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  • Writer's pictureDeric Hollings

Activation

 

“Activation” may be defined as the action or process of making something active or operative. Here, “action” may be defined as a thing done or an act.

 

In Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT), an action or “activating event” is the initial occurrence within an ABC model chain of events. For example, when driving on a highway, someone speeds past client X, cuts her off, and then slams on the breaks in front of her.

 

Unlike the naturalistic world, in which there are action-consequence connections, REBT maintains that from a psychological perspective people disturb themselves with a belief-consequence connection. Herein, I’m focused on activation which begins this events chain.

 

Per pages 93 and 94 of The REBT Therapist’s Pocket Companion, REBT practitioners are invited to encourage clients to be succinct and specific when describing activating events. Although a verbose description isn’t necessary when discussing an action, detail about what element in particular a client considers most meaningful can be helpful.

 

For instance, if client X states, “When that idiot cut me off on the highway, I had my child in the car and we were both in danger from how that person was driving,” I’m able to infer that client X’s belief which led to the consequence of fear was enhanced by the presence of a child.

 

When suspicious of an inference of this sort, I ask clients to detail what succinct piece of information regarding the activation process is worth discussing in our limited time in a session. In REBT, this concise element is known as the critical A (action).

 

Page 95 of The REBT Therapist’s Pocket Companion encourages REBT practitioners not to be “too compulsive” in the search for a critical A. This is because the activating event – and even the consequences of an unhelpful assumption – isn’t as impactful as the unproductive belief an individual uses.

 

As well, page 96 of The REBT Therapist’s Pocket Companion invites REBT practitioners not to become too fixated on theoretical versus “emotionally laden” critical A’s. As an example, client X and I wouldn’t spend excessive time exploring hypotheses about the other motorist’s behavior.

 

Rather, the element of an activation with which client X is most disturbed is what we’d process in our sessions. The takeaway lesson herein relates to one’s personal perspective about an unfortunate action, so that disputation of one’s irrational beliefs about the event may target the appropriate content worth processing.

 

If you’re looking for a provider who works to help you understand how thinking impacts physical, mental, emotional, and behavioral elements of your life—helping you to sharpen your critical thinking skills, I invite you to reach out today by using the contact widget on my website.

 

As a psychotherapist, I’m pleased to help people with an assortment of issues ranging from anger (hostility, rage, and aggression) to relational issues, adjustment matters, trauma experience, justice involvement, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, anxiety and depression, and other mood or personality-related matters.

 

At Hollings Therapy, LLC, serving all of Texas, I aim to treat clients with dignity and respect while offering a multi-lensed approach to the practice of psychotherapy and life coaching. My mission includes: Prioritizing the cognitive and emotive needs of clients, an overall reduction in client suffering, and supporting sustainable growth for the clients I serve. Rather than simply helping you to feel better, I want to help you get better!

 

 

Deric Hollings, LPC, LCSW


 

References:

 

Carter, J. (2024, February 28). Girl noise and the car going at full speed on the highway […] [Image]. Playground. Retrieved from https://playground.com/post/-girl-noise-and-the-car-going-at-full-speed-on-the-highway-a-clt5jxx1m05dfs6017l3dgf7w

Dryden, W. and Neenan, M. (2003). The REBT Therapist’s Pocket Companion. Albert Ellis Institute. ISBN 0-917476-26-3. Library of Congress Control Number: 20031044378

Hollings, D. (2024, March 23). AC/BC. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/ac-bc

Hollings, D. (n.d.). Blog – Categories: Disputation. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/blog/categories/disputation

Hollings, D. (2022, March 15). Disclaimer. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/disclaimer

Hollings, D. (2023, September 8). Fair use. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/fair-use

Hollings, D. (2023, October 12). Get better. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/get-better

Hollings, D. (n.d.). Hollings Therapy, LLC [Official website]. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/

Hollings, D. (2023, May 18). Irrational beliefs. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/irrational-beliefs

Hollings, D. (2023, September 19). Life coaching. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/life-coaching

Hollings, D. (2022, March 24). Rational emotive behavior therapy (REBT). Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/rational-emotive-behavior-therapy-rebt

Hollings, D. (2022, November 1). Self-disturbance. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/self-disturbance

Hollings, D. (2022, November 9). The ABC model. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/the-abc-model

Hollings, D. (2022, December 23). The A-C connection. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/the-a-c-connection

Hollings, D. (2022, December 25). The B-C connection. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/the-b-c-connection

Hollings, D. (2022, November 2). The critical A. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/the-critical-a

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