Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy was developed by Dr Albert Ellis in 1955. As such, it was the first form of cognitive behavioural therapy to be developed. It stemmed from Dr Ellis’s keen interest in philosophy, most notably the ancient Stoic philosophers, and his recognition of the limited application of more traditional forms of psychotherapy.
From his interest in the philosophical writings about human suffering and the human condition, Dr Ellis surmised that individuals, all individuals, are competent at disturbing themselves by irrational thinking patterns.
REBT teaches people that it is not the thing itself that disturbs us, rather we disturb ourselves about it.
Thus people make inferences about situations and events in their lives, REBT holds that people then go on to hold irrational beliefs about those inferences and it is those irrational beliefs that lead to emotional distress and behavioural disturbances.
REBT helps people to understand the different types of irrational beliefs that they hold and how to challenge them. It does this using a variety of thinking, emotional, behavioural and experiential techniques.