Rational Emotive Behavioral Therapy (REBT)

Rational Emotive Behavioral Therapy or REBT was developed in the 1950’s by the late and great psychologist, Dr. Albert Ellis. Ellis was originally trained as a psychoanalyst and practiced that way for a few years but gave it up because he found it both too long and largely ineffective. He originally called in Rational Emotive Therapy but changed to Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy in the 80’s because many of the methods used were behavioral in addition to the cognitive ones he used and invented.

While Freudian or analytic approach focused mainly on understanding and analyzing early child events and interactions and Rogerian non-directive therapy was mainly based on the therapist actively listening to the client, REBT was more direct, interactive and focused mainly on the present and specifically on the thoughts and beliefs of the client. 

Cognitive Therapy or CT is fairly similar to REBT and was develop a year of so later than REBT by Dr. Aaron Beck. Some of the main differences are that REBT emphasizes changing a person’s core beliefs whereas CT is often content with just changing the immediate negative thought.  Also, the style of the CT therapist tends to be supportive and non-confrontational where as in REBT the style tends to be more forceful and at times confrontational (in challenging the client’s negative beliefs). 

I was fortunate to train directly with Dr. Ellis and a number of the fine faculty as a post doctoral fellow of the Institute for Rational Emotive Therapy. (It is now called, The Albert Ellis Institute.) Over the past 30 years, I have had some excellent results using REBT with a wide variety and client problems. 

For additional information on REBT, visit www.cognitivetherapy.cc and read other blogs and articles which describe REBT principles, practices and methods. You can also e-mail, Dr.Robert Heller at info@robertheller.net.

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