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REBT Is the Deepest Counseling Theory

10 Reason REBT Best Therapy

REBT Is Deeper than CBT, CT, & Other Counseling Theories

  • Garden will teach you an easy and effective system of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT & REBT).

“REBT is a conscious practice of moving clients to achieve greater unconditional self-acceptance (USA), unconditional other-acceptance (UOA), and unconditional life-acceptance (ULA) which makes it deeper and more effective than other therapies.” —Kevin Everett FitzMaurice

REBT practitioners are encouraged to read Not.

  • To oversimplify, Not will help you target “musturbatory” thinking (a.k.a. demandingness) more effectively by targeting “must not” instead of any and every strong “must.”

“Your parents, friends, and culture often encouraged you to damn yourself, others, and the world. In spite of your biology, your family, and your culture you don’t need to stupidly disturb yourself.” —Albert Ellis

REBT Is the Deepest Therapy: 10 Reasons

REBT, Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy, is a deeper form of psychotherapy than either of its main look-alikes: Cognitive Therapy (CT) and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT).

REBT Is Deeper for 7 Philosophical Reasons:

“To help people achieve the three basic REBT philosophies of unconditional self-acceptance, unconditional other-acceptance, and unconditional life-acceptance, cognitive, emotional, and behavioral methods, which are described in this monograph, are used.” ―Albert Ellis, Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy

“It’s in our biological and learned nature for people to fall back to their dysfunctional beliefs all their lives and not to be completely rational or functional.” —Albert Ellis, All Out!, p. 549

  1. REBT works with underlying identity issues by continually teaching USA, unconditional self-acceptance.
  2. REBT works with underlying relationship issues by continually teaching UOA, unconditional other-acceptance.
  3. REBT works with underlying existential issues by continually teaching ULA, unconditional life-acceptance.
  4. REBT works to recognize and remove the models common to all self-disturbing and self-defeating thinking by emphasizing the nature of thinking over the content of thinking.
  5. REBT has always taught counselors to focus on metacognitions, which are thoughts that direct or interpret other thoughts. REBT does this by first focusing on the client’s problem about their problem (for example, their anxiety about their anxiety).
  6. REBT has a theory of human motivation that accounts for the existence of human problems. (See the article “The Biological Basis of Human Irrationality” in the Journal Individual Psychology, vol. 32, pp. 145-168, 1976. Reprints are available from the Albert Ellis Institute: www.albertellisinstitute.org.)
  7. REBT is a true depth psychology as opposed to a simplistic behavioral psychology, because REBT works like Eastern psychology to uproot the human ego as opposed to fake depth psychologies, such as one of the psychodynamic therapies, which only work for ego adjustment and adaptation. (See the article “RET Abolishes Most of the Human Ego.” Psychotherapy: Theory, Research and Practice. 13:4, 343-348. 1976. Reprints are available from the Albert Ellis Institute: www.albertellisinstitute.org.)

REBT Is Deeper for 2 Practice Reasons (requires an understanding of REBT’s ABCs of Emotions).

This section requires an understanding of REBT’s ABCs of Emotions. It is important to emphasize one of the major differences between REBT and other cognitive therapies such as CT and CBT: CT and CBT typically dispute the B about the A, trying to lessen the emotional upset by lessening the distorted view of the event A.

REBT, as Albert Ellis often put it, disputes the B about the A more elegantly, trying to lessen the emotional upset by lessening the inflexible and extreme negative nature of B.

In fact, REBT may not only accept the distorted view of A at first but often actually exaggerates the distortion of A to absurdity, to teach the point that, even if A is a real pain, B does not have to be an additional pain source. (Or, as FitzMaurice tells his clients, “Why double your trouble? Isn’t it already bad enough that you have a painful A? Why give yourself a painful B to go along with it?!”)

Once the self-defeating effect of B is sufficiently reduced, REBT will also concern itself with removing distortions of A at B, and even problem-solving A. Ellis characterized this as the “elegant solution” of REBT.

1. Here is an important point that is lost even on some of the trainers from the NYC Institute. REBT works mostly on the nature of B, rather than on the mere content of B (which is what CT and CBT do). This focus on the nature of B leads to greater generalization or application of therapeutic gains, including insight, awareness, feeling, and behavioral change.

For instance, if—as in CT—you focus on the content of the B rather than on the nature of the B, then you must approach each B individually. Disputing one particular B only teaches you how to dispute similar Bs. However, if—as in REBT—you focus on the nature of the B, then you can approach any B with the same fundamental tests for rationality, helpfulness, logic, and reality.

