Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy

By Albert Ellis, PhD, and Debbie Joffe Ellis, MDAM

Format: Softcover, 154 pages
ISBN: 9781433809613
Price: $34.95

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Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy provides an introduction to the theory, history, research, and practice of this influential approach. Created in the 1950s by the coauthor, Albert Ellis, rational emotive behavior therapy (REBT) was the pioneering cognitive–behavioral therapy.

In essence, REBT helps clients learn to challenge their own irrational thinking and develop the habit of thinking in beneficial and rational ways. This shift enables clients to behave more effectively and, ultimately, experience healthy emotions.

REBT is based on the simple idea that it is not external circumstances that make a person happy or unhappy, but rather internal thoughts about events or self. Thinking, feeling, and behavior are seen as linked and influencing one another. Because changing one's thinking is usually the simplest tactic in a given situation, it tends to be the focus of therapy, along with the encouragement to adopt the humanistic core REBT philosophies of unconditional self-acceptance, unconditional other-acceptance, and unconditional life-acceptance.

Ellis and Joffe Ellis present and explore this influential, practical, and compassionate approach, its theory, history, therapy process, primary change mechanisms, and the empirical basis for its effectiveness. They also examine developments that have refined the theory and expanded how it may be practiced.

This essential primer, amply illustrated with case examples featuring diverse clients, is perfect for graduate students studying theories of therapy and counseling, as well as for seasoned practitioners interested in understanding how this approach has evolved and how it might be used in their practice.

Table of Contents

Series Preface

How to Use This Book With APA Psychotherapy Videos


  1. Introduction
  2. History
  3. Theory
  4. The Therapy Process: Primary Change Mechanisms
  5. Evaluation
  6. Future Developments
  7. Summary

Glossary of Key Terms

Suggested Readings



About the Authors

About the Series Editors

Author Bios

Albert Ellis, PhD, was born in Pittsburgh on September 27, 1913, and raised in New York City. He received his MA and PhD degrees in clinical psychology from Columbia University in New York City.

Dr. Ellis held many important psychological positions, including chief psychologist of the state of New Jersey and adjunct professorships at Rutgers and other universities. He practiced psychotherapy, marriage and family counseling, and sex therapy for more than 65 years. He was the founder of rational emotive behavior therapy (REBT), the first of the cognitive behavior therapies. In 1959, he founded the Albert Ellis Institute, and he was dedicated to its work and growth. However, in his final years he felt that the directors of the institute were not fulfilling his vision for its role.

Dr. Ellis served as president of the Division of Consulting Psychology of the American Psychological Association and of the Society for the Scientific Study of Sexuality. He also served as officer of several professional societies, including the American Association of Marital and Family Therapy; the American Academy of Psychotherapists; and the American Association of Sex Educators, Counselors, and Therapists. He was a diplomate in clinical psychology of the American Board of Professional Psychology and several other professional boards.

Professional societies that have given Dr. Ellis their highest professional and clinical awards include APA, the Association for the Advancement of Behavior Therapy, the American Counseling Association, and the American Psychopathological Association. He was ranked as one of the Most Influential Psychologists by both American and Canadian psychologists and counselors. He has served as consulting or associate editor of many scientific journals and has published more than 80 books and monographs, including a number of best-selling popular and professional volumes.

Some of his best known books include

  • How to Live With a Neurotic
  • The Art and Science of Love
  • A Guide to Rational Living
  • Reason and Emotion in Psychotherapy
  • How to Stubbornly Refuse to Make Yourself Miserable About Anything—Yes, Anything
  • Overcoming Procrastination
  • Overcoming Resistance
  • The Practice of Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy
  • How to Make Yourself Happy and Remarkably Less Disturbable
  • Feeling Better, Getting Better, Staying Better
  • Overcoming Destructive Beliefs, Feelings, and Behaviors
  • Anger: How to Live With and Without It
  • Ask Albert Ellis
  • Sex Without Guilt in the Twenty-First Century
  • Making Intimate Connections
  • Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy: It Works for Me, It Can Work for You
  • The Road to Tolerance
  • The Myth of Self-Esteem

His autobiography, All Out, was released in 2010, to be followed by other books he wrote and coauthored with his wife, Dr. Debbie Joffe Ellis.

Albert Ellis died on July 24, 2007.

Debbie Joffe Ellis, born and raised in Melbourne, Australia, is a licensed psychologist (Australia) and a licensed mental health counselor (New York). She is affiliated with several major psychological associations, including APA, the American Group Therapy Association, and the Australian Psychological Society.

She has a doctorate in alternative medicine from the Indian Board of Alternative Medicines in affiliation with the World Health Organization, from which she has also received a gold medal (1993) in recognition of her service to the field of alternative medicine.

In Australia, she worked in her busy private practice; taught college courses on rational emotive behavior therapy (REBT), counseling, and personal development; and gave public and professional workshops and presentations. In the United States, she worked with her husband, Albert Ellis, giving public presentations and professional trainings on REBT and collaborating on writing and research projects until his death in 2007.

Dedicated to her husband, she continues to present, practice, and write about his brilliant, groundbreaking approach. She currently has a private practice in New York City, and she delivers lectures, workshops, and seminars throughout the United States and across the globe.

Reviews and Awards

This is an outstanding, user friendly guide to help readers understand the uniqueness of this pioneering and very relevant methodology, which inspired Aaron Beck's Cognitive Therapy. The monograph discusses the multi-modal effectiveness of REBT: unconditional self/other and life acceptance, the excellent rational emotive imagery technique, shame attacking exercises, group therapy, marriage and relationships, general semantics, disputing of rigid thinking and use of rational coping philosophies…This is the definitive training manual for the basics of REBT and is a must read for all students and practitioners of psychology and counselling. 
—CBT Today

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