Leone Centre Glossary

Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT)

Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT) in CBT

Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT) is an approach in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT). REBT focuses on irrational beliefs and cognitive distortions that often cause emotional and behavioural challenges. By addressing these core issues, individuals can become more adaptable and promote emotional well-being.

Detailed Overview

REBT, developed by Albert Ellis in the 1950s, is a type of CBT that focuses on identifying and changing irrational beliefs. It uses the ABC model, where A stands for Activating Event, B for Beliefs, and C for Consequences. This model helps individuals understand how their beliefs about an event may be affecting their emotional and behavioural responses. It was one of the first cognitive-behavioural therapies and remains a fundamental approach in the field.

Principles of REBT

The core principle of REBT is the ABC model:

A: Activating Event – something happens in the environment.
B: Belief – the individual’s belief about the event.
C: Consequence – the emotional and behavioural response to the belief.
REBT teaches that by changing irrational beliefs, individuals can alter their emotional responses and behaviours.

Application in CBT

REBT is included in CBT by helping individuals identify and challenge irrational beliefs. Therapists work with clients to develop more rational, adaptive beliefs, leading to healthier emotional and behavioural outcomes.


What is the main goal of REBT?
The main goal of REBT is to help individuals identify and change irrational beliefs that lead to emotional and behavioural issues.
How does REBT differ from other forms of CBT?
REBT specifically focuses on the role of irrational beliefs and uses the ABC model to help individuals understand and change their thought patterns.
Can REBT be used for all types of emotional issues?
REBT is versatile and can be applied to a wide range of emotional and behavioural issues, making it a valuable tool in therapy.


  1. Dryden, W. (2009). “Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy: Distinctive Features.” Routledge.
  2. Ellis, A., & Dryden, W. (1997). “The Practice of Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy.” Springer Publishing Company.
  3. David, D., Lynn, S. J., & Ellis, A. (2010). “Rational and Irrational Beliefs: Research, Theory, and Clinical Practice.” Oxford University Press.
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This glossary provides definitions of various counselling terms and approaches for informational purposes only, without implying endorsement or service provision