What is Rational Emotive Behavior TherapyREBT (Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy) is a method of self-help (as well as a clinical approach and even a philosophy ) aimed at helping people in the areas of addiction, anger, anxiety, depression, eating disorders, as well as other unwanted and self-defeating behaviors.

Developed by Dr. Albert Ellis in the 1950’s, REBT has been shown to be effective in many studies.

REBT is a well-documented and easy-to-learn approach for those looking for truly effective self-help. This can be done on one’s own, as well as in conjunction with a therapist.

REBT is based on a fairly simple premise – that our disturbances in life are rooted in our own thinking, and that by changing our thinking, we can change our behaviors and even our outlook on life.  Many REBT books present how to use the REBT method to deal with specific issues.

This is not just another set of self-help books. REBT even suggests that popular approaches such as positive thinking and building self-esteem are likely more harmful than beneficial for those looking to make long-lasting personal changes. Dr. Ellis wrote more than 50 books on REBT, and there are many books written by others as well that can be helpful used in a self-help situation, or if required, a support group or therapist setting.

Beginnings of REBT

REBT started as “Rational Therapy” in 1955 when Ellis and Harper first presented RT at a convention of the APA. Changing to “Rational Emotive Therapy” or RET in 1959, and then finally to “Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy” or REBT in 1992.

Albert Ellis All Out! An Autobiography

Albert Ellis, creator of REBT, and his autobiography: All Out!

Albert Ellis worked as a psychoanalyst and was less than satisfied with his patients results, and as an outcome first developed Rational Therapy based on the teachings of Stoicism, Eastern philosophies, as well as the work of Karen Horney (who created “Tyranny of the Shoulds”), and others.

From these ideas, Ellis first developed the popular “A-B-C model” of psychological change.

A-B-C Model of Change

The A-B-C model states that A, (an adversity or activating event) doesn’t directly lead to emotional and behavioral Cs (consequences), it’s mostly what people believe (B) about A.  Ellis posits that Bs that are demanding (I must, you must, etc.) tend to create emotional disturbances and lead to unwanted behaviors.  When the Bs are flexible, based on preferences (instead of demands) the Consequences tend to be healthy emotional and behavioral outcomes.

Therefore, REBT says that by learning to change what we tell ourselves, we can change our moods and behaviors.

Applications of REBT

REBT has been studied and shown effective when used as a self-help method, a group therapy method, or the basis for professional – client therapy. Indeed, “self-helpingness” is a large part of what makes REBT effective, regardless how one is guided through the process.  The type and level of therapy (as with any method) will certainly depend upon the severity level of the unique situation.

REBT has been used in many areas including family issues, addiction recovery, assertiveness training, anxiety, angereating disorders, and other areas.

REBT Books

You’ll find an increasing number of informative and helpful books here, many of which are intended for self-help and self improvement, as well as books aimed at the many professionals that use REBT.

If you’re looking to help yourself, or seeking a solid method of self improvement, try this effective and proven method.