Stoic Philosophy and the Roots of Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy

Lecture by Walter J. Matweychuk, Ph.D.

Below is a video recording of a lecture I gave in Toronto, Canada on October 14th, 2017 at the annual gathering of Stoic philosophers called Stoicon. Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy, REBT, is derived from ancient and modern philosophy. It heavily borrows from Stoic philosophy. Stoicism is a Hellenistic philosophy that probably is best represented by the Roman King, Marcus Aurelius, and an emancipated slave turned philosophical teacher, Epictetus. Given that REBT is derived from Stoic philosophy many people who know about Stoicism have an interest in Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy and vice versa. I often discuss the philosophical roots of REBT while working with patients in psychotherapy to help them appreciate that the core concepts of REBT have been around for 2,000 years. Stoicism helped people of antiquity cope with disease, enslavement, political betrayal, death, loss of reputation, poverty, and loss of wealth. The ideas of Stoicism, and by extension REBT, have stood the test of time. Stoicism is a practical philosophy and was considered by the Stoics to be a therapy. Likewise, REBT is a practical psychotherapy with philosophical elements. In this lecture, I introduce the core concepts of REBT to a large gathering of people interested in Stoicism. I use the words of Epictetus, the well-known Stoic, to introduce REBT and show how it can help with the implementation of the teachings of Stoicism and can help people live a virtuous and meaningful life in accord with nature. I believe REBT and Stoicism go very well together and if you are interested in one it is very likely you will be interested in the other. In many ways, REBT might be considered something of a modern version of Stoicism or a distillation of Stoicism.

Click below to download the PowerPoint slides shown in the above presentation by Dr. Matweychuk.

For more information on Stoicism here are three excellent websites:




Phone: 212-750-2826 to schedule an appointment with Dr. Matweychuk.