The Smarter Thinking App

The Smarter Thinking App was developed by Dr. Martin Turner and Dr. Andrew Wood to digitise a fundamental aspect of rational emotive behaviour theory (REBT; Ellis, 1957); namely, the disputation of irrational beliefs. The App helps people to recognise and challenge irrational beliefs, and also guides them in adopting rational beliefs. There is also an optional diary function where clients can keep track of their progress, and you as a practitioner can review their work.

The App has been designed to be simple and intuitive, to be used at a user’s leisure. But as a practitioner you may recommend the App in a more structured manner (e.g., client completes the App once per day).

The App is not suitable for assessment purposes. The client should be assessed as part of usual REBT practice, and before introducing the App to clients, you should have introduced the client to REBT as a potential way forward for your work together. For client assessment, we suggest following REBT guidelines, and taking a formal record of the client’s irrational beliefs using the irrational performance beliefs inventory, And or the Smarter Thinking Profile.  

Smarter Thinking

We have adopted the name “Smarter Thinking” to describe the work we do using REBT in performance domains (Turner, 2014), to reduce the potential negative connotations attached to REBT due to the word ‘therapy’. REBT is a cognitive behavioural approach that is garnering interest in sport and exercise psychology (Turner, 2016), and can also be referred to as rational emotive behaviour coaching (REBC; Turner, 2019). 

The reader can refer to many useful texts on the use of REBT in general and in sport. in addition, practitioners seeking to use REBT in their work should become formally trained in REBT. For this technical document, we will assume the reader understands the theory and application of REBT. But broadly, the effectiveness of REBT is centred on the disputation of irrational beliefs, because in REBT, irrational beliefs underpin distorted cognitions, unhealthy emotions, and maladaptive behaviours that limit goal attainment and wellbeing. As such, The Smarter Thinking App aids the disputation of irrational beliefs, and the promotion of rational beliefs.

Specifically, The Smarter Thinking App addresses REBT’s GABCDE framework. The App helps users to:

  1. Gain clarity about the difficult situations they face (A) that are incongruent with their goals (G)
  2. Recognise unhealthy negative emotions (C)
  3. Uncover irrational beliefs (B) about those difficult situations
  4. Disputation (D) of irrational beliefs
  5. Adoption of rational alternative beliefs (E)

The Smarter Thinking App helps clients weaken irrational beliefs and develop and strengthen rational beliefs (E) to promote healthy negative emotions. It is vital for the effective use of REBT that the client understands the GABCDE framework, and as such, between-session cognitive homework assignments aimed at deepening this understanding is very common. Homework assignments in REBT can help a client go from intellectual insight to more meaningful philosophical change, and the self-monitoring of dysfunctional thoughts such as irrational beliefs is commonly advocated as part of homework.

Why digitise the GABCDE framework?

Between-session independent activities are a key part of REBT, where the client completes a variety of tasks that facilitate their development (e.g., rationality). A typical cognitive assignment task that we would set a client, is the ABCDE self-help form. You can see an example of this here.  

We developed The Smarter Thinking App for Smartphone users. The App digitises a fundamental aspect of REBT. We did this because, from our experience as practitioners, the meaningful understanding and application of the GABCDE framework is vital for the effectiveness of REBT. Why digitise the GABCDE framework? We want to meet the needs of potential users who want to access and self-assess independently and conveniently.

Engaging our clients in the GABCDE framework in a digital form allows us to accommodate their preferred way of interacting with material, which we reasoned would facilitate adherence to between-session homework tasks. When adversity emerges, the practitioner cannot always be there to reinforce the GABCDE framework. Therefore, we felt that an App that could be used whenever the client chooses would help the client to be autonomous over their understanding and use of REBT.

On the next page, you will find details about downloading the App.

Ownership

This document, and The Smarter Thinking App is the intellectual property of Dr. Martin Turner and Dr. Andrew Wood and should not be reproduced without permission from Dr. Turner or Dr. Wood.

Contact

If you have any queries about the App, please contact smarterthinkingproj@icloud.com

How to download and setup the App

The Smarter Thinking App is available for iPhone and Android users.

For iPhone, access the App Store and search “Smarter Thinking”.

For Android, access the Google Play store and search “Smarter Thinking”.

Select “download” or “install” and in a few moments, the App will be on your Smartphone.

When you first open the App, you will be asked to enter an email and a password. Press the “register” button to create an account. Thereafter, when you open the App you can select “sign in” and just enter your email and password.

Now, you are ready to use the App.

It is a good idea to familiarise yourself with the App and its settings before recommending it to a client. When your client downloads the App, you will not be able to access to their version. In other words, you won’t be able to see what they are doing with the App unless you ask to see their “My Activity” section stored in their App. This is important from a confidentiality perspective.

We hope you find the Smarter Thinking App useful in your practice, and we are open to any feedback you might have on it.

Written By Martin Turner & Andrew Wood, Manchester Metropolitan University

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