In 2009, myself and my research team 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 my work with professionals, I 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 me, REBT doesn’t need the “T”. I am not a clinical psychologist and I do not provide “therapy” or “treatment” to clients. In my experience, the use of the word “therapy” promotes clinical connotations. So I thought, how can I operationalise REBT in performance settings, making it process driven and focused on continual personal growth, while stripping away unnecessary clinical connotations? Alas, Smarter Thinking was born…
So for the last 5 years through the The Smarter Thinking Project the research team at Staffordshire University has dedicated its 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, in the military, and in academia, helping people to fulfil their potential when it counts, and to respond adaptively to adversity.