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William J. Knaus, Ed.D.

Rational Emotive Education (REE) is a preventive-interventional mental health program through which children and adolescents can learn positive rational mental health concepts and the skills to apply these concepts. It was developed by Dr. William J. Knaus, an internationally prominent authority in the areas of education and mental health, for use in educational settings.

REE is a program that can be used by teachers in both classroom settings and smaller groups. It can be used with children/adolescents from grades two through high school, with some modifications, depending on the age of the students.

The Rational Emotive Education Program provides not only a clear and empirically based rationale, but also provides detailed demonstrations of how to teach the use of positive rational mental health concepts in everyday life. The program is generally divided into three sections which are as follows:

  1. Rational Emotive Education background information for the teacher, along with basic classroom techniques;

  2. Lessons and activities which deal with specific important rational-emotive concepts: lessons on feelings (that feelings and thoughts are intertwined, that feelings of inferiority, anxiety, anger, blame, and other irrational emotions and assumptions can be challenged and reduced); lessons about mistake-making (that mistake-making is part of the human condition and the learning process, that mistake-making does not render one a worthless human being, that people can be tolerated and excused for their mistake-making tendencies); and lessons that deal with challenging (that by questioning irrational assumptions, one develops greater self-understanding, more positive self-concepts, problem-solving techniques, and critical thinking skills that can lead to a more responsible and self-enhancing existence);

  3. Special activities aimed at reducing some of the common classroom behavioral problems, such as prejudice, stereotyping, bullying, and irresponsibility.

The series of REE lessons and related activities assist children in learning to reduce negative reactions to disappointments and frustrations, teaches them to cope more effectively with problems stimulated by outside events, and helps them to more fully accept themselves by learning and applying a systematic approach that enables them to challenge their own irrational assumptions.

Introducing Rational Emotive Education
Into Your School System

Dr. William Knaus and The Academy have recently been collaborating to develop an REE program that school systems can introduce and integrate into their regular classroom curricula. This program usually involves on-site training by Dr. Knaus and/or one of his colleagues, as well as on-going support and assistance via the Internet and telephone conferences.

An excellent idea of the content of the REE program may be obtained by reviewing Dr. Knaus’s pioneering publication entitled Rational Emotive Education: A Manual for Elementary School Teachers. Originally published in 1974, this book contains clear instructions as to how REE can be incorporated into the regular classroom, as well as numerous examples regarding how the basic concepts of REE can be used to effectively reduce the frequency and intensity of a wide variety of emotional and behavioral difficulties.

Introductory REE Workshops

One way to learn about Rational Emotive Education and to assist in determining whether REE might be a program that would be helpful within a particular school system is to schedule a one or two day introductory workshop lead by Dr. Knaus. These introductory workshops present and discuss the basic concepts of REE and demonstrate specific REE lessons that can be introduced into the regular classrooms. There is virtually no limit to the number of individuals who can attend these introductory REE workshops other than any limitations imposed by the size of the available space.

Information regarding Dr. Knaus’s introductory Rational Emotive Education Workshops may be obtained by contacting The Academy at Info@IABMCP.org.

Rational Emotive Education:
A Manual for Elementary School Teachers

By William J. Knaus, Ed.D.

One excellent way to assist in determining if Rational Emotive Education would appear to be a “good fit” for introducing into your school system is to review Dr. Knaus’s pioneering work entitled Rational Emotive Education: A Manual for Educating School Teachers. In order to assist interested educators in making the determination as to how helpful and effective REE might be, a free download of this publication is available here.

It is to be noted that there are many updated REE and related informational materials that have been developed since the publication of the original manual. Many of these materials focus upon how to make REE lessons more effective, as well as how to use REE concepts and techniques to focus even more directly on specific problem areas. However, the original manual which may be downloaded on this site remains an excellent comprehensive source for exploring the basic concepts of Rational Emotive Education and how they can be effectively integrated into almost any educational setting.

New REE Materials

Many of the newer rational emotive education materials, not found in the current manual which may be downloaded above, are available in the form of handouts and short articles. Brief descriptions of some of these materials are available upon request by e-mailing The Academy at Info@IABMCP.org.

It is anticipated that within the next year there will be available a new updated Rational Emotive Education Manual that will incorporate many of these new REE materials, as well as additional REE lessons for use in the classroom and detailed information regarding the use of REE in effectively dealing with specific problems.

Certification as a Rational Emotive Teacher

Home Study Course Soon to Be Introduced

In collaboration with The Academy, Dr. Knaus will soon be making available a home study program leading to certification as a “Rational Emotive Teacher”. This is a 15-hour home study course that comes with a manual and a series of online tests which must be completed. Two written case studies, as well as a final telephone conversation with Dr. Knaus, are generally required.

With the introduction of this new Rational Emotive Teacher home study course, educators anywhere in the world can be trained in the use of Rational Emotive Education in the classroom as long as they have access to the Internet.

Information regarding other requirements for certification as a Rational Emotive Teacher, as well as procedures and costs, may be obtained by contacting The Academy at Info@IABMCP.org.

About Dr. William J. Knaus

Dr. William J. Knaus is a licensed psychologist in the state of Massachusetts where he maintains a private practice. In addition, he is an IABMCP Diplomate in Professional Psychotherapy, Professional Counseling, and Professional Coaching, and also serves on The Academy’s Professional Advisory Council. Dr. Knaus received his doctoral degree from the University of Tennessee following which he completed a two year post-doctoral fellowship in cognitive processes and educational psychotherapy at Teachers College, Columbia University.

In addition to his pioneering work in the area of Rational Emotive Education (REE), Dr. Knaus has a great deal of expertise in the area of cognitive behavior therapy in general, and in the area of rational emotive behavior therapy in particular. He was one of the original directors of post-graduate training at the Institute for the Advanced Study in Rational Emotive Psychotherapy (currently the Albert Ellis Institute) in New York City and has many years of university teaching experience and clinical supervision.

Dr. Knaus has authored more than 20 books and numerous articles in the professional journals, dealing with a wide range of topics including anxiety, depression, procrastination, blame and children’s mental health. A list of Dr. Knaus’s publications is available upon request by e-mailing The Academy at Info@IABMCP.org.

REE Faculty

Dr. Knaus maintains a staff of seasoned professionals who provide assistance in the delivery of on-site REE programs. Such staff members are quite familiar with the basic concepts of cognitive/behavior therapy and with the use of REE concepts to help children and adolescents minimize emotional distress. Two such individuals are Dr. Maxie Maultsby and Dr. Marilyn G. Simon.

Maxie C. Maultsby, MD, IABMCP — developer of Rational Behavior Therapy (RBT), a short term therapy producing long term results; currently in private practice, Alexandria, Virginia; formerly Professor of Psychiatry, University of Kentucky Medical Center and Howard University; author of numerous books and publications dealing with how to effectively cope with emotional and behavioral difficulties.

Marilyn G. Simon, Ph.D, IABMCP — private practice, New York; over 20 years of experience as a school psychologist working with children and adolescents; extensive experience in using the concepts of REE in educational settings and in training teachers in how to use them; pioneer in the area of professional coaching, helping high functioning individuals to enhance their personal growth and to reach their full potential.

School systems submitting requests for REE Training Programs should indicate how many educators that they would like to be trained initially. With sufficient notice Dr. Knaus can usually assemble whatever size REE faculty that might be needed to effectively deliver whatever size REE training programs that might be requested. Quite often school systems may want to consider smaller pilot programs before introducing the REE program on a larger scale.


Individuals who have any questions regarding Rational Emotive Education or who would like additional information are invited to submit their requests to The Academy at Info@IABMCP.org.

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