Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy

During the 1950’s, Albert Ellis, Ph.D. developed an insight therapy by the name of Rational-Emotive Therapy (RET), a technique during which patients learned to rationally challenge irrational ideas of beliefs (Thorpe & Olson, 1997). As Ellis asserted that his technique also emphasized behavioral modifications, the technique was renamed Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy in the 1990’s.

Ellis posited though although patients may think their emotional distress is precipitated by an activating event, distress is actually caused by one’s beliefs about the event (Thorpe & Olson, 1997). Throughout treatment, patients are encouraged to dispute the irrational (and therefore unhelpful) beliefs that exacerbate emotional distress.

Therapists utilizing REBT techniques may take an active and directive approach in order to assist patients in challenging their irrational beliefs. Patients may be encouraged to consider viewing their problems from a different perspective, model individuals who display a desired behavior, or discriminate between “belief” and “fact”. REBT can be effective in treating a variety of issues including but not limited to anxiety, phobias, relationship problems, anger management difficulties, depression, and poor impulse control.

Thorpe, G. L. & Olson, S. L. (1997). Behavior therapy: Concepts, procedures, and applications. Needham Heights: Allyn & Bacon.