Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy
For individuals in the U.S. & U.S. territories
In Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy, Debbie Joffe Ellis demonstrates this influential and impactful approach to psychotherapy.
Originated by Albert Ellis, rational emotive behavior therapy (REBT) is based on the seemingly simple idea that it is not external events that make people happy or unhappy, but rather their internal thoughts about the events or themselves. In this approach, the therapist works to teach clients to identify and challenge their harmful irrational thinking and develop more beneficial and rational habits of thought. The shift toward more rational thinking in turn enables clients to behave more effectively and to create healthy emotions.
In this video, Dr. Joffe Ellis works with a woman in her 60s going through a divorce who is feeling stuck and hopeless. Dr. Joffe Ellis helps the client to recognize the difference between her thoughts and feelings and to begin to identify irrational thoughts and replace them with healthy and rational thoughts that will help her create new, positive, and realistic possibilities in her life.
Rational emotive behavior therapy (REBT) is a dynamic, active-directive approach that helped change the direction of psychology in the 20th century and herald in the cognitive revolution in therapy, counseling, and related fields.
Created by Albert Ellis, REBT is considered by many to be the most holistic of the cognitive approaches, with its particular emphasis on philosophical components for helping others in combination with its evidence-based, efficient, and practical tools. Albert Ellis created REBT from his innovative capacity to cope with life adversity and problem solve, combining this personal insight with influences from the wisdom of ancient, eastern, as well as contemporary philosophers of his day. General semantics played an influential part on his thinking, and some of its tenets are incorporated into REBT theory.
REBT's development was fueled by Ellis's research and curiosity, as well as his predisposition toward helping others to suffer less emotional misery.
REBT identifies the interplay of a person's beliefs, emotions, and behaviors. It emphasizes that people are capable of choosing and creating their emotional destinies according to their capacity and willingness to choose rational realistic thinking over irrational unhealthy thinking. It teaches the clear distinction between rational and irrational thinking, and gives tools enabling vigorous disputation of the unhealthy negative emotions.
REBT emphasizes the benefit and importance of practicing unconditional self acceptance, unconditional other acceptance, and unconditional life acceptance, which enables healthy tolerance toward oneself, others, and the world. REBT reminds people that lasting change requires ongoing work and effort, and includes a variety of cognitive, emotive, and behavioral techniques to assist with the maintenance of therapeutic gains.
REBT is applicable to individuals of various cultures and backgrounds, holds a most humanistic outlook, and reminds people to consider and contribute to the well-being of others while also practicing healthy self-care. It is effective for both individual and group therapy, and as a brief or long term approach.
Many practitioners use REBT as their primary approach, while others successfully and easily combine it in multimodal fashion with other approaches.
Debbie Joffe Ellis, born and raised in Melbourne, Australia, is a licensed psychologist (Australia) and a licensed mental health counselor (New York). She is affiliated with several major psychological associations, including APA, the American Group Therapy Association, and the Australian Psychological Society.
She has a doctorate in alternative medicine from the Indian Board of Alternative Medicines in affiliation with the World Health Organization, from which she has also received a gold medal (1993) in recognition of her service to the field of alternative medicine.
In Australia, she worked in her busy private practice; taught college courses on rational emotive behavior therapy (REBT), counseling, and personal development; and gave public and professional workshops and presentations. In the United States, she worked with her husband, Albert Ellis, giving public presentations and professional trainings on REBT and collaborating on writing and research projects until his death in 2007. Dedicated to her husband, she continues to present, practice, and write about his brilliant, groundbreaking approach.
She currently has a private practice in New York City, and she delivers lectures, workshops, and seminars throughout the United States and across the globe.
- Ellis, A. (2001). Overcoming destructive beliefs, feelings, and behaviors. Amherst, NY: Prometheus Books.
- Ellis, A. (2005). The myth of self-esteem. Amherst, NY: Prometheus Books.
- Ellis, A., & Ellis, D. J. (2010). All out! An autobiography. Amherst,NY: Prometheus Books.
- Ellis, A., & Harper, R. A. (1997). A guide to rational living. Chatsworth, CA: Wilshire Book Company.
- Korzybski, A. (1990). Science and sanity. Concord, CA: International Society for Semantics. (Originally published 1933)
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Social Anxiety
- Cognitive–Behavioral Therapy for Late-Life Depression
- Culturally Responsive Cognitive–Behavioral Therapy in Practice
Pamela A. Hays
- Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy Over Time
- Three Approaches to Psychotherapy With a Female Client: The Next Generation
Judith S. Beck, Leslie S. Greenberg, and Nancy McWilliams
- Three Approaches to Psychotherapy With a Male Client: The Next Generation
Judith S. Beck, Leslie S. Greenberg, and Nancy McWilliams
- Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy
- Cognitive–Behavioral Therapy for Refractory Cases: Turning Failure Into Success
Edited by Dean McKay, Jonathan S. Abramowitz, and Steven Taylor
- Culturally Responsive Cognitive–Behavioral Therapy: Assessment, Practice, and Supervision
Edited by Pamela A. Hays and Gayle Y. Iwamasa
- Exploring Three Approaches to Psychotherapy
Leslie S. Greenberg, Nancy McWilliams, and Amy Wenzel
- Making Evidence-Based Psychological Treatments Work With Older Adults
Edited by Forest Scogin and Avani Shah
- Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy
Albert Ellis and Debbie Joffe Ellis
- Strategic Decision Making in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy