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Rational emotive behavior therapy (REBT)

Rational emotive behavior therapy (REBT), previously called rational therapy and rational emotive therapy, is an active-directive, comprehensive, philosophically and empirically based psychotherapy which focuses on resolving behavioral and emotional problems and disturbances and enabling people to lead happier and more fulfilling lives. REBT was created and developed by Albert Ellis-American psychotherapist and psychologist who was inspired by many of the teachings of Asian, Greek, Roman and modern philosophers. REBT is one form of cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) and was first expounded by Ellis in the mid-1950s; development continued until his death in 2007 (Wikipedia). Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT) is both a psychotherapeutic system of theory and practices and a school of thought established by Albert Ellis. Originally called rational therapy, its appellation was revised to rational emotive therapy in 1959, then to its current appellation in 1992. REBT was one of the first of the cognitive behavior therapies, as it was predicated in articles Ellis first published in 1956, nearly a decade before Aaron Beck first set forth his cognitive therapy. Precursors of certain fundamental aspects of REBT have been identified in particular ancient philosophical traditions, mostly in Stoicism. For example, Ellis' first major publication on rational therapy describes the philosophical basis of REBT as the principle that a person is more often affected emotionally by “his perceptions, attitudes, or internalized sentences about outside things and events” rather than by outside things. He adds, This principle, which I have inducted from many psychotherapeutic sessions with scores of patients during the last several years, was originally discovered and stated by the ancient Stoic philosophers, especially Zeno of Citium (the founder of the school), Chrysippus [his most influential disciple], Panaetius of Rhodes (who introduced Stoicism into Rome), Cicero, Seneca, Epictetus, and Marcus Aurelius. The truths of Stoicism were perhaps best set forth by Epictetus, who in the first century A.D. wrote in the Enchiridion: “Men are disturbed not by things, but by the views which they take of them.” Shakespeare, many centuries later, rephrased this thought in Hamlet: “There’s nothing good or bad but thinking makes it so.” (Wikipedia). REBT (it is not pronounced rebbit) is based on the premise that whenever we become upset, it is not the events taking place in our lives that upset us; it is the beliefs that we hold that cause us to become depressed, anxious, enraged, etc. According to Albert Ellis and to REBT, the vast majority of us want to be happy. We want to be happy whether we are alone or with others; we want to get along with others—especially with one or two close friends; we want to be well informed and educated; we want a good job with good pay; and we want to enjoy our leisure time. Of course life doesn't always allow us to have what we want; our goal of being happy is often thwarted by the "slings and arrows of outrageous fortune"(Dr. Ellis). When our goals are blocked, we can respond in ways that are healthy and helpful, or we can react in ways that are unhealthy and unhelpful. Albert Ellis and REBT posit that our reaction to having our goals blocked (or even the possibility of having them blocked) is determined by our beliefs. (Counseling Resource). To illustrate this, Dr. Ellis developed a simple ABC format to teach people how their beliefs cause their emotional and behavioral responses: A. Something happens.

B. You have a belief about the situation.
C. You have an emotional reaction to the belief.
For example:
A. Your employer falsely accuses you of taking money from her purse and threatens to fire you. B. You believe, “She has no right to accuse me. She's a bad person!” C. You feel angry.
If you had held a different belief, your emotional...
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