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  • Writer's pictureDeric Hollings

Challenging the B-C Paradigm

 

One of the fundamental techniques used in Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT) is practice of the ABC model—not merely the existence of the model, though actual employment of it as a means to get better. It serves as a mechanism of hope through choice.

 

To understand its aspirational aims, consider what the model posits. When an undesirable Activating event occurs and a person uses an unhelpful Belief about the matter, it’s the person’s assumption and not the event itself that produces an unpleasant Consequence.

 

The outcomes of one’s self-disturbing assumptions present in the form of unfavorable emotions, uncomfortable bodily sensations, and unproductive behaviors. These reactions are directly a result of the Belief-Consequence (B-C) connection.

 

However, some individuals challenge the B-C paradigm by rigidly attaching to the belief that an Action-Consequence (A-C) connection better explains why people experience disturbance or suffering. That is to suggest that when an event occurs, it’s the situation that results in anguish.

 

Regarding this matter, page 78 of The REBT Therapist’s Pocket Companion invites REBT practitioners to use the elegant solution technique for those people who insist on irrationally believing in the A-C connection. Here’s how it works.

 

Rather than disputing a client’s assumption about the B-C paradigm, I can be charitable to the proposition by playing the matter through with the individual. Therefore, I would suppose it’s true that the A-C connection is what causes unpleasant outcomes.

 

To give the client’s argument as much credit as possible, I may suppose that whatever issue is brought to session is—at least for the individual client—as serious as the Holocaust was for those directly and indirectly involved with the atrocious event. Then what?

 

If one’s childhood trauma from many years ago (Action) is what causes the client’s unpleasant mood, bodily sensations, and behavior today (Consequence), would one be willing to concede that there’s a difference between the origin and maintenance of consequential distress?

 

Although a Holocaust or child abuse survivor experienced horrific maltreatment in the past (origin), must that event cause unnecessary suffering in this moment (maintenance)? If so, what is the purpose of attending therapy when the past cannot be erased?

 

Where is the hope involved with one’s A-C paradigm? Are the client and I doomed to simply throw our hands up and concede that the origin event was so awful that an individual may never recover from its effects?

 

If so, there is no rational point for advocating maintenance of emotional problems. Granting this self-disturbing premise, the client and I may as well acknowledge that we promote despair rather than hope. Am I to say, “I’m sorry to hear that happened to you, though I thank you for sharing your story” and move on to my next client of the day?

 

I argue to the contrary. Even if the A-C connection is at play and the past adverse event caused disturbed emotions, sensations, and behavior, it is the client in this moment that actively keeps the disturbance relevant.

 

Use of irrational beliefs in the here-and-now about an undesirable event of yesteryear keeps the person held captive. This is true of a Holocaust survivor, a person who endured childhood abuse, and any other individual who challenges the B-C paradigm.

 

In this way, and although people may not have chosen to endure hardship in the past, individuals often actively choose to self-disturb in the present about matters over which they once had so little control or influence. Adding a fine point to this topic, page 79 of The REBT Therapist’s Pocket Companion quotes purported Holocaust survivor Viktor Frankl:

 

We who lived in concentration camps can remember the men who walked through the huts comforting others, giving away their last piece of bread. They may have been small in number, but they offer sufficient proof that everything can be taken away from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms – to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.

 

Using the elegant solution and granting the premise of an A-C connection, one still has a choice to suffer by use of self-disturbing beliefs, commit suicide after having chosen despair over hope, or practice unconditional acceptance as a means of getting better despite adversity. I prefer hope.

 

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:

 

Bushkin, H., van Niekerk, R., and Stroud, L. (2021, August 31). Searching for meaning in chaos: Viktor Frankl’s story. Europe’s Journal of Psychology. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8763215/

Dredze, J. (2017). The elegance of an elegant solution. The Albert Ellis Institution. Retrieved from https://albertellis.org/2017/11/the-elegance-of-an-elegant-solution/

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. (2022, November 18). Big T, little t. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/big-t-little-t

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

Hollings, D. (2022, May 17). Circle of concern. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/circle-of-concern

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. (2024, January 4). Rigid vs. rigorous. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/rigid-vs-rigorous

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

Hollings, D. (2022, October 7). Should, must, and ought. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/should-must-and-ought

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 15). To don a hat. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/to-don-a-hat

Hollings, D. (2022, July 11). Unconditional acceptance. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/unconditional-acceptance

Wikipedia. (n.d.). The Holocaust. Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Holocaust

Wikipedia. (n.d.). Viktor Frankl. Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Viktor_Frankl

Yanil 2309. (2024, March 3). Prisoner in gulag run from the gard highly detailed face [Image]. Playground. Retrieved from https://playgroundai.com/post/prisoner-in-gulag-run-from-the-gard--highly-detailed-face-i-cltbl10j907mls601ljh63bii

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