Rational-Emotive Behaviour Therapy Books and Articles

Winning the contest for the most name changes for a single therapy, rational emotive behaviour therapy is the brainchild of Albert Ellis.

Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy

Dryden, W. (1999) Rational Emotive Behavioural Counselling in Action, 2nd Edition. London: Sage.

Although a few might caricature it as 'counselling for Vulcans', rational emotive behaviour therapy contains useful insights into human psychology. REBT shares some roots with cognitive therapy, but its central model differs in detail, and it focuses more strongly on ways in which the counsellor can help the client to replace illogical or self-defeating beliefs with more rational alternatives. Like other volumes in the Counselling in Action series, the book provides a straightforward introduction from one of the field's leading figures. As directive and almost combative as REBT is, I believe that any critical reader from even seemingly diametrically opposed approaches (such as person-centred counselling) will still be able to extract some useful insights from this book. I personally found particularly clear value both in the ABC model itself and in Dryden's many thoughts about clarifying what exactly may be causing a client distress (including meta-problems).

Dryden, W. (2001) Reason to Change: A Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy (REBT) Workbook. London: Brunner-Routledge.

This is Dryden's workbook aimed at clients, with a view to helping them learn the skills and techniques of REBT so they can apply them themselves.

Dryden, W. (2002b) 'Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy', in Dryden (2002a), pp. 347-72.

This article provides what is probably the quickest entry into REBT thinking, including a case study which usefully illustrates the approach. Dryden (1999) is also a good introductory text.

Ellis, A. (1962/1994) Reason and Emotion in Psychotherapy. New York: Birch Lane Press.

This was Ellis's first book on 'rational-emotive therapy', which was later renamed 'rational emotive behaviour therapy' largely to counter critics who felt the approach failed to give enough weight to behaviour. (Indeed, the approach had been known as 'rational therapy', until its first renaming, intended to counter critics who felt it neglected emotion.) In fact, Ellis maintained from the start in the mid-50s that cognition, behaviour and emotion were closely interrelated and that his approach focused appropriately on all three. The 1994 edition is newly revised and updated.

Ellis, A. (1984) How to Maintain and Enhance Your Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy Gains. New York: Institute for Rational-Emotive Therapy.

This brief pamphlet is intended as a practical guide for clients, but it also provides a nice overview of the underlying philosophy of rational emotive behavioural therapy. It is reprinted as an appendix in Dryden (1999).


This page was last reviewed by Dr Greg Mulhauser, Thursday, 3 November 2022.