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Rational emotive behavior therapy (REBT; Ellis, 1957) is a psychotherapeutic approach receiving increasing interest within sport. REBT is focused on identifying, disputing, and replacing irrational beliefs (IBs) with rational beliefs (RBs) to promote emotional well-being and goal achievement. This study provides a detailed case outlining the application and effect of seven one-to-one REBT sessions with an elite level archer who was experiencing performance-related anxiety, before and during competition. The case also offers an insight into common misconceptions, challenges, and guidance for those who may consider applying REBT within their practice. Data revealed meaningful short and long-term (6-months) reductions in IBs and improvements in RBs, self-efficacy, perception of control and archery performance. The case supports the effective application of REBT as an intervention with athletic performers, promoting lasting changes in an athlete’s ability to manage their cognitions, emotions and behaviors in the pursuit of performance excellence.
The authors are with the Centre for Sport, Health and Exercise Research, Staffordshire University, Stoke-On-Trent, Staffordshire, UK.