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Mario Di Pietro, Dr. Psycol.

Mario Di PietroRational Emotive Education is an extension of Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT), a cognitive behavioral approach to psychotherapy developed by internationally recognized psychologist Albert Ellis.
According to Albert Ellis (Ellis, 1962; Ellis & Dryden, 1987), emotional upset occurs when people attempt to fulfill their goals and encounter an activating event that blocks the goal. In turn, people have beliefs about this activating event which influence how they feel and act. Thus, the activating event does not create the feeling, but beliefs about the event contribute to the emotional disturbance. These beliefs may be rational ones that result in moderate, healthy emotions, or irrational beliefs that lead to disturbed emotions and inhibit goal attainment and satisfaction. Irrational beliefs represent demanding and unrealistic perceptions of how things should be, statements of blame directed at self and others, "awfulizing" statements that reflect an exaggeration of the event, and the inability to tolerate frustration. To eliminate these thinking patterns, a process known as "disputing" is initiated. Disputing involves challenging the irrational beliefs through rigorous questioning, with the goal being to achieve a more flexible, nonabsolutistic viewpoint.
The primary goal of Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy and Rational Emotive Education is to help people lead happier and self-actualizing lives so that they can truly get better, rather than simply feel better because emotions are understood and expressed.
In the school, Rational Emotive Education is implemented through a series of structural lessons that are experientially based, allowing for children and adolescents involvement and group discussion. The lesson format includes a short stimulus activity such as simulation games, role-playing, reading stories and art activities. Following the activity, students engage in directed discussion about tha content in the stimulus activity.
Several Rational Emotive Education programs have been developed, and the lessons have been used extensively throughout the United States, Europe and Australia. One of the advantages of Emotional Education Programs is that the information learned from these lessons can be applied to current problems and thus it can provide a foundation of knowledge and insight to use when future difficulties arise.


Ellis, A. (1994). Reason and emotion in psychotherapy. New York: Lyle Stuart.

Ellis, A., & Dryden, W. (1987). The practice of rational-emotive therapy. New York: Springer.

Gerald, M., & Eyman, W. (1981). Thinking straight and talking sense. New York: Institute for Rational-Emotive Therapy.

Knaus, W.J. (1974). Rational-emotive education: A manual for elementary school teachers. New York: Institute for Rational-Emotive Therapy.

Pincus, D. (1990). Feeling good about yourself. Carthage, IL: Good Apple.

Vernon, A. (1989a). Help yourself to a healthier you: A handbook of emotional education exercises for children. Champaign, IL: Research Press.

Vernon, A. (1989b). Thinking, feeling, behaving: An emotional education curriculum for children. Champaign, IL: Research Press.

Vernon, A. (1989c). Thinking, feeling, behaving: An emotional education curriculum for adolescents. Champaign, IL: Research Press.

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