Handling Your Stress

Psychotherapists have many resources at their disposal for aiding clients to overcome
stress and connected issues. One of these tools is called rational-emotive
behavior therapy (REBT), which was known as rational-emotive therapy
(RET). This method of treatment was pioneered by Dr. Ellis quite a few years ago,
and today its principles and techniques operate in the more mature method
referred to as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT).

Dr. Ellis became a solid believer in the concept that an individual could help him
or herself get over the destructive thinking tendencies which directly determine
emotional responses such as stress. He developed what is now recognized as the ABC
model of psychotherapy.

A stands for Activating Event and is the exterior scenario or event that is
incorrectly believed to cause C, the emotional Consequence. That which stands between A
and C, however, is B, a belief. This belief can be either logical or
irrational, and Dr. Ellis believed that all negative emotional states are the
consequence of irrational beliefs at point B.

The ABC style of psychotherapy may rightly be called the ABCDE model of
therapy, since the model has two extra factors, D and E. D stands
for Disputation and refers to a conscious endeavor on the part of the individual toconfront and uproot the illogical beliefs at B which are inducing the
negative emotional consequences at C. This disputation subjects the irrational,
stress-causing beliefs to a controlled, logical, empirical, rational questioning questioning. If the individual succeeds in realizing and uprooting the
irrational beliefs which are triggering his or her current state of distress, the
result is E, the Effect. E is ideally cognitive, emotional, and behavioral –
cognitive in the sense that an irrational belief is superceded by a rational
belief; emotional in the sense that a negative emotion such as stress is
exchanged either by a beneficial emotion or by a milder negative emotion which is
more sensible; and behavioral in the sense that the person will not likely
react to comparable occasions in future with comparable irrational thinking.

There are various subtle variations that we have missed for the sake of
simplicity. Certainly one of these subtleties entails the vicious pattern that could result
when irrational beliefs and damaging emotional states have influence on
behaviour and perception, triggering all sorts of self-fulfilling prophecies.
In fact, perceptions, cognitions, emotions, and behaviors are highly
intermingled. An uncomplicated test of this fact can be witnessed if you attempt to
be unhappy whilst smiling, or downbeat while strolling at a rapid pace with your head
up high and your chest out.

An illustration will assist wrap the whole approach together and express how the
ABCDE model of psychotherapy can be utilized to deal with stress and other damaging

Let us suppose that you are late for work and that you are feeling
stressed out about the situation. The ABCDE breaks down as follows:

A – the Activating Event is that you are going to be late for work.
B – the irrational Belief we will examine below.
C – the emotional Consequence of B is that you are feeling stressed and highly anxious.

Let’s now move to Disputation. You can ask yourself “What is the irrational
belief that is making me feel this way?” Most probably, the belief will be along
the lines that you have to be prompt at all times and that it is
devastating when you are delayed. You can then ask yourself “Why is it
catastrophic if I am late?” “Because,” you may possibly answer, “I could get fired.” If
you desired to, you could keep inspecting this and ask yourself what would be
disastrous about being fired, and you could end up surprising yourself with
where such chronic questioning can take you. But let us assume that being
terminated would truly be the end of your world. You can still challenge the idea
that you would be fired for being late. Let’s be honest, most likely you have witnessed
other coworkers arrive late once in a while with total impunity. Probably even the
top dog is late ever so often.

Finally you may come to the understanding that being late isnt anything worth
stressing out over, and this rational conclusion would be supported by a
equivalent modification in emotional state. You could take charge of your doings
by devising means to guarantee that you arrive early to work the vast majority of
the time. You would now be at E, the Effect.

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