October 2022

A Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT) intervention to improve low frustration tolerance in an elite table tennis player

Gangyan Si and Chun-Qing Zhang. Chapter · May 2018 DOI: 10.4324/9781315541808-11

Betsy Tuffrey – Sport & Exercise Psychologist – Director – Seed Psychology Ltd.

A solo effort this month, with my esteemed colleague, Sarah Murray, busy with some exciting projects.

And no prizes for guessing who selected this month’s piece!  

With a heavy interest in REBT, I chose this paper specifically to read more in-depth about Low Frustration Tolerance (LFT).  I have to say, it wasn’t as specific as I had originally hoped, but still an enjoyable insight into a case-study using REBT methods.

I thought a key statement of the paper related to intentional acceptable of adversity.  In my own experiences, utilising REBT concepts and methods with athletes offers a tangible route towards dealing with adversity – rather than a route away from adversity as we can commonly experience in sport psych intervention.  I’ve often thought of REBT as a functional therapy, and this paper further reinforced this idea for me.  Rehearsed statements by the case-study athlete served as functional reminders of newly formed beliefs – a practical step in encouraging the athlete to give up on irrational beliefs.

What did interest me in this piece was the focus on social support, and the pivotal inclusion of the coach in this particular case.  I have often thought of my REBT work with athletes as a very private experience, and so this idea of coach involvement got me thinking about my own practice.  I work closely with coaches, but rarely as a direct part of an REBT intervention, so this is very much food for thought.

The paper does seem to infer that trust is an important facet of REBT, which I’m not convinced about.  I think good REBT intervention can exist without previous rapport or trust.

Overall a nice insight into an REBT intervention.