What Is REBT And How Does It Work?


Rational emotive behavioral therapy (REBT) is a psychotherapy technique utilized to treat a wide range of mental health conditions. Regarded as a form of cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), It helps us to better manage our emotional and behavioral reactivity by identifying negative thought patterns.

Rational emotive behavioral therapy (REBT) is the oldest variant of cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and was created by psychologist Albert Ellis in 1955. Originally, Ellis called this approach Rational Therapy (RT) because he wanted to emphasize its rational and cognitive features, but in 1961, he modified its name to Rational-Emotive Therapy to show critics that it did not ditch the concept of emotions. Over 30 years later (in 1993), Ellis renamed the approach to Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT) to reveal to critics that it also focused on a person’s behavior.

What Is REBT?

In REBT, rationality is a thought that’s administered to a person’s beliefs. Rational thoughts, which are logical and relationship-enhancing, are considered to be at the heart of psychological wellness and self-acceptance. Irrational beliefs are rigid, inconsistent, illogical, and relationship-defeating ideas that can cause psychological distress.

In our fast-paced life, we get tired sometimes. We can’t control everything that happens in our lives and in this unpredictability, we go through a lot of stress which affects both our physical and mental health.

Related: These 9 signs will tell you that you’re mentally and emotionally exhausted.

Inspired by the Stoic philosophers, REBT holds the belief that it’s not activities that directly reason emotions and behaviors. Rather, it’s one’s ideals that cause emotional and behavioral reactivity.

In REBT theory (Ellis, 1962, 1994), there are four sorts of rational beliefs:

  1. Flexy preferences (“I got to be approved, however, if I don’t, then it’s what should be”),
  2. Non-awfulizing beliefs (“It’s horrific to be disapproved, however, it isn’t the end of the world”)
  3. High-frustration-tolerance beliefs (“It is tough to face being disapproved, but I can tolerate it and it’s worth tolerating”)
  4. Acceptance beliefs (e.g., unconditional self-acceptance).

The purpose of Rational Emotive Behavior Modification is to  –  challenge our unreasonable and dysfunctional values and replace them with more practical and functional goals. The end outcome isn’t just an exchange of ideas or a reduction to a few complicated symptoms, but a new outlook on life.

Models Of REBT

1. The ABCDE Model of Emotional Disturbance

The ABCDE Model represents a psychological instrument that helps clients discover irrational beliefs or self-defeating stances, and transform those into rational ones, so that new emotional, psychological, and behavioral desires are created, These desires are functional, flexible, non-absolutist, empirical, practical, and logical.

Ellis hypothesized that irrational beliefs are the result of a person’s goals or dreams being inhibited or blocked. When we don’t get or accomplish what we desired, we may develop irrational beliefs about ourselves or related events.

In this model, that is what a typical series of mind may look like:

  • A: Activating Event (something occurs to or around someone)
  • B: Belief (the event causes someone to possess a belief, either rational or irrational)
  • C: Consequence (the perception ends after a consequence, with rational beliefs leading to health effects and irrational ideals resulting in unhealthy consequences)
  • D: Disputation (if one has held an irrational perception which has caused unhealthy results, they have to dispute that belief and turn it right into a rational belief)
  • E: New Effect (the disputation has turned the irrational perception into a rational notion, and the man or woman now has healthier effects of their notion as a result)
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Kylie Clark

A kind psychologist with knowledge about therapeutic interventions (REBT & CBT). Experienced in taking one - one counselling sessions.View Author posts