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Rational Emotive Behavioral Therapy

“It is not the ‘thing’ that disturbs one; rather, the dogmatic view that one takes of the ‘thing’.”

                                                                                                Epictetus (50 -120 AD)

Rational Emotive Behavioral Therapy - REBT - was originated in 1955 by the psychologist Dr. Albert Ellis. REBT drastically changed the way psychotherapy is conducted. Instead of searching out childhood trauma (psychoanalysis) or reprograming behaviors (behavioralist), REBT investigates the thoughts / philosophies that individuals have, which make them behave and feel in ways that are disturbing. This idea was not new, it just wasn‘t put into practice nor was it scientifically proven. 


Put simply, REBT helps people to not upset themselves despite upsetting conditions. For example, if someone were to lose his/her job, REBT says that this person can choose to feel either depressed or just regretful about the loss. Because to be depressed is a much more destructive-negative feeling, most individuals naturally prefer to feel only regretful; which, is a much more tolerable state. Two points are important here: 1, REBT is not trying to get people to „look at the bright side“ and 2, it is not trying to take away feelings. We know that in our world disturbing things happen. Therapists, therefore, help their clients to learn how to deal with life‘s problems in healthy and functional ways. 

Although REBT is the grandfather/-mother of cognitive behavioral therapy, it was designed to keep up. REBT integrates new and proven methods and techniques into its program. Important, however, is knowing that REBT is not a method, rather a school of psychotherapy. That means, in regard to psychological / emotional problems, it is all encompassing. 60 years of data support Ellis‘ claim „Short term therapy, long term results“.

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