In 2009, we realised that there was a hugely valuable and well-established cognitive-behavioural approach that had been given very little attention in performance research. That approach was Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy (REBT), developed by Dr. Albert Ellis in the 1950s, and after incorporating the approach into our work with professionals, we realised 3 things:
1. REBT is an extremely efficient and effective approach that helps individuals take control of their emotional and behavioural reactions to adverse events in sport, work, and life.
2. Unlike other approaches to performance psychology, it allows the individual to learn how to take charge of their own psychological and emotional growth and development. Therefore, the need for continuous consultation is reduced because the individual learns the process by which thoughts can be altered to promote helpful emotional and behavioural reactions to adverse events.
3. For us, REBT doesn’t need the “T”. We are not clinical psychologists and we do not provide “therapy” or “treatment” to clients. In our experience, the use of the word “therapy” promotes clinical connotations. So we thought, how can we operationalise REBT in performance settings, making it process driven and focused on continual personal growth, while stripping unnecessary away clinical connotations? Alas, Smarter Thinking was born…
So for the last 5 years through the The Smarter Thinking Project we have dedicated our research to understanding and testing REBT in performance settings, and developing Smarter Thinking as a logical and effective approach to managing thoughts, feelings, and behaviours in a range of performance contexts. Smarter Thinking has been used in elite sporting environments, corporate business settings, and in academia, helping athletes, business professionals, and students, to fulfil their potential when it counts and to respond to adversity adaptively.