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  • Writer's pictureSpring Berriman

What is Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy?

Updated: Nov 24, 2023

Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy

In 2021, I strive to educate my readers on the different types of therapy available to patients who are seeking assistance with their mental health. Today’s topic is “Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy”.

Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT) is a short-term form of psychotherapy that helps you identify self-defeating thoughts and feelings, challenge the rationality of those feelings, and replace them with healthier, more productive beliefs. REBT focuses mostly on the present time to help you understand how unhealthy thoughts and beliefs create emotional distress which, in turn, leads to unhealthy actions and behaviors that interfere with your current life goals. Once identified and understood, negative thoughts and actions can be changed and replaced with more positive and productive behavior, allowing you to develop more successful personal and professional relationships.

Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy in Practice

Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy can help you with negative emotions such as anxiety, depression, guilt, and extreme or inappropriate anger. This approach is also used to help change stressful and self-defeating behaviors, such as aggression, unhealthy eating, and procrastination that get in the way of your quality of life and reaching your goals.

What to Expect from Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy

To help you manage and overcome difficulties or achieve life goals, the therapist will work with you to identify the beliefs and rigid thought patterns that are holding you hostage. The therapist will help you see how irrational these thoughts are and how they harm you. Through a variety of mental exercises, you will then learn how to reduce your negative thoughts and responses, and replace them with healthier, more constructive and self-accepting thoughts. REBT makes use of a variety of methods and tools, including positive visualization, reframing your thinking, and the use of self-help books and audio-visual guides, as well as assigned homework for reinforcement between sessions.

How Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy Works

REBT evolved from the work of psychiatrist Albert Ellis in the mid-1950s as the original form of cognitive-behavioral therapy. Ellis believed that most people are not aware that many of their thoughts about themselves are irrational and negatively affect the way they behave in important relationships and situations. According to Ellis, it is these thoughts that lead people to suffer negative emotions and engage in self-destructive behavior. At the same time, humans are capable of challenging and changing their irrational beliefs, if they are willing to do the work. While specific life events may contribute to mental health issues, REBT therapists believe that it is an individual’s own faulty and irrational belief system that causes the most problems. By letting go of negative thoughts and replacing them with positive beliefs, one is better able to accept one’s self and others and, in turn, live a happier life.

What to Look for in a Rational Emotive Behavior Therapist

Look for a licensed mental health professional with training in cognitive-behavioral and rational-emotive therapy. In addition to checking credentials, it is important to find a rational emotive behavior therapist with whom you feel comfortable working.

Seeking a therapist in Toronto or across Ontario?

Have a question? Interested in a free 30 minute consultation to see if one of our therapists is a fit for you? Click here. Or contact us for any other assistance relating to psychotherapy or mental health. Call 647-296-9235 or email Or ask a question and one of our therapists will answer you for free.

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