Rational Emotive Behavioral Therapy (REBT) and Albert Ellis

Below is a brief and clear summary of Rational Emotive Behavioral Therapy REBT. Here is an example of how, combined with REBT, Hypnotherapy may offer benefits: In REBT theory, as the article below estates “people should question their fundamental beliefs (in most cases, irrational), then replace them with other, more constructive (rational) beliefs “: these restructured and / or replaced by other rational and constructive, fundamental beliefs, when repeated and/or rehearsed from a hypnotic state, may be integrated into our subconscious mind and become part of who we are in a quick and efficient manner.

Albert Ellis (1913-2007). Foto: Wikipedia

Albert Ellis (1913-2007) was one of the most influential psychologists of the twentieth century and one of the most prominent figures in the field of psychology after his break with the psychodynamic school.

He created one of the theories that have revolutionized the foundations and methodology in the treatment of emotional and psychological problems and has earned a place of honor among the greatest psychologists. We speak today of Albert Ellis and REBT.

Albert Ellis and Rational Emotive Behavioral Therapy (REBT)

His theory (Rational Emotive Behaviour Theory) is well known and although many psychologists do not share its principles, many others are joining this line, finding in it a good basis for further developing their profession and the right treatment for each disorder, according to the current demands in the field of clinical psychology.

Albert Ellis was born in Pittsburgh in 1913 and studied at Columbia University (New York), which specializes in training professionals of psychoanalysis. There he obtained his doctorate in 1947. Ellis soon realized of the limitations of  Sigmund Freud’s theory and , disappointed by the few positive results obtained with patients, gradually abandoned psychoanalytic theory to begin work in his own theory.

Already by 1953 he completely broke with psychoanalysis and begun to develop a type of psychotherapy called Rational Emotive Therapy, a type of cognitive behavioral psychotherapy orientation.

REBT: How does it work?

But what is Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy? We know that Ellis received training in the field of letters. Among his studies, he had a lot to do with philosophy, which serves as the primary basis for the further development of his theory. Ellis believed that his theory could be summarized in the phrase of the famous Greek Stoic philosopher Epithet, which stated that “People are not altered by facts, but by what they think about the facts”

Ellis developed his theory, exemplifying it as shown in this graph: (“acontecimiento”: event; “pensamiento e interpretación del acontecimiento”: thought and interpretation of event; “sentimientos”: feelings)

Albert Ellis believed that behavioral and emotional problems could have their genesis from three sources: the thinking, the emotional and the behavioral. He emphasized how thoughts affect psychological disorders.

Ellis (1995) stated that people are largely responsible for their disturbed feelings which are generated both consciously or unconsciously. Therefore, these people have all the resources to change their thoughts and bring their lives to durable and stable states.

The link between thought and emotion

According to Ellis, this shows how thought and emotion are related. Ellis said that what causes emotional disturbance or trouble is not what happens at point A, but people create a structure of belief in point B and reinforce these beliefs in a negative and often harmful way, which manifests itself in behavioral or emotional reactions: the point C, according to Ellis (1962).

This body of theory and therapy motivated many criticisms by some professionals in the field of psychiatry and psychology itself, stating that it sinned of an excessive “rationalism” which caused the theory to be perceived as unviable and unscientific. However, time allowd numerous studies and investigations on cases which had been treated with REBT, obtaining excellent results and high reliability. That’s why REBT is today in the forefront of psychotherapies.

The studies Ellis developed throughout his life eventually took off. Currently, his school -located in New York City- continues to work in the training of psychotherapists, through lectures, care for people with personal and family problems, and studies that provide the science of psychology with new tools which are needed in a century as demanding as the one we live in.

Rational Emotive Behavioural Therapy has a clear objective, as Saranson (2006) estates in his book ” Abnormal Psychopathology”, the problem of unadapted behaviour, which refers to Ellis and Dryden (1977): people should question their fundamental beliefs (in most cases, irrational), then replace them with more constructive (rational) ones.

REBT has been applied not only in the clinical field but there are several writings on intervention in the areas of education and employment. A therapy that offers many opportunities in the study on humans, emotions, thought and mental health.


  • Caballo, V. (2010), Manual de técnica y Modificación de conducta
  • Ellis, A. (2003), Manual de Terapia Racional Emotiva, Editorial Desclee
  • Saranson, B. y Saranson, I. (2006), Psicopatologia Anormal, el problema de la conducta inadpatada, Editorial Pearson

Jonatan Suárez Clinical psychologist. For Psicología y Mente, read – in castillian- from the original link  by clicking here.



About Anna Pons

Certificat (CPPD), Post Graduat Certificat (PGCert) i Post Graduat Diploma (PGD) en Hipnoteràpia Clínica, London College of Clinical Hypnosis (LCCH) i Universitat de West London (UWL)
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