Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy

REBT is a form of cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) that was developed by Dr. Albert Ellis in the 1950s. REBT is based on two principles: our thoughts cause our emotions and behaviors; and, we can change the way we think to change the way we feel and act. The goal of REBT is to help clients identify when their beliefs are irrational so they can change them into more rational ones. This will help them feel better about themselves, others, and life in general.

The ABCs of the REBT

The ABCs of REBT is a way to understand how our thoughts and feelings influence our actions.

  • Activating Event: An activating event is any situation that causes a person to feel anxious, depressed, angry, or guilty. It can be an external event (someone insults you) or internal (you remember something bad that happened in the past).
  • Beliefs: Our beliefs are generalizations about the world around us and how we expect people to behave in certain situations. These beliefs tell us how we should feel about various things and what kinds of treatment we deserve in life. A person might believe that they have no control over their lives or that others are responsible for their happiness or unhappiness (such as “if my partner divorces me, then I won’t be able to handle it”). If you think back on your own experiences with anxiety disorders such as OCD, panic attacks, or social phobia you’ll likely find some irrational beliefs at play behind your symptoms (for example: “I’m going to die if I don’t wash my hands again”).
  • Consequences: Our consequences are our behavioral responses after evaluating whether an activating event is dangerous or not based on whether it matches our preconceived notions about life (i.e., “If someone insults me then they must be right”). For example, if someone tells you off then this may trigger anger because they’re not being nice like they should; however if they complimented instead then perhaps gratitude would arise instead – depending on what type of person he/she was perceived as being by using mental filters known as schemas which will determine whether we get angry/happy, etc. about what happens around us at any given moment.”

How does it work?

REBT is a way of thinking about how to live our lives. It’s based on the idea that our thoughts cause our feelings, not external events. The therapy helps us to see that we can change how we think and feel by changing what we tell ourselves.

We all want to be happy, but sometimes life can be difficult. REBT helps us understand that it’s often our own thinking that creates problems for ourselves and others, so we’re better off if we learn how to identify those thoughts—and then change them!

What techniques are used in REBT?

REBT is based on the principles of cognitive-behavioral therapy. It focuses on changing maladaptive thinking and behaviors by examining the way in which you view yourself, others, and the world around you.

REBT uses many different techniques to help patients understand their thoughts, emotions, and behaviors so they can make better choices that lead to improved well-being:

  • Cognitive restructuring — Examining beliefs (e.g., “I’m not good enough”) that contribute to emotional distress; identifying irrational ideas (e.g., “Life should be fair”) and replacing them with more rational ones; taking responsibility for one’s actions instead of blaming others or external factors for causing one’s problems
  • Rational emotive analysis — Identifying negative core beliefs (“I’m unlovable”) and testing their validity through self-monitoring; identifying irrational thinking patterns (“All my friends are happier than me”), challenging these thoughts using rational analysis methods such as Socratic questioning
  • Goal setting — Setting realistic goals for oneself that align with personal values in order to achieve greater happiness and fulfillment over time
  • Self-monitoring — Writing down how you feel after experiencing a negative emotion so that you can recognize its source; keeping track of your progress toward achieving goals so you can adjust accordingly if necessary.

REBT is a helpful way to think about how to live our lives.

Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT) is a helpful way to think about how to live our lives. It’s based on the idea that our thoughts, feelings, and actions are interrelated.

If you have a negative thought about something that happens, it’s likely that you will feel bad or experience other emotions as well. REBT can help you learn how to identify your negative thoughts and how they lead to your feelings so that you can change them. This way, instead of getting upset when something happens (like not getting the job promotion), you can focus on figuring out what went wrong and then try again next time!

With REBT therapy, it’s possible for people who suffer from depression or anxiety disorders such as OCD or PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) to overcome their symptoms using rational thinking techniques rather than taking medication like anti-depressants which often have side effects.”


As we’ve seen in this article, REBT is a powerful tool that can help us live better lives. It can help us manage our emotions and think more clearly about the challenges we face. By using the ABCs of REBT (Activating Events, Beliefs, and Consequences), we can become more aware of our thoughts and beliefs and see how they play into our reactions toward others. We can then learn to identify irrational beliefs or distorted cognitions that may be causing us harm through cognitive restructuring techniques such as rational emotive imagery or writing down healthy alternatives for thought patterns that are no longer serving us well. Ultimately, REBT helps us learn how to change unhealthy patterns so that we can lead happier lives!