Paul Young
Paul Young

Invited Paper: Can Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy (REBT) and Mindfulness be Integrated Effectively within High Performance Settings?

Paper co-authors: Paul Young, Dr Vivien Chow, Professor Cheryl Haslam, Dr Andrew Wood, & Dr Jamie Barker.

Time: 15.30 to 15.50 GMT (including 10 minutes Q&As at 16:10 GMT)
Breakout room: 16.20 to 16.45 GMT
Invited speaker: Paul Young, PhD Candidate, School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences
Loughborough University, UK

This critical commentary explores the overlaps and divergences between Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy (REBT) and contemporary mindfulness practice and considers whether the approaches could be integrated and applied effectively within two high performance settings in particular: sport and business. It highlights how REBT and mindfulness share similar philosophical positions on the causes of emotional disturbance, on the importance of acceptance, and on cultivating self-awareness to respond healthily and adaptively to adverse events. It also acknowledges divergences relating to REBT and mindfulness’ respective positions on judgement of thoughts, an emphasis on the present moment, and meditative practice. We observe that by cultivating metacognitive awareness—a capacity to impartially observe thinking—mindfulness may help individuals in high performance settings to see more clearly how their beliefs influence their emotional, cognitive, and behavioural outcomes. Mindfulness could thus potentially aid an individual’s transition from intellectual insight to emotional rational insight within an REBT framework. Moreover, appropriately integrated mindfulness practice alongside REBT-based work may help individuals within high performance settings, and beyond, to cultivate a mindset that is grounded in the present, less distracted and more task focused, potentially enhancing performance outcomes.

Citation: Young, P., Chow, V., Haslam, C. et al. Can Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy (REBT) and Mindfulness be Integrated Effectively within High Performance Settings?. J Rat-Emo Cognitive-Behav Ther 41, 411–431 (2023).

Paul Young is a final-year PhD student at Loughborough University. His research explores mental wellbeing within organisations. Within this area, he has developed and delivered a novel intervention for employee mental wellbeing combining mindfulness and rational emotive behaviour coaching. Paul is training to become an accredited CBT therapist alongside his doctoral studies. He holds a Diploma and Advanced Diploma in REBT/CBT from the College of Cognitive Behavioural Therapies, London, an MSc in Mental Health Studies from King’s College London, and a BSc in Psychology from Exeter University. Previously, Paul spent ten years working in financial public relations, most recently as Vice President at the asset manager BlackRock, in New York and London.