REBT is a talking therapy which is based on a model, simply called ABC. REBT is used to treat people with a wide range of mental health problems such as depression, anxiety, eating disorders, ADHD, addictions etc.
“A” is for Activating Event which means that it is the thing/ event that is happening that is causing the disturbance. This could be a relationship problem, financial difficulties, issues at work, depression or anxiety. It is often an objective situation, an event that leads to an intense emotional response, usually a negative emotional response.
“B” is for Beliefs or Basic Assumptions. This means that this is usually our perspectives and thoughts on the matter (A) causing the emotional response. To illustrate, the following:Two little boys are playing in the shallow water on the beach. The next moment they hear a load roaring noise, only to look back and see this massive two-story high wave storming in their direction. They both get a fright. The first boy looks at this wave and thinks he is going to drown. He starts to panic. Fear paralyzed him. The second boy looks at the wave which scares him. He thinks to himself that it is a scary wave, but if I start swimming now, maybe I’ll be able to body-surf the wave back to the beach – which he does! The difference between the two kids are their perspectives or thoughts (beliefs) about the wave.
“C” refers to emotional Consequences as well as physical consequences which may be headaches, stomach aches, tenseness in the neck and shoulders, poor appetite, poor sleeping habits, lack of energy, poor attention and concentration, loss of interest, shakiness, shortness of breath etc.
When intense emotional responses are triggered there are usually uncommon or negative thought patterns. These are called irrational Beliefs/ Basic assumptions (iB). These iB’s results in negative consequences (emotional and/ or physical).
Through therapy these iB’s are addressed and changed to rational Beliefs or rational thinking patterns.