Conference 2017

AREBT Conference, 3rd March, 2017

Presenters & Abstracts

‘Untying the Gordian Knot’  The enigma of medically unexplained symptoms.

John Blackburn and Holly Drobac

The presentation covers a definition of medically unexplained symptoms, the importance of a rounded biological, psychological and social assessment and ‘To treat or not to treat’: the implications for management.

The purpose is to explore the difficulties of managing medically unexplained pain in a healthcare setting. We will look at the following aspects;

1. What are medically unexplained symptoms with a focus on pain
2. Importance of a rounded bio/psycho/social assessment
3. To treat or not to treat, implications for management
Particular focus will be given to the limitations of trying to manage these conditions without an integrated health and social care system and the impact this can have on the patient, the therapist and on the healthcare system.

Fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, M.E., Functional Neurological Syndrome, IBS, and others  are medical diagnoses that are difficult for patients to come to terms with and for clinicians to treat successfully. This presentation may not provide the answers but demonstrate the questions that need to be asked.


John Blackburn

John Blackburn is Senior Behaviour Therapist, as the Pain Management Unit Montagu Hospital, Doncaster and Bassetlaw Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.  John is also a Fellow of AREBT.  He has an MSc in REBT from Goldsmiths, University of London.  Previously he was a Senior Behaviour Therapist at Specialist Psychotherapy Services at Sheffield Care Trust.

Holly Drobac

Holly is Senior Physiotherapy Practitioner Head of Pain Managements Programme at Mexborough Montagu Hospital, Doncaster and Bassetlaw Hospitals Foundation Trust.  Holly has a BSc in Physiotherapy from Northumbria University and has worked in the Pain Management Unit at Mexborough Montagu Hospital for the last 5 years.

The Application of REBT Within Sport and Exercise: Key Developments.

Dr. Martin James Turner, PhD

 In recent years, the reported application of REBT within sport and exercise has grown in research literature. Broadly, the evidence-base indicates that REBT is received well in sport and exercise settings, and that irrational beliefs can be reduced, alongside emotional outcomes (e.g., anxiety).  But in a recent review by the presenter, the importance of a greater understanding of irrational beliefs and how they relate to the well-being and mental health of athletes was expressed. This presentation explores the recent developments in this applied research area, detailing new studies that examine the relationships between irrational performance beliefs and outcomes such as anxiety, anger, depression, burnout, and self-determined motivation. The presentation also discusses recent applied studies in football, triathlon, gym, golf, and other sports. Data is examined and key findings are contextualised within both the REBT and sport and exercise literatures. From the recent research, pertinent theoretical issues will be raised and a critical approach to the research to date will be taken. Applied issues stemming from the presenter’s consultancy experience within sport and exercise will also be covered, exploring the integration of REBT into high performance environments.


Dr Martin Turner

Dr. Martin James Turner is a senior lecturer, researcher, published author, and consultant psychologist (CPyshcol, HCPC Reg, CSci), specialising in human performance under pressure and adversity. He is known mostly for his work examining the use of Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy (REBT) within performance settings. Martin works with elite sporting, blue-chip business, and public sector organisations, helping people to become more resilient to adversity, and take control of their reactions to pressure. Martin is currently Lead Psychologist with England Futsal. His most recent publication is “ Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT), irrational and rational beliefs, and the mental health of athletes” published in Frontiers: Movement Science and Sport Psychology.

How can neuroscience inform CBT and REBT practice for the benefit of clients?

Dr Gisele Dias PhD CPsychol

Abstract: Every cognitive, emotional and behavioural response have a correlate in the brain. In the same way, changing the way we think, feel and act also promotes change at the neural level. It is therefore paramount that the practice of cognitive-behavioural and rational emotive behavioural therapists is informed by neuroscientific knowledge. This knowledge can be used to broaden the understanding of patients of how psychotherapy influences the brain thus bringing hope to clients that change is possible. In this paper, we will explore well-established concepts derived from the neural sciences as to how the brain works and what goes wrong when people suffer from mental disorders. Of special interest, the brain’s remarkable ability to change in the face of internal and external stimuli – a characteristic known as neuroplasticity – will be examined. Finally, we will discuss how CBT and REBT can be thought of as neuroplasticity inducers in the light of rigorous studies showing neural changes in response to psychotherapy in the context of neuropsychiatric conditions such as depression and anxiety disorders.


