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Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy

  1. Roger E. Enfield

Published Online: 30 JAN 2010

DOI: 10.1002/9780470479216.corpsy0775

Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology

Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology

How to Cite

Enfield, R. E. 2010. Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy. Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology. 1–3.

Author Information

  1. West Central Georgia Regional Hospital, Columbus, GA

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 30 JAN 2010


Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT) is a theory of personality and a system of psychological treatment developed in the 1950s by Albert Ellis, an American clinical psychologist. It emphasizes the role of unrealistic expectations and irrational beliefs in human misery. Emotional upsets, Ellis asserted, largely follow from cognitions, not from events. The REBT “A-B-C theory” of personality holds that should an unfortunate event, such as a family quarrel, be followed by extreme anxiety or some other undesirable emotional consequence, inquiry will disclose that consequences (C) were caused not by the activating event (A) but rather by some irrational belief or beliefs (B) about the nature or meaning of the quarrel, such as “I am an awful person” or “They are awful and should be punished” or “Without their approval, I cannot go on.”


  • cognitive behavior therapy;
  • personality theory;
  • psychotherapy