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  • Steven Berry

Rational Emotive Behavioral Therapy (REBT) and Sport Performance.

Psychological Skills Training (PST) is awesome along with the various other aspects of applied sport psychology, but since I am a Psycho-therapist in addition to being a Sport Psychology Consultant, I thought a quick blog about Psycho-therapy for performance enhancement would be fun. In the most recent issue of The Journal for Applied Sport Psychology, a couple of researchers take a look at how REBT helps golfers perform in the face of social anxiety. Some people have a particular anxiety of performing in front of others---e.g. giving a speech. I like how this therapy helps the client change their thinking via logical arguments and education. Here, the client goes through cognitive restructuring. REBT has it's own techniques and ways to conduct therapy. Call me a tad nerdy, but I really like the idea of being able to help people out through this means of counseling.

One example of REBT that I like is rational emotive imagery (REI). Here, events that happen that are negative, will be viewed with much less intensity after training our minds with REI. This is accomplished via vivid imagery of negative scenarios where REBT therapy helps the client substitute healthy emotions in replacement of unproductive emotional reactions. My Coast Guard days were filled with "If the $%^# hits the fan scenarios" and we would train for those situations of course. This creates a great outcome for when the *&^% does hit the fan. I view REI in the same way as this type of military training but a tad more mental and perhaps more methodical and not necessarily an auto pilot of doing or behaving that traditional military training accomplishes.

Here is a link to the founder of REBT Dr. Ellis in action. This is a client that isn't seeing Dr. Ellis for performance needs, but REBT is becoming looked at more and more in the Applied Sport Psychology world. Link below (copy and paste if need be):

Thanks for reading my first blog post! Remember to imagine a modern day application with me helping you with a performance concern. Contact me! Yew!


Corey, Gerald (2013). Rational Emotive Behavioral Therapy. Theory and Practice of Counseling and Psychotherapy (Pg. 293). Belmont, CA: Brooks/Cole.

Martin Turner, David Ewen, and Jamie B. Barker. An Idiographic Single-Case Study Examining the Use of Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT) with Three Amateur Golfers to Alleviate Social Anxiety. The Journal of Applied Sport Psychology. Volume 32, Number 2, 2020. Routledge: Taylor and Francis Group.

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