Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy (REBT) is a short-term form of psychotherapy developed by Dr Albert Ellis in the 1950’s. With a background in clinical psychology, he became increasingly dissatisfied with a lack of results in his patients. He developed his own therapy called Rational Therapy (RT) which over time developed into REBT.
“Men are disturbed not by things, but by the views they take of them”Epictetus – Greek Stoic Philosopher c.100 AD
Dr. Ellis was a fan of Stoic philosophy, and agreed with the quote above from Epictetus. REBT is based around the idea that it’s not WHAT happens to us, but how our own brain interprets it. Otherwise, why don’t we all act in the same way when something happens. Another way of thinking about this is that the brain filters the event, and out of the other side of the filter comes the emotion. By changing the filter, we can change the emotion.
In REBT we assess a persons beliefs (filter). These are often deeply rooted with the client not even fully aware of what their belief is. We then identify which aspects of the belief are unhealthy, and choose and implement a healthier way of thinking. This is why REBT helps with a variety of emotion problems.