Understanding The ABC of Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy

Updated: Sep 20, 2019


We have all be in that situation where we have a million and one things to do and feel completely overwhelmed by our to-do list. But, why is it that some can power through that list even in the face of being overwhelmed while others become overwhelmed by anxiety and hopelessness?

There are many schools of thought that believe that it is these negative events that create our reactions. But, this is not the truth it is our belief systems and our interpretations of our past experiences that create this reaction. This doesn't mean that we need to blame ourselves; quite the opposite we need to be loving and gentle with ourselves as we are exploring the connection to this emotional reaction.

Cognitive-Behavioural therapy, which is the gold standard of counselling and making a change, believes this reaction is closely linked to our thoughts and beliefs of self and adversity. It becomes essential for us to explore the link between our beliefs of adversity to be able to make that necessary change.

Dr Albert Ellis, the creator of the ABC Model, believed that the change is related to breaking the cycle of these thought, emotions and behaviours.

The ABC Model

A= Adversity – The event, situation, trigger

B= Belief/thought

C = the consequence i.e. behaviour.

A = this is the triggering event, i.e. having lots of work

B= is how we interpret the trigger - our thoughts or belief related to it, i.e. thinking that the task is unmanageable and too overwhelming. Which in turn creates an emotional response, i.e. feelings of anxiety.

C = our behaviour, i.e. procrastinating.

In counselling we aim to explore and challenge this cycle with the hopes of identifying different thought patterns which in turn creates different emotional responses and different behaviours that are more in alignment with you, you want to be.

Want to know more? Why not book an online appointment with Made 4 U counselling at

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