• The Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy Primer: Principles and practice

The Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy Primer: Principles and practice

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ISBN 9781910919965
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This latest addition to the PCCS Books Primers in Counselling series offers a concise introduction to rational emotive behaviour therapy (REBT). Devised by Albert Ellis in 1955, and subsequently further developed and refined, REBT is based on the principle that ‘People are not disturbed by the adversities that they face. Rather, they disturb themselves about these adversities by the rigid and extreme attitudes that they hold towards them.’ REBT therapists seek to help their clients identify, examine and change the rigid and extreme attitudes that underpin their emotional problems, and to develop alternative flexible and non-extreme alternative attitudes. As therapy proceeds, the therapist will help the client to take increasing responsibility for using these methods, with the ultimate aim that they become their own therapist. The book takes the reader step by step through these processes, culminating in a detailed transcription of a single session of REBT. It ends with an outline of research on the effectiveness of REBT. It also includes helpful forms for use with clients and links to further resources.

Series introduction


1: The origins of REBT and its place in the therapeutic realm

2: Two basic ideas

3: REBT’s view of emotional disturbance and health: the situational ABC framework

4: The working alliance in REBT: A framework for practice

5: Beginning REBT

6: Developing and maintaining a problem focus

7: Developing and maintaining a goal focus

8: Developing and maintaining a solution focus I: Promoting intellectual insight

9: Developing and maintaining a solution focus II: Promoting emotional insight

10: Promoting maintenance and generalisation

11: Dealing with obstacles to change

12: Client study: A transcript of single-session REBT

13: Research into REBT

Appendix 1: Resources for learning

Appendix 2: Eight unhealthy and healthy emotions

Appendix 3: The Dryden REBT form

Appendix 4: The wise rabbi story




This wonderful book is a perfect example of writing exclusively and exhaustively, but also creatively. There are the necessary parts of any book on REBT – namely, its origins and history, the fundamentals of the model, and the basics of practising it. However, what was most exciting for me was his attention to points often not covered, such as the openness of REBT to the influence of other models, the collaborative development of concrete goals with the client, the importance of the therapeutic alliance, and the acknowledgment of the valuable research in common factors and how REBT actually reflects those findings. It was refreshing to read Professor Dryden’s humility about the length of therapy. He acknowledges that we therapists can’t know a priori how many sessions would be in the best interests of a client. It is a learning process based on the goals of the client and the necessary timeframe in which to attain those goals. I highly recommend this book by a writer who is a seasoned expert in REBT.
Steve A. Johnson, President, Albert Ellis Institute, and Professor of Clinical Counseling at Columbia International University

Here is another gem showcasing Professor Dryden’s wit, erudition and skills as a teacher and a clinician. In this compelling masterpiece, Professor Dryden draws on years of experience to bring to the readers a meticulous presentation of both theory and practice of REBT. Using examples based on his work with clients, he comprehensively covers various nuances of classic REBT and adds to it his unique contributions that enhance its efficiency and effectiveness as a therapeutic model. The chapter dedicated to a transcript, with his commentary, of a single session of REBT with a client especially makes it mandatory reading for all students and practitioners of REBT. 
Swati Khanolkar, clinical psychologist, associate fellow and supervisor, Albert Ellis Institute, India

As a world-renowned expert in rational emotive behaviour therapy, Professor Windy Dryden continues to be an influential contributor to the field with his latest book. Whether the reader is new to REBT or a seasoned practitioner, the clear and relevant explanations and strategies provided for each phase of therapy will be beneficial. Especially helpful are the recommendations to overcome common obstacles encountered in the therapeutic process, which are often overlooked in counselling and therapy books. Reading a book on the course of therapy is often the first step in learning the nuts and bolts. However, Windy Dryden’s meticulous demonstration of how the nuts and bolts play out in therapy affords the reader the opportunity to consolidate that learning. The transcript of the single counselling session is an invaluable addition to this significant resource for practitioners pursuing greater understanding and enhancement of their skills. Once again, Windy Dryden does not disappoint with this gem. I highly recommend this book to anyone wishing to gain in-depth knowledge of the principles and practice of REBT.
Kristene A. Doyle, Director, Albert Ellis Institute, New York

Windy Dryden

Windy Dryden is Emeritus Professor of Psychotherapeutic Studies at Goldsmiths University, London, and is a Fellow of the British Psychological Society. He has authored or edited more than 250 books, including the second edition of Reason to Change: A rational emotive behaviour therapy (REBT) workbook (Routledge, 2021) and the third edition of Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy: Distinctive features (Routledge, 2021). In addition, he edits 21 book series in the area of counselling, psychotherapy and coaching, including the CBT Distinctive Features series (Routledge). His major interests are in rational emotive behavior therapy and CBT; single session interventions; the interface between counselling and coaching; pluralism in counselling and psychotherapy; writing short, accessible self-help books for the general public and demonstrating therapy live in front of an audience.

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Windy Dryden