Tests for rationality (such as flexibility versus rigidness and acceptance versus demandingness) can be applied generally. The tests developed in CT are less efficient, effective, and forceful because they target the side effects rather than the goals of thinking.

Here is an ABC example scenario:
A = client receives a compliment.
B = client discounts and denies the compliment.
A + B = C
C = client feels unworthy and unappreciated.

CT might focus on the content of B as the client’s use of the thinking error of minimizing. CT would then help the client to see how minimizing and discounting compliments keeps them stuck feeling unworthy and unappreciated. This focus can be a valuable and helpful learning for the client who now has the opportunity to learn to use minimization less—at least when receiving compliments.

REBT might focus on the nature of the B as an example of the use of the irrational thinking of absolutism, extremism, or rigidness. REBT would then help the client to see how their use of rigid thinking with problems, issues, and relationships in their life leads to manifold problems, such as intolerance, misunderstandings, rejection, and unnecessary conflicts.

Now the client has a general understanding of how a rigid attitude and approach to life is interfering with their life goals, health, and happiness. The client now has the opportunity to make a philosophical change to practice more flexibility, openness, and tolerance in their life for a generally improved life.

2. REBT’s approach is a deeper approach because it teaches clients first to stop disturbing themselves rather than first to try to get the world to stop disturbing them. Once clients are less disturbed, they are naturally then better able to realistically and practically work at making their world a more convenient, friendly, and nurturing place.

REBT Is also Deeper Because of its Emotional Realism: 10th Reason.

  • REBT recognizes that some emotions are helpful, and some are hurtful. For instance, REBT sees extreme negative emotions (such as depression and anxiety) as hurtful, but REBT also sees mild to moderate negative emotions (such as mild regret or concern as helpful).
  • Other counseling theories often make the foolish and unrealistic claim that all emotions are okay despite the fact that some emotions lead to violence and abuse, while some other emotions lead to peace and compassion.
  • While most therapies work to help clients overcome and move beyond certain types of feelings, only REBT is honest and straightforward enough to list feelings as healthy or unhealthy.

Most therapies say that all feelings are acceptable, but then they hypocritically try to help you get past ones that you or they find disturbing. It is REBT’s view that some feelings indicate that you are overreacting due to your irrational thinking. Hence, REBT clearly lists what feelings it theorizes are self-defeating and suggests alternative feelings.

REBT neither implies nor wishes that you have fewer feelings. REBT neither implies nor claims that you can have only positive feelings. However, REBT does promote the belief that many feelings are extreme, exaggerated, or unhealthy responses that tend to make matters worse, not better. You can often modify feelings to make them healthy instead of unhealthy by adding “a little,” “somewhat,” or “mildly” before them.

“REBT’s Insight No. 1 holds that you have both healthy and unhealthy emotions.” ―Albert Ellis, How To Stubbornly Refuse To Make Yourself Miserable About Anything–Yes, Anything!


  • Eclectic means you can do whatever whenever. It means that you have an excuse not to master one theory and to dabble in many counseling theories. It also means that you do not have a rudder, a guide, or a goal to focus your therapy efforts.
  • Integrative means you must master one theory and then bring in other counseling theories to support that theory as you develop your style and skills as a counselor. You always have a rudder, a guide, or a goal to focus your therapy efforts when you get lost or unsure of which turn to take.
  • REBT is itself integrative, not electric. REBT is based on Stoicism (emotional responsibility), General Semantics (physical realities over verbal realities), Humanistic principles (unconditional acceptance of self and others), Existential principles (unconditional acceptance of life), and Eastern psychology principles (ego and self-esteem reduction towards elimination and detachment from your mental flow).
  • REBT’s lists of irrational beliefs can be easily reworded into scripts such as those proposed by Transactional Analysis based on ideas from Adlerian psychology. For examples of such scripts, visit this page. Ellis repeatedly gave credit to Stoicism and General Semantics, as well as to other sources, for his development of REBT.

