Rational Emotive Behavioral Therapy for Depression

Status: Modest Research Support


Rational emotive behavioral therapy (REBT) is a form of CBT developed by Albert Ellis (Ellis, 1994). Like other forms of CBT, REBT is a present-focused, short-term therapy. In REBT, therapists work with their clients to help them make changes in those aspects of their thinking hypothesized to contribute to emotional and behavioural problems. REBT is distinct from other forms of CBT in its greater emphasis on: (1) unconditional self-acceptance; (2) reducing secondary problems, such as depression about depression; and (3) efforts to reduce demanding beliefs (David, Szentagotai, Lupu, & Cosman, 2008).

Key References (in reverse chronological order)

David, D., Szentagotai, A., Lupu, V., & Cosman, D. (2008). Rational emotive behavior therapy, cognitive therapy, and medication in the treatment of major depressive disorder: A randomized clinical trial, posttreatment outcomes, and six-month follow-up. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 64, 728-746.

Clinical Resources

Ellis, A. (1994). Reason and emotion in psychotherapy (Rev. ed.). Secaucus, NJ: Birch Lane. Walen, S.R., DiGiuseppe, R., & Dryden, W. (1992). A practitioner’s guide to rational-emotive therapy (2nd ed.). New York: Oxford University Press.

* David et al. (2008) report that the treatment manual used in their trial is available upon request.

Training Opportunities

Information on training opportunities can be found at the Albert Ellis Institute.