Expanding the ABCs of Rational-Emotive Therapy

  • Albert Ellis


The ABCs of rational-emotive therapy (RET) go back to its very beginnings in 1955, and I continually used them with my early rational-emotive therapy clients (Ellis, 1962). When the Institute for Rational-Emotive Therapy in New York founded its psychological clinical in 1968, cognitive homework forms were printed for its clients, and they added D and E to the original ABCs (Ellis, 1968). As explained in Chapter 3 of Humanistic Psychotherapy: The Rational-Emotive Approach (Ellis, 1973). A stands for Activating events, Activating experiences, Activities or Agents that people disturb themselves about. B stands for rational Beliefs or realistic Beliefs about the Activating events that tend to lead to a C,appropriate Consequences. IB stands for irrational Beliefs about the Activating events and tends to lead to iC, inappropriate Consequences (especially, emotional disturbances and dysfunctional behaviors). D stands for Disputing irrational Beliefs—Detecting them, Discriminating them from rational Beliefs, and Debating them (Phadke, 1982). E stands for Effective rational Beliefs to replace people’s irrational Beliefs and also for Effective appropriate emotions and Effective functional behaviors to replace their disturbed emotions and dysfunctional behaviors.


Emotional Disturbance Irrational Belief Rational Belief Dysfunctional Behavior Individual Family Member 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1985

Authors and Affiliations

  • Albert Ellis
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute for Rational-Emotive TherapyNew YorkUSA

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