The ABC Model of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
Aug 21, 2019
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, or CBT, is a common practice in reducing anxiety, depression and negative thought processes. CBT is short-term psychotherapy. This type of therapy requires the client to be an active participant in problem-solving.
Trained therapists work within the ABC model to help the client identify factors that trigger patterns of thinking that are behind destructive behavior. Therapy includes the activating event (A), beliefs about the event (B), and the consequences of those beliefs (C).
Typically, when a person is experiencing anxiety, there is an event that has occurred that prompted a high emotional response. Therapists will work with the client to identify what situation(s) precipitated an adverse reaction. Identifying activating events will help the client understand the patterns that incite stress.
The event in itself has no value until a person defines its meaning. Therefore, it is essential that the therapist and client work together to identify the client's belief about the activating event. For example, if being in an unknown situation triggers anxiety, it is crucial to understand what the client is telling themselves about the event. In many cases, the client might believe that everyone will turn and stare at them, and they will feel judged.
Consequences refer to the negative feelings and behavior that occur as a result of the thought process that is surrounding the event. For example, if a person is sure that they will be judged when walking into a room of unknown people, the consequence may be that they never make connections with people, or try things that may be beneficial.
For therapy to be most productive, it is helpful for the client to keep a journal that consists of three columns. These columns will describe the activating event, the negative thoughts surrounding that event, and the behavior and feelings associated with these thoughts.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is helpful in the treatment of most mental health concerns, such as depression, anxiety, PTSD, postpartum depression. Please contact us to get started on your road to recovery.