Cognitive – Behavioural Therapy (CBT)

ABC technique

“Through reframing unhelpful mindsets, we can find better perspectives that change behaviour, thereby making us feel emotionally in balance.”

Cognitive- Behavioural therapy (CBT) focuses on recognising and identifying the unhealthy thoughts which are underlying causes of negative emotions as well as maladaptive behaviours. Simply said, CBT can help us become more aware of our unhealthy and self-destructive thought processes which influence our emotions and actions. Since we cannot feel greater than what we think, first we must focus on altering unhelpful mindset in order to change our emotional state.

From a scientific standpoint; According to Joe Dispenza, by a thought alone (or a memory), you can activate a biochemical reaction in your brain causing the release of certain chemical signals. These chemical signals make your body feel the same way you’ve been thinking- you generate thoughts similar to how you’re feeling. As he states “thoughts are the vocabulary of the brain and feelings are the vocabulary of the body”.

In other words, when you keep thinking the same thoughts over and over again, you fire and wire the same circuits in your brain- meaning it become easier to automatically feel the same emotions. Then those emotions influence the behaviour choices you are going to demonstrate. Therefore, by frequent repetition of the same thoughts and behaviours, your emotional state of being will be the same.

By using the ABC technique you can identify and recognise these unhealthy thoughts which are underlying causes of negative emotions as well as maladaptive behaviours. The ABC model is a basic CBT technique which was created by Dr. Albert Ellis. It’s a framework that allows you to notice automatic distorted thoughts in a structured manner on paper which cause you to feel and behave in a certain way.

Here’s what each letter stands for:

A – stands for ‘activating event’. It can be an internal event (e.g. memory, mental image, thought or a dream) or external event. They could be referred as ‘Triggers’- anything that triggers you to feel or behave in a certain way. The triggers may vary from person to person. To name a few; bullying, traumatic events, financial difficulties, some social events.

B – stands for your ‘beliefs’ about the event. It involves both obvious and underlying thoughts about situations, yourself, and others – meaning our beliefs that we assess and interpret triggers (how we view the event).

C – stands for ‘consequences’, which includes your behavioural, emotional and psychological (physical) responses.

Key Findings (takeaways):

The ABC Model worksheet can be used to recognise the triggers by monitoring environmental (e.g. location, company, time of day, visual & auditory stimuli) and internal circumstances (e.g. emotions, body states, thoughts, memories) which helps you to prevent displaying unwanted (certain) behaviours.

Once you get the skill under your belt, you’ll be able to recognize other potential beliefs (B) about adverse events (A). Over time, this allows you to display healthier consequences (C) and helps you move forward for good.

References:

Barry, H. (2021). Emotional Healing: How to Put Yourself Back Together Again. Pegasus Books.

Dispenza, J. D. (2019). Becoming Supernatural: How Common People Are Doing the Uncommon (Illustrated ed.). Hay House Inc.

Nunez, K. (2020, April 17). What Is the ABC Model in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy? Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/health/abc-model