Rational Emotive Education (REE) is a psychological educational program offering a preventative psycho-educational curriculum to children in order to teach them emotional literacy skills. REE helps children by teaching them to challenge irrational thinking, to minimize their reactions to disappointment and frustrations, to cope more effectively with problems, and to more fully accept themselves. The efficacy of REE training for children and teachers was examined in a sample of 211 third grade students from nine different classes and 26 teachers. Each class was randomly assigned to one of three different groups, two experimental groups and a control group, each receiving different training. First objective of our study was to evaluate the efficacy of a REE training based on storytelling in changing children’s irrational beliefs. Second objective of our study was to observe the efficacy of a teachers’ training similar to that applied in REBT-focused school consultation groups in enhancing their self-efficacy. Results show an improved tendency in children to think rationally and an enhanced perception of self-efficacy in teachers for those groups that underwent the training compared to the control group. Our results suggest that REBT based trainings for children and teachers should be integrated into the classroom curriculum in order to prevent mental health problems and encourage positive social and emotional well-being.
This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.
Buy single article
Instant access to the full article PDF.
Price includes VAT for USA
Subscribe to journal
Immediate online access to all issues from 2019. Subscription will auto renew annually.
This is the net price. Taxes to be calculated in checkout.
Adomeh, I. O. C. (2006). Fostering emotional adjustment among Nigerian adolescents with rational emotive behaviour therapy. Educational Research Quarterly, 29, 21–29.
Antoniou, A. S., Polychroni, F., & Walters, B. (2000). Sources of stress and professional burnout of teachers of special educational needs in Greece. Paper presented at the International Special Education Congress, University of Manchester 24–28 July 2000. Retrieved March 09, 2007
Bermejo-Toro, L., & Prieto-Ursúa, M. (2006). Teachers’ irrational beliefs and their relationship to distress in the profession. Psychology in Spain, 10(1), 88–96.
Bernard, M. E. (2004). Emotional resilience in children: Implications for rational emotive education. Romanian Journal of Cognitive and Behavioral Psychotherapies, 4, 39–52.
Bernard, M. E. (2008). Albert Ellis and the world of children. Presented at the 43rd annual conference of the Australian Psychological Society, Hobart, Tasmania.
Bernard, M. E., & DiGiuseppe, R. (1994). Rational-emotive consultation in applied settings. Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.
Bernard, M. E., & Joyce, M. R. (1984). Rational-emotive therapy with children and adolescents: Theory, treatment strategies, preventative methods. New York: Wiley.
Blenkiron, P. (2011). Stories and analogies in cognitive behaviour therapy. New York: Wiley.
Brody, M. (1974). The effects of rational-emotive affective education on anxiety, self-esteem, and frustration tolerance. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, Temple University, Philadelphia.
Calvete, E., & Cardeñoso, O. (2005). Gender differences in cognitive vulnerability to depression and behavior problems in adolescents. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 33(2), 179–192.
Calvete, Z. E., & Villa, S. A. (1999). Estrés y burnout docente: influencia de variables cognitivas. Revista de Educación. Madrid, 319, 291–303.
Capel, S. A. (1992). Stress and burnout in teachers. European Journal of Teacher Education, 15, 197–211.
Caprara, G. V. (2001). La valutazione dell’autoefficacia. Costrutti e strumenti. Trento: Edizioni Erickson.
David, D., Szentagotai, A., Eva, K., & Macavei, B. (2005). A synopsis of rational-emotive behavior therapy (REBT); fundamental and applied research. Journal of Rational-Emotive & Cognitive-Behavior Therapy, 23(3), 175–221.
DeVoge, C. (1974). A behavioral approach to RET with children. Rational Living, 9, 23–26.
Di Pietro, M. (1992). L’educazione razionale-emotiva. per la prevenzione e il superamento del disagio psicologico. Trento: Edizioni Erickson.
Di Pietro, M., Morosini, P., & Agostini, G. (1999). L’Educazione Razionale-Emotiva nella scuola: uno studio controllato. Difficoltà di apprendimento, 5, 107–118.
Diekstra, R. F. W. (2008). Effectiveness of school-based social and emotional education programmes worldwide. Social and emotional education: An international analysis (pp. 255–312). Santender: Fundacion Marcelino Botin.
DiGiuseppe, R. (1975). The use of behavioral modification to establish rational self-statements in children. Rational Living, 10, 18–20.
DiGiuseppe, R., & Bernard, M. (1990). The application of rational-emotive theory and therapy to school-aged children. School Psychology Review, 19, 268–286.