Dr Gisele Dias PhD CPsychol

Dr Gisele Dias PhD CPsychol is a neuroscientist, Chartered Psychologist and cognitive-behavioural therapist and coach. She is Honorary Research Director of the Centre for Neuroscience (London, UK), Director of the Coaching Psychology Unit and member of the Translational Neurobiology Unit at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil), where she also conducts research on CBT as part of the Integrative Unit for the Research of Cognitive-Behavioural Psychotherapies (NIPPACC). Dr Dias has received CBT training/supervision from the Formation and Applied Psychology Centre in Rio de Janeiro. During her PhD and postdoctoral period at UFRJ and King’s College London, Dr Dias has studied important aspects of neural plasticity having published several original and review articles in both psychology and neuroscience journals.

Integrating CBT and REBT in the Treatment of Postnatal Depression

Denise Christy

This mini-skills workshop follows on from the presentation of Denise’s research on postnatal depression at the last AREBT conference. The workshop will look at how you can work effectively with the most commonly held demanding beliefs, triggered in the postnatal period. Denise will also emphasise the importance of behavioural work in helping mothers to recover from postnatal depression.

Accreditation Workshop

Denise Christy

As Accreditation Director of the AREBT, Denise will guide you through the accreditation process, and help you to deal with any ‘low frustration tolerance’ you may experience throughout this process.  All key areas of accreditation will be covered including the completion of a KSA portfolio for those applicants without a core profession.


Denise Christy

Denise Christy is the Accreditation Director of the AREBT. She has an MSc in REBT from Goldsmiths, University of London, and a BACP Accredited Diploma in Counselling.  She has a special interest in working with postnatal depression and with parents suffering from stress.   Before moving into private practice, she worked for over 10 years in the NHS, first a as a counsellor in primary care and later as the Joint Clinical Lead of a South London IAPT service. She has experience of joint working with Children’s Centres to help increase access to cognitive behavioural therapy and counselling for parents of young children.

Rational Behaviour Therapy and Beyond. A tribute to Dr Maxie Clarence Maultsby, Jr.

Prof Stephen Palmer PhD CPsychol CBiol CSci FAREBT

This is a conference tribute lecture and mini-skills workshop dedicated to Dr Maxie Maultsby who passed away on 28th August, 2016. Dr Maultsby developed Rational Behaviour Therapy (RBT), Rational Self-Counselling and a range of techniques including the well-known Rational Emotive Imagery which is still used within REBT. In many ways, RBT was ahead of its time and unlike many forms of psychotherapy, it is underpinned and informed by neurophysiology and neuropsychology. Maultsby’s contribution to psychotherapy and counselling will be covered and there will be an opportunity to practise in pairs/triads a number of RBT techniques developed by him.


Prof Stephen Palmer PhD CPsychol CBiol CSci FAREBT

Stephen Palmer is a Chartered Biologist, Chartered Scientist and Chartered Psychologist. He is President and Honorary Fellow of the International Stress Management Association, President of the International Society for Coaching Psychology, and Vice President of the Institute for Health Promotion and Education, former President and Honorary Fellow of the Association for Coaching. He has written/edited over 50 books including Stress Counselling: A Rational Emotive Behavioural Approach (Springer),  Brief Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (Sage), Handbook of Counselling (Routledge), Handbook of Coaching Psychology (Routledge), and The Beginner’s Guide to Counselling and Psychotherapy (Routledge).  His other posts include being visiting Professor of Work Based Learning and Stress Management at the Institute of Work Based Learning, Middlesex University; Adjunct Professor of Coaching Psychology at the Coaching Psychology Research Unit, Department of Communication and Psychology, Aalborg University, Denmark; Director of the Coaching Psychology Unit, City University London; Honorary Director of the Coaching Psychology Unit at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ), Brazil; BABCP London Branch Co-chair; BABCP Compassion SIG Co-chair (2015-2016); and a Vice President, Fellow and Founder Director of the Society for Dialectical Behaviour Therapy; Fellow and Vice-Chair of AREBT. He supervises PhD and DPsych doctorate students at City University London. His interests include stress, resilience, wellbeing and the application of psychotherapy and coaching to enhance wellbeing.


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