Academic journal article Journal of Evidence-Based Psychotherapies

Empirical Support for Self Kit: A Rational Emotive Education Program

Academic journal article Journal of Evidence-Based Psychotherapies

Empirical Support for Self Kit: A Rational Emotive Education Program

Article excerpt


A recent national screening study, focused on socio-emotional problems in children, revealed that in Romanian educational settings there is real need for psychological counselling programmes. Taking together the result from two experimental studies, the present paper offers empirical support for the efficiency of a newly developed rational emotive education program (SELF kit). In the first study, a 3x2 factorial design (intervention type X team expertise) was applied; working with preschool children (223), a 12 weeks intervention programme was implemented. The second study tested the efficiency o Self Kit program in primary school children: 94 pupils were implied in a 2X2 experimental design (intervention X assessment moment). The results from both studies revealed a real beneficial impact of SELF kit programme on children socio-emotional competences. Limits, future directions and implications are discussed.

Keywords: Self kit program, rational emotive education, socio-emotional problems in children


Recent studies have revealed a worldwide tendency with the present generation of children to exhibit more emotional problems than they used to have in the past (Durlak, Weissberg, Dymnicki, Taylor, & Schellinger, 2011). They are lonelier and more depressed, angrier and more unrestrained, more impulsive and aggressive, being significantly more inclined to be anxious in almost all competitive circumstances. Evidently, children with such manifestations represent a real challenge to parents and teachers.

In our national context, the results from a screening study showed that the prevalence of social and emotional problems in Romanian preschool and primary school children from families with low socio-economic status is relatively high (Buzgar, Dumulescu & Opre, 2013). The researchers found a significant shared variance between externalising problems, internalising problems and social problems, which means that there is a high probability for these problems to appear together in real settings. Also, the common variance can prove the fact that behind those categories of problems there are the same factors. As a matter of fact, from a cognitive point of view, the emotional problems are the results of a dysfunctional way of thinking. In children, the cognitive style interferes with goal-setting and achievement, with academic success and social interaction with classmates and teachers (Vernon & Bernard, 2006).

The long-term consequences on the school achievements and the social integration of these children are, themselves, increasingly more severe. The solution to all these problems is dependent on the extent to which parents and teachers regard children's education for life adequate and efficient. More exactly, it depends on the way in which early education and young-age schooling can prevent the onset of these dysfunctionalities. Unfortunately, we can see that the educational programmes ever more frequently leave children's emotional development to chance, unilaterally overemphasising their academic training. They are often deprived even of the bare minimum of emotional literacy, the educational system leaving them unprepared for confronting reality. This is why a new vision is necessary, regarding what kindergarten and, later, school can do to ensure a comprehensive development of children. More precisely, there is need for programmes which would target both academic and socio-emotional development, so as to ensure that children and young people are better adapted to the complexity of everyday existence. Therefore, we consider that implementing Rational Emotive and Behavioural preventive programmes in educational milieus can help children improve their cognitive style and adapt easily to life-threatening events. Such programmes have been developed and recognised since the 1970's under the name Rational Emotive Education (REE).

Based on the principles of the Albert Ellis rational emotive behavioural therapy (REBT), (Ellis, 1971), the rational emotive education programme (REE) (Knaus, 2004) proved to be an efficient way of working with children who showed internalisation or externalisation problems. …

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