Digiuseppe, R., & Bernard, M. E. (2006). REBT assessment and treatment with children. In A. Ellis & M. E. Bernard (Eds.), Rational emotive behavioral approaches to childhood disorders (pp. 85–114). Berlin: Springer.
DiGiuseppe, R., & Kassinove, H. (1976). Effects of a rational-emotive school mental health program on children’s emotional adjustment. Journal of Community Psychology, 4, 382–387.
Elias, M. J., Zins, J. E., Weissberg, R. P., Frey, K. S., Greenberg, M. T., Haynes, N. M., et al. (1997). Promoting social and emotional learning: Guidelines for educators. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.
Ellis, A. (1962). Reason and emotion in psychotherapy. New York: Stuart.
Ellis, A. (1972a). Emotional education in the classroom: The living school. Journal of Child Psychology, 1, 19–22.
Ellis, A. (1972b). The abc’s of rational-emotive therapy. New York: Institute for Rational Living.
Ellis, A. (1994). Reason and emotion in psychotherapy, revised and updated. Secaucus, NJ: Carol.
Ellis, A., & Bernard, M. E. (2006). Rational emotive behavioral approaches to childhood disorders. New York: Springer US.
Glicken, M. D. (1968). Rational counseling: A dynamic approach to children. Elementary School Guidance and Counseling, 2, 261–267.
Gonzalez, J. E., Nelson, J. R., Gutkin, T. B., Saunders, A., Galloway, A., & Shwery, C. S. (2004). Rational emotive therapy with children and adolescents a meta-analysis. Journal of Emotional and Behavioral Disorders, 12, 222–235.
Greenberg, M. T., Weissberg, R. P., O’Brien, M. U., Zins, J. E., Fredericks, L., Resnik, H., et al. (2003). Enhancing school-based prevention and youth development through coordinated social, emotional, and academic learning. American Psychologist, 58, 466–474.
Hajzler, D. J., & Bernard, M. E. (1991). A review of rational-emotive education outcome studies. School Psychology Quarterly, 6, 27–49.
Jerald, C. D. (2007). Believing and achieving (issue brief). Washington, DC: Center for Comprehensive School Reform and Improvement.
Katz, S. G. (1974). The effects of cognitive emotional education on locus of control and self concept. Doctoral dissertation, ProQuest Information & Learning.
Knaus, W. J. (Ed.). (1974a). Children’s survey of rational beliefs. In A manual for elementary school teachers. New York: Institute for Rational-Emotive Psychotherapy.
Knaus, W. J. (1974b). Rational-emotive education: A manual for elementary school teachers. New York: Institute for Rational-Emotive Psychotherapy.
Knaus, W. (1977a). Rational emotive education. Theory into Practice, 16, 251–255.
Knaus, W. J. (1977b). Rational-emotive education. In A. Ellis & R. Greiger (Eds.), Handbook of rational-emotive therapy. New York: Springer.
Knaus, W. J. (2004). Rational emotive education: Trends and directions. Romanian Journal of Cognitive and Behavioral Psychotherapies, 4, 9–22.
Knaus, W., & Bokor, S. (1975). The effect of rational-emotive education lessons on anxiety and self-concept in sixth grade students. Rational Living, 11, 25–28.
Knaus, W. J., & Haberstroh, N. B. (1993). A rational-emotive education program to help disruptive mentally retarded clients develop self-control. In W. Dryden & L. K. Hill (Eds.), Innovations in rational-emotive therapy. London: Sage Publications.
Knaus, W. J., & McKeever, C. (1977). Rational-emotive education with learning disabled children. Journal of Learning Disabilities, 10, 10–14.
Lafferty, J. C., Denneral, D., & Rettich, P. A. (1964). Creative school mental health programs. The National Elementary School Principal, 43, 28–35.
Lale, C. (2001). Symptoms of teacher stress in UK education, schools, and colleges. Retrieved January 15, 2002, from http://www.teacherstress.co.uk.
Mahfar, M., Aslan, A. S., Noah, S. M., Ahmad, J., & Jaafar, W. M. W. (2014). Effects of rational emotive education module on irrational beliefs and stress among fully residential school students in Malaysia. Procedia-Social and Behavioral Sciences, 114, 239–243.
Meichenbaum, D. (1977). Cognitive behaviour modification. Cognitive Behaviour Therapy, 6, 185–192.
