1st Edition

The Rational Practitioner The Sport and Performance Psychologist’s Guide To Practicing Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy

By Martin Turner Copyright 2023
    306 Pages 57 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    306 Pages 57 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Sport and exercise psychology has grown exponentially as an academic discipline and profession in the past decade. The dominant approach to sport and exercise psychology practice is the cognitive-behavioural approach that stems from cognitive behavioural therapies (CBTs). CBTs are the most widely used counselling approaches in the world. Through this approach developed rational emotive behaviour therapy (REBT), a cognitive-based theory and therapy that incorporates many of the techniques that defines CBTs to this day (e.g., cognitive restructuring, rehearsal, imagery, self-talk).

    The Rational Practitioner: The Sport and Performance Psychologist’s Guide to Practicing Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy develops innovative concepts that are particular to the performance milieu, whilst sticking rigorously to core theory. This book is fundamental to applied practice and offers practitioners, scholars, and researchers of sport psychology and REBT, theoretical and detailed practical information from an experienced and qualified sport and exercise psychologist.

    This book provides a comprehensive portrayal of REBT applied within sport and performance and is key reading for current and trainee sport and exercise psychologists, but also to psychologists from other disciplines who wish to work with athletes and other performers.


    1 Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy

    2 The GABCDE framework

    3 The interdependent GABC(DE) framework

    4 The practitioner and the client

    5 Consequences (C)

    6 Adversity or activating event (A)

    7 A–C connection vs. B–C connection

    8 Goals (G)

    9 The nature of beliefs (B)

    10 The rational and irrational beliefs (B)

    11 Assessing beliefs (B)

    12 Disputation (D)

    13 Effective new beliefs (E)

    14 Closing remarks



    Martin J. Turner, PhD is a Reader in Psychology at Manchester Metropolitan University. He is a BPS Chartered and HCPC Registered Sport and Exercise Psychologist, and an Associate Fellow of the BPS. He holds an Advanced Practicum Certificate in REBT from the Albert Ellis Institute, who also awarded him the Albert Ellis Award for research in 2018 and 2020. He also received the Outstanding Achievement Award from the U.K. Association for REBT. As a practitioner, he has worked within professional football and cricket, as well as within a vast range of sports both at team and individual levels. He also works with non-sporting organisations applying performance psychology to enhance wellbeing and performance. He is currently lead psychologist for Scarlets Rugby.

    "In this book Martin goes deep into REBT and excavates key elements that can be applied in sport and performance environments. As well as offering important theoretical clarifications, there is also a wealth of practitioner tools and techniques in the book. As a sport psychologist who utilises an REBT approach in my own practice, I’m always looking for resources to aid my consultancy practice. Martin’s book is a keen addition to my library and one that will continue to guide my use of this important and powerful approach to behaviour change."

    Dan Abrahams, Sport Psychologist



    "The book provides a forensic and comprehensive examination of the key theory, frameworks and technical components central to the REBT approach, and an effective guide for those who wish to contribute to the growing application of REBT in sport and performance settings. In my professional lead role as an educator and trainer of Sport and Exercise Psychologists, the book represents an extremely valuable resource for those applied practitioners wishing to develop the knowledge and skills required to effectively use REBT in their service delivery with clients." 

    Dr. Martin Eubank , LJMU Professional Doctorate Programme Director and BPS Qualification Lead in Sport and Exercise Psychology



    "Learning to become a sport psychologist is like picking up shards of a smashed antique jug. As you discuss and grow with others in the field, you slowly piece it together to develop your practice. Learning REBT fully is like being the person who has the vase and uses it to pour out the wine of rational truth for your clients. Dr. Turner’s book is of immense value for his robust depth of knowledge on REBT. I would prefer for it to have existed when I began my career providing sport psychology to Olympians and Paralympians. Every day we accept reality and are undisturbed by it. Frequently though, things occur and we become disturbed. In sport we face failure, injury, setbacks, sometimes even death, amidst the harsh existence of life. It is within those most difficult of cases where the most robust and accessible approaches will prevail, and REBT serves these challenges well. In a field that promotes positivity and happiness as the end goal, REBT cuts through the nonsense to leave humans in control of their reality." 

    Hugh J. Gilmore, Sport Psychologist with British Weightlifting and British Athletics, Podium Psychology 



    "Martin Turner has achieved something special with this book. By combining his sophisticated understanding of REBT and the unique demands coming from the world of sports, he offers great insight and practical solutions that unlock optimal performance. Sport is a microcosm of life. We learn so much from participating in the game. Dr. Turner's ‘Rational Practitioner’ book helps all of us discover philosophies and applied answers that can help us navigate the complexities of life in addition to sport."

    Dr. Scott Goldman, Clinical and Sport Psychologist who has been embedded with multiple NFL, NBA, MLB, and NCAA teams



    "Sport culture has for too long propagated a host of incredibly unhelpful attitudes and perspectives around what it means to be an athlete and the inherent value of winning. So few coaches and others in supporting roles are conscious of the perspectives or beliefs that could be dramatically holding back their athletes. REBT is a powerful concept to bring into performance sport because it provides a solid foundational mindset, more closely aligned to the reality of any situation, from which athletes can build on and achieve their potential. Elite sport is crying out for a healthier approach; one that does not break down or burnout its participants so consistently. A more widespread understanding of the theory and practice of REBT would be a vital part of that healthier approach."

    Laurence Cassøe Halsted, Director of Mentoring, The True Athlete Project



    "As applied sport psychologists working within high performance environments, we are charged with deciding which approaches and frameworks we learn and utilise with clients. In ‘The Rational Practitioner’, Martin offers a comprehensive account of the REBT approach, and the GABCDE framework found within it, to working in performance settings. Martin links REBT with ideas and techniques common to sport psychology, helping REBT to be seen as a broad approach to working with clients, rather than a niche psychotherapy only for clinical usage. Alongside much theoretical detail, Martin offers many practical ideas and concepts for practitioners to use in their work, making the book useful for applied psychologists working in the real world."

    Rebecca Levett, Sport and Exercise Psychologist, Sporting Success

    "The comprehensive nature of the book, combining the theoretical and philosophical tenets of REBT, ensures that this volume will be a cornerstone of REBT literature."

    Stuart Carrington, idrottsforum.org