The CBT ABCDE Model

The initial model in CBT was only ABC created by Albert Ellis. Since then the model has been expanded to incorporate the disputation of the belief and then the implementing of a new belief. The next time a similar event or situation occurs we will be using the new belief we installed from the previous event. 

In a CBT session with a therapist you will have the opportunity unpack and discuss the model in more detail. This is only a taster of what the model is.

abcde_model

Summary of the ABCDE Model

A – Activating Event – What happened, What is stressing me out?  What emotions am I feeling? What did I do? What did others do? What ideas are occurring to me?

B – Belief – What is my Negative self-talk? What distorted or irrational thinking style am I using? What negative belief am I clinging onto? What interpretations am I making?

C – Consequence – What am I feeling? Am I feeling anger, depression, anxiety, frustration, self pity?What is my behaviour as a result of my beliefs??

D – Dispute – Counter thought. What realistic grounding statement can I use instead? Is there an alternative way of thinking here that is reality based? In what way is my belief helpful or unhelpful?

E – Effective new belief – What helpful/self-enhancing new belief can I use to replace each self-defeating or dysfunctional belief? What are my new feelings?

CBT In Practice

Below is a simple example of what the process looks like. It does take practice and commitment to make the change. This is where your therapist is invaluable to get you kick started on making the change that will empower you.

Before CBT

A Activating event – The employee makes a mistake

BBelief – the manager thinks they are a failure and not good at anything. They accept this uncritically

CConsequence – The employee feels awful about the mistake and about themselves as a person, thinks I am no good leads to depressive symptom making it harder to try again.

After CBT

AActivating event – The employee makes a mistake

B – Belief – the manager thinks they are a failure and not good at anything. They accept this uncritically

C – Consequence – The employee feels awful about the mistake and about themselves as a person but remembers that they are now empowered to question their Cognitive distortions.

D – Disputation – The employee questions their thoughts. Tell themselves that everyone makes mistakes and that one mistake does not make them worthless or that they are not good at anything.

E – New Effective belief – The employee accepts that we all make mistakes and replaces the negative thoughts with positive thoughts. They commit to learning from this mistake and trying again in the future.


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