Ndika, N. A., Olagbaiye, F., & Agiobu-Kemmer, I. (2008). Gender differences in irrational beliefs, self-efficacy and self-confidence of some Nigerian adolescents. Psychology and Education, 45(1), 24.
Parker, T. S., & Wampler, K. S. (2006). Changing emotion: The use of therapeutic storytelling. Journal of Marital and Family Therapy, 32(2), 155–166.
Payton, J., Weissberg, R. P., Durlak, J. A., Dymnicki, A. B., Taylor, R. D., Schellinger, K. B., & Pachan, M. (2008). The positive impact of social and emotional learning for kindergarten to eighth-grade students: Findings from three scientific reviews. Technical report. Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (NJ1).
Pomerantz, K. A. (2006). Helping children explore their emotional and social worlds through therapeutic stories. Educational and Child Psychology, 24(1), 46.
Rosenbaum, T., McMurray, N. E., & Campbell, I. M. (1991). The effects of rational emotive education on locus of control, rationality and anxiety in primary school children. Australian Journal of Education, 35, 187–200.
Rudow, B. (1999). Stress and burnout in the teaching profession: European studies, issues, and research perspectives. In A. M. Huberman (Ed.), Understanding and preventing teacher burnout: A sourcebook of international research and practice (pp. 38–58). New York: Cambridge University Press.
Skaalvik, E. M., & Skaalvik, S. (2007). Dimensions of teacher self-efficacy and relations with strain factors, perceived collective teacher efficacy, and teacher burnout. Journal of Educational Psychology, 99(3), 611.
Skaalvik, E. M., & Skaalvik, S. (2010). Teacher self-efficacy and teacher burnout: A study of relations. Teaching and Teacher Education, 26, 1059–1069.
Trip, S., Vernon, A., & McMahon, J. (2007). Effectiveness of rational-emotive education: A quantitative meta-analytical study. Journal of Cognitive & Behavioral Psychotherapies, 7(1):81–93.
Verità, R. (2000). Con la testa tra le favole. Trento: Edizioni Erickson.
Verità, R., & De Marzi, S. (2006). Pensieri favolosi. Come trasformare le emozioni negative in emozioni positive. Trento: Edizioni Erickson.
Walen, S. R., DiGiuseppe, R., & Dryden, W. (1992). A practitioner’s guide to rational-emotive therapy (2nd ed.). New York, NY: Oxford University Press.
Warren, J. M. (2010). The impact of rational emotive behavior therapy on teacher efficacy and student achievement. Journal of School Counseling, 8(11). https://eric.ed.gov/?id=EJ885064
Warren, J. M. (2013). School counselor consultation: Teachers’ experiences with rational emotive behavior therapy. Journal of Rational-Emotive & Cognitive-Behavior Therapy, 31, 1–15.
Warren, J. M., & Dowden, A. R. (2012). Elementary school teachers’ beliefs and emotions: Implications for school counselors and counselor educators. Journal of School Counseling, 10(19). https://eric.ed.gov/?id=EJ981200.
Warren, J. M., & Gerler, E. R. (2013). Effects of cognitive behavioral consultation on irrational and efficacy beliefs of elementary school teachers. The Professional Counselor, 3, 6–15.
Watter, N. D. (1988). Rational-emotive education: A review of the literature. Journal of Rational-Emotive & Cognitive-Behavior Therapy, 6, 139–145.
Weissberg, R. P., Kumpfer, K., & Seligman, M. E. P. (2003). Prevention that works for children and youth: An introduction. American Psychologist, 58, 425–432.
Wilson, D. B., Gottfredson, D. C., & Najaka, S. S. (2001). School-based prevention of problem behaviors: A meta-analysis. Journal of Quantitative Criminology, 17, 247–272.
Zins, J. E., & Elias, M. J. (2006). Social and emotional learning. In G. G. Bear & K. M. Minke (Eds.), Children’s needs III: Development, prevention, and intervention (pp. 1–13). Bethesda, MD: National Association of School Psychologists.
Zins, J. E., Weissberg, R. P., Wang, M. C., & Walberg, H. J. (Eds.). (2004). Building academic success on social and emotional learning: What does the research say?. New York: Teachers College Press.
We thank Peter A. Mattei, MD, PhD, and Alicia Cervantes for assistance with English proofreading.
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
About this article
Cite this article
Caruso, C., Angelone, L., Abbate, E. et al. Effects of a REBT Based Training on Children and Teachers in Primary School. J Rat-Emo Cognitive-Behav Ther 36, 1–14 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10942-017-0270-6
- Rational Emotive Education
- Primary school