Rational emotive behavior therapy (REBT) is the vision of Dr. Albert Ellis. Dr. Ellis, 1913 - 2007, received his masters and doctorate from Columbia University in psychology . Dr. Ellis is no stranger to mental illness nor the effects that mental illness on the family unit. Dr. Ellis's described his mother as "self-absorbed with bi-polar disorder" and his father as "emotionless and distant" . Dr. Ellis parent's inattention positioned him in the role of primary caregiver for his younger brother and sister despite his fragility. Dr. Ellis reported being hospitalized eight times between the ages of five and seven . Despite his shortage of parental support, Ellis did not permit his adversities to alter his disposition.
Like most psychologists, Dr. Ellis's early training originated with psychoanalytic perspective. The techniques and focus of psychoanalytic theory left many unanswered questions for Ellis on efficacy and scientific premise on psychoanalytic therapy . Dr. Ellis believed that therapy should have scientific foundation to increase the validity of psychotherapy (Ellis, 1999). During his early career, Ellis critiqued the validity and reliability of personality tests concluding that the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory was the only valid instrument based on research .
During the early portion of his career, Ellis utilized psychoanalytic techniques with his clients despite the lingering questions he possessed on efficacy and scientific premise. He sought a more effective interactive alternative means aid his clients. This initiated his pursuit for new methods and techniques focused on efficacy. Ellis noticed that most of his clients labeled as neurotic shared irrational thinking . Ellis observed most individuals are aware of their irrational thoughts but continue to maintain the irrational thoughts even though they are unreasonable . Focusing on irrational thinking, Ellis combined psychoanalytic and behavioral methodologies to form rational therapy .
Rational thinking is subjective. What one person considers rational, another may consider irrational. Ellis defines rational as effective cognition. The problem with RT was RT implied rational thinking as logical cognition so Ellis elected to change the name to rational emotive therapy with aspirations of encompassing cognitive and emotive processes. Dr. Ellis changed rational therapy to rational emotive therapy in 1961 . Ellis believed a problem remained even after the name change, rational emotive therapy did not clearly indicate the relationship Ellis imagined. Ellis, again, changed the name in 1995 to rational emotive behavior therapy stressing the reciprocal collaboration between cognition, emotion, and behavior .
The premise of REBT is it's not the unfortunate or traumatic event/action that causes increase emotion in individual's but it's the individuals beliefs that increases emotions . Rational emotive behavior therapy (REBT) is a form of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) which stresses individuals have the capacity to become completely rational, which is innate due to biologically factors, implying most persons have the ability to construct rational wishes and preferences but free-will permits individuals to transfer their wishes and preferences into rigid doctrines .
Ellis examined individual's environment, personality, and concluded that learned behaviors, the need to assimilate, and traumatic or unfortunate events help foster irrational thinking in individual's . We develop learned behaviors across our lifespan, which anchor our values, beliefs, morals, and goals. Some learned beliefs convert into "shoulds, oughts, and musts or SOM's" . When we convert our SOM's into needs, we create irrational dogmas.
Ellis defined individuals presenting complaint(s) as irrational belief(s) about self, others, and the world (SOW) as the ‘three musts' . Ellis categories the ‘three musts' into three board must categories: "I must achieve outstandingly well in one or more important respects… ; Other people must treat me fairly and well or they are bad people!"; "Conditions must be favorable or else my life is rotten and I can't stand it" . When any or all of the ‘musts' statements apply, emotional and/or behavioral disturbances occur.
REBT teaches individual's that SOM's are demands not needs and if SOM's are not received or acquired, the world will not end. For example, "If I can't play professional football, I will become an accountant" versus "If I can't play professional football, my life will be over." REBT emphasizes the separation of behavior from the person. For example, "I did a bad thing" rather than "I am a bad