Rational emotive behavior therapy

Origin of REBT

We all have seen kids getting overexcited and probably we ourselves have been inattentive when we were kids (maybe even now) Today in fact that 5 out of 10 kids may be hyperactive. However, similarity in pattern and commonality of occurrence is not a defense for tolerating abnormality. We need to comprehend ADHD a lot better so we can take care of our children. ADHD comprises of inattentiveness, over-activity, impulsivity, or a combination. Of course these need to be excess of normal to actually consider it to be a problem or disorder.


The fundamental premise of REBT emphasizes that children ordinarily do not get dismayed by unfortunate adversities; rather their response to those adversities is contingent on their perception of its reality. This reality is indeed an appraisal made on the basis of personal language, interpretive beliefs, meanings and philosophies about children themselves, others around them and the world in general. In REBT, children usually learn and begin to apply this concept by learning the A-B-C-model of psychological disturbance and the need to change. According to the model, it isn’t merely an A (adversity or activating event) that generates the emotional C (consequence). There is a very significant B (belief about the adversity) that underwrites the disturbed and dysfunctional behavioral C (consequence). Unless we D: dispute this, we cannot E: enjoy our existence


Adversity is a common noun. Everything in the surrounding can qualify as a hardship. External situations, a sudden worrisome thought or an internal emotion driven by an event of the past; all can generate frenzy in kids. If we consider the A (adversity as mother refusing to buy a new toy), the C (consequence) is likely to be irritability, and anger for some time, and a transient tantrum. Although it seems that the C directly follows the A, what is worthy of attention is the underlying B (belief) that is mitigating the C. In this case, the B maybe:

  • How can I not get what I want?
  • My mummy is a very bad mummy!
  • My mummy doesn’t really love me!
  • I am unloved and an unwanted child!
  • I will never listen to my mummy ever again!

Therefore we tend to belief that If A occurs then C follows. However, in actuality A X B = C.


Beliefs are important variables in the A-B-C equation. They are the underlying philosophical meanings and assumptions about events, wishes, and preferences in every child’s mind. According to REBT, if a person’s evaluative B: belief about the A: activating event is rigid, absolutistic and dysfunctional; the C: emotional and behavioral consequence is likely to be self-defeating and destructive. When the B leads to a dysfunctional C, this B would qualify as an IRRATIONAL BELIEF. Alternatively, if a person’s evaluative B: belief is preferential, flexible and constructive, the C: emotional and behavioral consequence is likely to be self-helping and productive in which case this B would qualify as a RATIONAL BELIEF.


There isn’t much unknown about desirable consequences. If granted 3 wishes, each has their demands ready! Everyone truly longs for peace, contentment and satisfaction; but are indeed presented with sadness, restlessness and discontentment on account of these apparent adversities. Little do people realize the impact of their beliefs on the appraisal of actions thus they themselves generate unwanted consequences.


Through REBT, by understanding the role of their underlying, interpretive and evaluative irrational beliefs, children and adolescents can learn to identify them, see their futility then go on to the next step D: dispute, refute, challenge and question them, distinguish them from the rational beliefs, and subscribe to more constructive and self-helping behavior. Rationality comes with a small price, it takes courage to be positive; but once conditioned, rationality becomes an answer to all problems and life’s adversities never get out of hand.

A-B-C-D-E Model

According to Ellis, the chain of psychological turmoil is linked by a series of sequential processes:

  • A- An activating adversity
  • B- Belief about the adversity
  • C- Consequence (emotional)
  • D- Disputing that belief
  • E- Enjoying the new effect

Irrational beliefs

These are the 12 irrational beliefs that are the root of all human suffering and psychopathology.

  • I must be respected by everyone
  • Some people are innately wicked
  • Things always need to be perfect
  • If something is bad we must worry
  • It is best to always avoid conflicts
  • We all need a pillar of strength
  • We need to be competent always
  • Bad experiences scar us forever
  • We must always be in full control
  • If we don’t act we can attain peace
  • We are all emotionally helpless

Rational beliefs

These are the 12 corresponding rational beliefs that are the key to happiness and contentment in life.

  • I must build my own respect
  • Behaviors are bad, people are not
  • We need to accept imperfection
  • We can take things in our stride
  • We can face conflicts responsibly
  • We must risk being independent
  • We must accept us for who we are
  • The past can improve our future
  • We can enjoy the gamble at times
  • We are happiest when engrossed
  • We control our negative emotions

DIB-Disputing Irrational Beliefs

The process of dispute involves self questioning and interrogation

  • Why do I always think like this?
  • What good comes of this belief?
  • What bad comes out of my belief?
  • What good will occur if I change?
  • What bad will happen if I don’t?
  • What will be the worst outcome?
  • Maybe there is another reason?
  • Is there a chance that I’m wrong?
  • Possibly I am not seeing it rightly?
  • Do my beliefs make my life better?