Talking About Rational Emotive Behavioral Therapy

If you want to jumpstart your mental state, you may go to therapy. However, what type of therapy should you seek?

One to look at is rational emotive behavioral therapy or REBT. In this post, we’ll look at it and what it can do for you.

What is Rational Emotive Behavioral Therapy?

REBT helps you change any beliefs that are irrational or harmful.

It was developed in the 1950s by Albert Ellis, a psychologist. Ellis found that people who had irrational beliefs about society or themselves ended up having issues with life, including negative thinking patterns.

REBT is based on an ABC model.

A stands for activating event. An activating event is an environmental occurrence that happens to you.

B means beliefs. When the activating event happens, you may have a belief about it. This belief can then bring C.

C stands for consequence, which is your emotional response.

For example, if you get rejected from a job application, you may believe that they dislike you and that you’ll never get hired. This causes you to stop improving your talents and stop looking for work.

How Does REBT Work?

To discuss REBT, you need to know how it works and how the process usually goes. When you go in, a therapist will treat you, and the treatment usually involves this.

Looking At Irrational Beliefs

Your therapist may help you take a look at any beliefs or thought patterns that are irrational and distressful.

Irrational beliefs do not mean faiths or philosophies you hold about the world. Instead, they tend to describe how you feel about yourself.

You may think to yourself, “I cannot do this” when you try something and end up failing. Another irrational belief is being upset over someone else’s mistakes.

Irrational beliefs can mean being a perfectionist or believing that you hold little control over the happiness you have.

With REBT, it’s essential to control these emotions to the best of your ability. And to do that, you need to

Challenge What’s Irrational

REBT involves taking a good, hard look at irrational beliefs.

The therapist will begin to question these beliefs. Some therapists try to entertain your beliefs and avoid offending, but REBT therapists tend to be quite blunt and confrontational. Of course, they are going to do it in a way that makes you less defensive.

How Does One Change Their Beliefs and Actions?

When you begin to realize that you have irrational beliefs, what can you do to stop them?

Stopping irrational beliefs can be a bit of a daunting task, but there are some ways for you to change what you believe.

One method is to learn emotionally healthy ways to cope whenever you are faced with failure.

Going back to the rejection again, it’s essential to learn that most people, even successful ones, get rejected. Learning to cope with your emotions and continue to improve is one way to help yourself.

Also, looking at your activities when you react to your emotions is also important. Your therapist may teach you meditation, helping you calm down whenever you have an emotional response.

Another method they may try with you is journaling. You write down how your emotions are in a journal, and then you read it to the therapist each session.

Other times, you may need to practice mindfulness, which can keep you in the present and stop dwelling on past mistakes or future worries.

What Can REBT Help With?

Irrational beliefs can fuel various mental health disorders. As such, REBT can help with the following:

Depression and Anxiety

These two mental disorders involve thinking self-defeating or worrying thoughts, making your anxiety or depression worse.

REBT can help you to face those beliefs head-on.

Eating Disorders

Some eating disorders may be due to skewed views about body image, and by tackling these views, it may help improve your eating disorder.


If you are unable to sleep, thoughts about never sleeping again may fuel your insomnia.

REBT can help to calm your mind and get a better night’s sleep.

Relationship Issues

If you are having problems with your partner, or even a friend, REBT can help you face those irrational thoughts that can make your relationships worse—for instance, believing that your friends secretly hate you when they do not.


REBT is just helpful for improving yourself. We all have irrational beliefs that hold us back, and speaking with a therapist about them may be beneficial.

What is the Difference Between REBT and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy?

REBT may seem similar to cognitive behavioral therapy or CBT. CBT came after and is popular with most therapists.

They do have a lot of similarities, mainly that our thoughts influence our behaviors. However, they do have some differences, including:

  • CBT does not look at the secondary disturbance, instead of focusing on the self.
  • CBT tends to use reinforcement of the client’s positive traits to improve self-esteem. Meanwhile, REBT uses unconditional self-acceptance.
  • REBT tends to look more at negative emotions that are helpful.
  • CBT tends to believe some anger is justified, while REBT tends to not.
  • REBT tends to be shorter than CBT.

There are a few other differences between CBT and REBT, but these are the main ones.

Should I Try REBT?

REBT may help treat you, and a therapist can help you determine if that is the appropriate treatment for your situation. In some cases, you may use REBT alongside other forms of therapy as well.

One way you can try rational emotive behavior therapy is through an online therapist. This method can help if you are always on the go or if you do not want to talk to someone in person. You can be able to get treatment on your schedule this way.

If it works well for you, then great! If not, then your therapist will try another method.

About the author

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Benjamin Noah

Benjamin is a professional blogger and marketer, who frequently writes about custom packaging, technologies, news and health to help businesses understand and adapt new ways to reach and inspire their target audience.