More & Related Information

  1. 7 Thinking Errors of CT
  2. 9 Fundamental Thinking Errors
  3. Albert Ellis: “New Yorker” Article
  4. Albert Ellis: Rated Second Most Influential Psychotherapist
  5. CBT, CT & REBT Cognitive Psychotherapies: List of Pages
  6. Cognitive Psychotherapy Quotations
  7. Musts: Friend & Foe
  8. REBT (Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy): List of Pages
  9. REBT’s 10 Must Scripts for Life
  10. REBT’s 11 Irrational Beliefs
  11. REBT’s ABCs of Emotions
  12. REBT Video Demonstrations Online
  13. REBT Website (www.albertellisinstitute.org)
  14. Shoulds & Musts

Directly Related Quotations

“A mature person is one who does not think only in absolutes, who is able to be objective even when deeply stirred emotionally, who has learned that there is both good and bad in all people and in all things.” —Eleanor Roosevelt

“Happiness does not depend on outward things, but on the way we see them.” —Leo Tolstoy

“The character of a person is determined by how they respond internally regardless of external forces.” —Kevin Everett FitzMaurice

“The truth is what is. And what should be is a fantasy—a terrible fantasy.” —Lenny Bruce

Quotations from Various Sources

Organized Alphabetically

“A fool is only a fool because he won’t see he is a fool.” —Kevin Everett FitzMaurice

“A man of genius makes no mistakes. His errors are volitional and are the portals of discovery.” —James Joyce

“But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons.” —Hebrews 12:8

“By honestly acknowledging your past errors, but never damning yourself for them, you can learn to use your past for your own future benefit.” —Albert Ellis and Robert A. Harper, A Guide to Rational Living, Third Edition, p. 194

“Correction is grievous unto him that forsaketh the way: and he that hateth reproof shall die.” —Proverbs 15:5

“Failure doesn’t have anything to do with your intrinsic value as a person.” —Albert Ellis and Robert A. Harper, A Guide to Rational Living, Third Edition, p. 206

“For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.” —Hebrews 12:6

“If we eliminated all errors, we would also eliminate much discovery, art, insight, learning, and creativity that results from facing errors.” —Kevin Everett FitzMaurice

“If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not?” —Hebrews 12:7

“It’s so hard when I have to, and so easy when I want to.” —Annie Gottlier

“My son, despise not the chastening of the LORD; neither be weary of his correction:” —Proverbs 3:11

“Peace is the result of retraining your mind to process life as it is, rather than as you think it should be.” —Wayne Dyer

“REBT exists to help when you think it is so horrible it hurts.” —Kevin Everett FitzMaurice

“That’s why the philosophers warn us not to be satisfied with mere learning, but to add practice and then training. For as time passes we forget what we learned and end up doing the opposite, and hold opinions the opposite of what we should.” —Epictetus

“The trouble with most of us is that we would rather be ruined by praise than saved by criticism.” —Norman Vincent Peale

“When receiving correction, the wise seek to learn, and the fool seeks to justify.” —Kevin Everett FitzMaurice

Quotations from Scripture

“A wise man will hear, and will increase learning; and a man of understanding shall attain unto wise counsels:” —Proverbs 1:5

“Where no counsel is, the people fall: but in the multitude of counselors there is safety.” —Proverbs 11:14

“The way of a fool is right in his own eyes: but he that hearkeneth unto counsel is wise.” —Proverbs 12:15

“Deceit is in the heart of them that imagine evil: but to the counselors of peace is joy.” —Proverbs 12:20

“Without counsel purposes are disappointed: but in the multitude of counselors they are established.” —Proverbs 15:22

“Hear counsel, and receive instruction, that thou mayest be wise in thy latter end.” —Proverbs 19:20

“Every purpose is established by counsel: and with good advice make war.” —Proverbs 20:18

“Take counsel, execute judgment; make thy shadow as the night in the midst of the noonday; hide the outcasts; bewray not him that wandereth.” —Isaiah 16:3

“Extol not thyself in the counsel of thine own heart; that thy soul be not torn in pieces as a bull [straying alone.]” —Ecclesiasticus 6:2

“As timber girt and bound together in a building cannot be loosed with shaking: so the heart that is stablished by advised counsel shall fear at no time.” —Ecclesiasticus 22:16

“Give not over thy mind to heaviness, and afflict not thyself in thine own counsel.” —Ecclesiasticus 30:21

“A man of counsel will be considerate; but a strange and proud man is not daunted with fear, even when of himself he hath done without counsel.” —Ecclesiasticus 32:18

“And let the counsel of thine own heart stand: for there is no man more faithful unto thee than it.” —Ecclesiasticus 37:13

“Let reason go before every enterprise, and counsel before every action.” —Ecclesiasticus 38:33

“Gold and silver make the foot stand sure: but counsel is esteemed above them both.” —Ecclesiasticus 40:25