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  • Writer's pictureDeric Hollings

Do Something About It


There’s a scene in the 2009 film Mother and Child that stood out to me when watching it and thinking about how I approach the practice of Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT) in both my personal and professional life.


A new mother (Ada) appears distraught during one of her infant daughter’s crying episodes. Ada’s mom (Lucy) arrives to the home and is able to calm the child, putting the infant in another room to rest.


When Lucy informs Ada that the child is asleep, the following dialogue unfolds:


Ada: It won’t last.


Lucy: Maybe not. Let’s wait and see.


Ada: Mama, what am I gonna do? I can’t do this.


Lucy: It’ll pass.


Ada: I don’t love her.


Lucy: [laughter] Yes you do. It’s lack of sleep, girl. You’re not yourself.


Ada: She’s like this thing—she’s this creature in my bed and I’m so angry at her.


Lucy: For what?


Ada: For taking over everything. Day and night, it’s ‘me, me, me.’ It’s ‘feed me and clean me and hold me’—and I do, and she just cries anyway. Who the fuck does she think she is!?


Lucy: Well, I’ll be goddamned. Do you think you’re the first woman that ever had a baby? What the hell did you think this was gon’ be? Stop all that goddamned whining, grow the fuck up, and get your act together. Be the mother!


Ada’s insistence, “I can’t do this,” represents low frustration tolerance (LFT)—emotional dysregulation associated with one’s capacity to endure unexpected events. From an REBT perspective, LFT is associated with an irrational belief that causes unpleasant emotions and behaviors.


When Ada disturbs herself by believing she can’t tolerate distress associated with her daughter’s crying it’s as though she has literally convinced herself that the crying event is unbearable. It isn’t merely unpleasant or a bit too much for Ada, it’s believed to be impossible to handle.


Because of this unreasonable belief, Ada’s reaction manifests in anger (emotion) and declaring that she doesn’t love her daughter (behavior). This occurrence is effectively illustrated using the ABC Model:


Action – Ada is unable to console her crying daughter, as Ada becomes sleep-deprived.


Belief – Ada then convinces herself, “I can’t do this.”


Consequence – As a result of this unhelpful belief, Ada becomes angry and states that she doesn’t love her daughter.


The utility of the ABC Model doesn’t cease once the A, B, and C are identified. In the film, Lucy employs the use of Disputation in order to promote an Effective new belief.


Briefly, Lucy asks questions as a means to cause Ada to think critically about the LFT belief. Then, Lucy issues a challenge to Ada in reference to whining.


In my professional life, I typically wouldn’t use demandingness with a client, as indicated by Lucy’s “grow the fuck up” or “get your act together” statements. Still, I’m all for this form of motivation in my personal life.


One major objective of REBT is to persuade a person to change unproductive beliefs in order to impact the consequences of one’s assumptions about oneself, others, and the world. All within a matter of moments, Mother and Child demonstrated how this is accomplished.


In REBT, the Action and the Consequence aren’t Disputed. The event has likely already transpired, is beyond our control, or we probably cannot alter a course of action in the first place.


Moreover, challenging emotions or behaviors may not be of much help, because these elements are a reaction to our unfavorable assumptions. Therefore, Disputing our unhelpful Beliefs is the purpose of the ABC Model.


How might this psychotherapeutic approach serve your interests and goals? Will you allow unaccommodating LFT narratives the ability to stress you out, or will you do something about it?


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, 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:


Enriquez, A. (2021, October 25). Q. How does fair use work for book covers, album covers, and movie posters? Penn State. Retrieved from https://psu.libanswers.com/faq/336502

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

Hollings, D. (2022, August 28). Change ur beliefs. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/change-ur-beliefs

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

Hollings, D. (2023, May 15). Cognitive reframing. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/cognitive-reframing

Hollings, D. (2022, October 31). Demandingness. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/demandingness

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

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. (2022, December 2). Low frustration tolerance. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/low-frustration-tolerance

Hollings, D. (2023, March 25). Question everything. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/question-everything

Hollings, D. (2022, March 25). 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. (2023, July 10). Speaking truth to whining. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/speaking-truth-to-whining

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

Hollings, D. (2023, February 16). Tna. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/tna

IMDb. (n.d.). Mother and Child [Image]. Retrieved from https://www.imdb.com/title/tt1121977/

Wikipedia. (n.d.). Mother and Child (2009 film). Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mother_and_Child_(2009_film)

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