Training Standards – REBT Competencies

Professionally, and specific to Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy (REBT), practitioners must:

Know the key concepts of the biological, physical, social, psychological and clinical sciences which are relevant to their profession-specific practice.

Know how professional principles are expressed and translated into action through a number of different assessment, treatment and management approaches to practice, and how to select or modify approaches to meet the needs of an individual.

Have read core REBT texts, and is familiar with the development of REBT as a Psychotherapeutic model.

Be familiar with the Philosophical basis of REBT, and its place alongside other Cognitive Behavioural and constructivist therapeutic approaches.

Have understanding of REBT’s distinction between ego-based problems and problems caused by Low Frustration tolerance.

Have understanding of REBT’s stance regarding Unconditional Self-Acceptance and its preference over self-esteem.

Have understanding of REBT’s Philosophy of Unconditional Acceptance of others as fallible human beings.

Have understanding of benefits of REBT’s Philosophy of unconditional acceptance of life conditions as they are.

Have understanding of the difference between emotional and meta-emotional problems.

Demonstrate within practice an understanding of similarities and differences between REBT and other CBT models and the technical and theoretical basis for these differences.

Demonstrate an understanding of challenges in delivering REBT in clinical practice. This would include an ability to assess who is suitable for REBT. Also demonstrate an understanding of difficulties encountered during therapy, and how this relates to presenting problems and habits.

Demonstrate an understanding of research results in REBT and the history of REBT research. Ability to critique REBT research as well as evidence research that supports REBT’s effectiveness.

Understand REBT treatment rationale/philosophy.

Understand REBT treatment structure and importance of pacing and planning sessions to facilitate process.

Able to assess treatment standards as well as monitoring within the session, client feedback and homework tasks.

Integrates client feedback into approach.

Able to use inference chaining to assess Irrational beliefs.

Assess and distinguish between ego-based problems and problems arising from low Frustration Tolerance.

Teach difference between ego-based problems and Low frustration tolerance problems.

Teach benefits of adopting a philosophy of high frustration tolerance.

Teach REBT model of disturbance, that emotional distress is caused and maintained by rigid patterns of thinking that arise when a wish is elevated to a demand.

Teach difference between Rational and Irrational Beliefs and their role in disturbance and in the maintenance physiological and psychological ill health.

Teach REBT model of healthy and unhealthy negative emotions, for example the difference between the healthy negative emotion of sadness and the unhealthy negative emotion of depression.

Teach that REBT psychology states that unhealthy negative beliefs are underpinned by irrational beliefs

Teach client how REBT is relevant to their presenting problems.

Assess whether Preferential REBT or non- preferential REBT (CBT) is appropriate to client.

Help client generate a goals list and develop client’s motivation to change in order to meet goals.

Help client to prioritise goals for therapy. Socialise client into problem-focused approach through setting of agreed agendas with client each session.

Teach the benefits of adopting a philosophy of self-acceptance.

Understand and impart reasoning to client for REBT’s stance regarding Unconditional Self-Acceptance and its preference over self-esteem.

Teach benefits of adopting a philosophy of accepting others as fallible human beings.

Teach benefits of adopting a philosophy that accepts life as it is.

Teach client to use REBT self-help forms in order to facilitate the development of the clients skills in disputing irrational beliefs and in reinforcing rational beliefs.

Educate client about use of homework in therapy.

Help define and negotiate appropriate homework goals that are challenging but not overwhelming to client, taking into consideration their age, level of distress etc.

Make use of theoretical model(s) to develop own practice by:

  • Personal experience of using REBT. An effective practitioner will have learnt and practiced how to apply the theoretical and practical elements of REBT on their own problems.
  • Using the REBT theoretical and assessment model to establish client problems across a range of modalities.

Ensure the planning and progress of the treatment are consistent with the theoretical model by:

  • Demonstrating an understanding of REBT treatment Sequence Assessment session for both client and therapist to review each other and once established the agenda issues to be reviewed and in what sequential order. This has also been answered before above.
  • Once the above is determined to continually Monitor, Assess and Evaluate where client is within agreed agenda sequence and support the client’s movement through the processes to a level of manageable self-change.
  • Understand range of REBT specific Techniques and when to use them in REBT treatment Sequence.
  • Understand behavioural techniques and how to employ them within therapy, ensuring client is fully aware that cognitions can inhibit or enhance effective behavioural practices which encourage well-being.
  • Understand rationale and use of Vivid Techniques within REBT such as Imagery to elicit physical and emotional understanding of presented problem and to supplement with alternative or reconstructed images that act as inner healers.
  • Build upon Clients developed self-help processes by Teaching relapse prevention strategies before end of therapy.

Ensure application of the model is relevant and appropriate to the client by ensuring that theoretical concepts are delivered in a manner that maximises the age and level of understanding of the client by:

  • Understanding the limitations of REBT in clinical practice.
  • Acknowledge limitations of knowledge and ability of client to work with REBT processes. Ensuring that effective referral strategies are in place.


RATIONAL EMOTIVE BEHAVIOUR THERAPY developed by Dr Albert Ellis, is a system of counselling or psychotherapy which teaches clients how their belief systems largely determine how they feel about and act towards situations, problems and life events in their lives.

It focuses on four types of thinking that largely cause stress: Rigid demands such as ‘musts’ and ‘shoulds’; awfulizing such as, ‘Life is really awful’; low frustration tolerance, e.g. ‘I can’t stand the pressure of work’; Damnation of self or others, e.g. ‘As I failed my exam, I am a real failure as a person’. He has been credited as the “grandfather” of what we know today as Cognitive Behavioural therapy.

The Association was supported by Dr Albert Ellis who in December, 1999 came over to the UK to run a successful workshop with live demonstrations of REBT.

PURPOSE OF the Association of Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapists

  • Promote and develop the science of Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy (REBT).
  • Provide access to individuals who have an interest or specialism in REBT. We currently have three levels of individual membership entry: 1. anybody of good standing with an interest in Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy, Training or Coaching can join AREBT as an associate (not recognised as a REBT practitioner); 2. for full members in active practice and qualified in REBT; 3. reduced cost student level for those in full time study in REBT (for the duration of their course).
  • Together with the BABCP to maintain a register: The CBT Register UK and Ireland which contains the names of all accredited AREBT and BABCP Practitioners
  • Maintain an internal listing of professionally trained Rational Emotive Behaviour Practitioners (full members).  Some of whom are also often qualified in the following approaches:


These therapies combine the use of cognitive (thinking) and behavioural techniques to help clients to modify their moods, such as anxiety and depression, and behaviours by changing their self-defeating thinking, attitudes and beliefs. Similar to behaviour therapy, this approach is underpinned by much academic research that supports the techniques and strategies used to help with depression; stress; anxiety including phobias, panic attacks; obsessive-compulsive disorder; post-traumatic disorder.


Multimodal therapy developed by Professor Arnold Lazarus is a technically eclectic and systematic approach. The approach is technically eclectic as it uses techniques taken from many different psychological theories and systems, although it does not necessarily adhere to the theories concerned. The techniques and interventions are applied systematically, based on data from client qualities, the therapist’s clinical skills and specific techniques. The approach focuses on seven key areas: Behaviours, Affect (emotion), Sensations, Images, Cognitions (thoughts), Interpersonal and Drugs/biology and the aide memoire BASIC I.D. arises from the first letter of each.


Hypnosis and relaxation techniques maybe used as an adjunct to any one of the above psychotherapies. Some of our Accredited Members also use coaching and hypnosis within a Rational Emotive Behavioural framework.

Updated March 2023