I once did a workshop for an audience of counselors, teachers, and parents who wanted to learn how to use a rational-emotive education (REE) mental health program to help kids grow to healthy and happy adults. I started by citing 15 critical mental health skills. These included building perspective, a solid self-concept, and emotional resilience. I asked who learned these skills as children. Two raised their hands. Each picked up one or two these mental health concepts in school. I asked the group who would have wanted to learn these skills early on in life. All hands went up.

This omission is correctable.

Let's consider a way to teach psychological concepts that foster confident composure. Children and adults who experience confident composure are more able and willing to test their abilities and take  prudent risks associated  with positive opportunities.

With confident composure, you recognize that you can directly command only yourself, and you choose to do so. You don't demand that the world change for you, and you don't need it to. You believe that you can better influence the controllable events that take place around you. Your psychological resources are more available to defuse, finesse, or directly manage conflicts. You feel freer to empathize, socialize, and act ethically even when others take a different path. Your productive actions are driven by these positive ideas and motivations.

Kids and teens can learn to boost their sense of confident composure. However, the ingredients that go into this positive attitude don't come out of the blue. Rational emotive education (REE) lights a path to this end.

I designed, developed, and donated an evidence-based rational emotive education manual to the public. Anyone can download it at no cost and with no strings attached. You can follow it as you would a cookbook. You can scale it up or down for use from kindergarten level learning disabled children to residents of nursing homes. You can find the link at the end of this article.

Rational Emotive Education

REE is based on the premise that children can learn and benefit from learning and testing positive psychological concepts and that they can achieve higher levels of mental health as a result of this effort.

I designed the REE program as a simple to use program for classroom teachers, parents, and counselors who want to help children develop positive mental health skills. Practically any child or young teen can follow the series of REE lessons as they might follow a good recipe in a cookbook. The Mr. Head Game, for example, describes a systematic approach to help children develop meta-cognitive skill by tuning into how their thinking can affect their feelings and actions, and then how to substitute clear for harmful thinking. This is a formula for emotional control and resilience.

The REE program helps kids develop many worthy skills, such as reflective skills, frustration tolerance, and perspective. Participating in the program is also associated with higher school performances as well.

The following three links will get you to the free downloadable program, an article about the program that cites the research, and the members of the International Advisory Committee.: 1. The Rational Emotive Education Manual; 2. Rational Emotive Education: Past, Present & Future; 3. International Committee for the Advancement of REE.

This is an Albert Ellis Tribute Series blog. For more on this series, click on: Psychology Today Albert Ellis Tribute Blog Series 

Special to this blog, Reflections PhotoArt by Dale Jarvis, AreaOne Art & Design, Fayetteville NC.

 (c) Dr. Bill Knaus

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