide on a new approach and apply this to the world of thoughts, feelings and actions – this time looking for evidence and accepting what is presented to you.

By identifying cause and effect and supporting this with evidence that is presented to you, you will steadily integrate new behavioural approaches that produce lasting positive consequences, and be an active player is shaping your own destiny.