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  • Writer's pictureDeric Hollings

Meta Consequential

 

Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT) uses the ABC model to demonstrate how when an Activating event happens and we Believe something about the occurrence, our unhelpful assumption is what causes an unpleasant Consequence.

 

Generally, the result of unproductive attitudes about a situation takes the form of undesirable emotions (i.e., fear, anger, sorrow, disgust, etc.), uncomfortable bodily sensations (i.e., elevated heartrate, clinched jaw, etc.), and unamiable behavior (e.g., breaking objects).

 

To illustrate how a Belief-Consequence (B-C) connection and not an Action-Consequence (A-C) connection explains our reactions to unfortunate events, consider the following example:

 

While attending a public sporting event, someone deliberately bumps into you and says, “Watch where the fuck you’re going, asshole!” (Activating event) Although many people mistakenly think such an occurrence causes an unhelpful Consequence, REBT suggests otherwise.

 

Rather than an A-C connection, consider that when the Activating event happens you Believe, “People should apologize when bumping into me and they must not disrespect me, especially in front of other people!” Because the should, must, or ought-type demands you maintain have been violated, a Consequence results.

 

Forming a B-C connection, you disturb yourself into an angry disposition, your fists clinch as your heart races, and you deliver a barrage of punches to the face of the individual who bumped into you. Your emotive, sensory, and behavioral Consequence stems directly from your Belief about the Activating event.

 

As is often the case in life, our unhelpful reactions may cause new ABC events. Suppose that when physically assaulting the rude person you inadvertently knock out the individual.

 

The person falls to the ground and sustains head trauma, convulsing and activating the fencing response. Suddenly, the individual stops moving altogether. A bystander rushes over to assess the motionless body, feels for a pulse, and yells out, “There’s no heartbeat!”

 

You’ve just killed someone for having bumped into you and mouthed off, though the A-C connection isn’t what led to the unintentional homicide. The B-C connection created an entirely new event, one that would forever alter the course of your life.

 

 

Law enforcement responds to the incident and you’re taken into custody, creating an entirely new event. You’re then taken to a local jail and processed for detention. Next, someone in the community holding cell in which you’re placed recognizes you as the person who cut the individual off in traffic a week ago.

 

You’re then physically assaulted by the detainee and sustain head trauma of your own. On and on the consequence-creates-a-new-action series of events continues. What began with your self-disturbed B-C connection wound up linking an unfortunate chain of events.

 

The term “meta” may be defined as that which shows or suggests an explicit awareness of itself as an element of its category: cleverly self-referential. In the aforementioned ABC chain of events, an unhelpful belief led to a meta consequential outcome.

 

You may think it’s preposterous that a situation could escalate so quickly. You may even consider it absurd to suggest that you may be so easily influenced by your beliefs.

 

However, I’m not being intentionally hyperbolic. I’ve worked with incarcerated clients whose lives have similarly changed within a relatively short period of time. Not all of these people were habitual offenders.

 

It’s important to understand that there are consequences to the consequences stemming from our self-disturbing beliefs. Fortunately, meta consequential outcomes can be averted through disputation of irrational beliefs and by practice of unconditional acceptance.

 

Many of the clients with whom I once worked when serving a criminal justice diversion program expressed remorse for their actions. These people told me that they wished they’d known about REBT techniques before ending up in incarcerated settings.

 

There’s no need for you to follow a similar path. If you’d like to know more about how not to disturb yourself with the B-C connection, I’m here to help.

 

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:

 

Frothingham, S. (2023, February 20). What is fencing response and why does it happen? Healthline. Retrieved from https://www.healthline.com/health/fencing-response

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

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

Rocha, J. (2021, June 17). Billy Mays Mandela Effect debunked! (but wait there’s more) [Video]. YouTube. Retrieved from https://youtu.be/kyATAdzm_yk?si=Yo_SQRC1EbDhKl22

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