Friday, February 8, 2019

The A,B,C's of Life

Our therapy base is called Cognitive/Behavioral Therapy and is modeled after Albert Ellis, the father of Rational Emotive Behavioral Therapy.

The outline of this therapy is :

A = Activating event,  Something going on in the world around us.

B = Belief about the "something going on in the world around us".

C = The consequence  Our emotions about what we (B) believe concerning (A) the Activating event in the world around us.

For example:
I wake up in the morning and it is raining (the A). I am angry at the rain (the C) because I wanted to go on a picnic and it shouldn't be raining (the B).

Our emotions, (in this case anger) the C, are always controlled by the A (It is raining) and the B (It should not be raining).

The key to this is all in the (B) Belief. When I make a strong demand on something (It shouldn't rain) then my EGO system (self protection/self evaluation) checks to see if this demand is being met by using the senses (I see it is raining, I hear the rain, I smell rain, etc.) When the EGO system discovers the demand (it shouldn't be raining) is not being met, it automatically assumes we are out of control and goes into fight (anger) or flight (depression, anxiety,guilt, etc) in order to protect us from the unfulfilled demand (B).

To keep healthy emotions, we have to be very conscious of what demands we are placing on the world around us (It should not rain; They must like me; They should be smarter; I must never make a mistake, etc.).

To avoid unhealthy emotions (the C) we need to consciously not put strong demands (the B) on the world around us. If we change our demands (should, must, have to) to preference (wish, like, prefer) then we will not be trying to control the world and not setting off the EGO system into fight or flight emotions.

Preference example:
I see it is raining (A). I wish (B) (a preference not demand) it wasn't raining because I wanted to go on a picnic today. The rain is (C) disappointing, but maybe I will just go to a movie and have fun there.

To live a more peaceful and joyful life, put preferences on the world around you and try not to make strong demands on things you cannot control. 

In reality, in this world, we do not have control over anything accept for our own emotions. We may think we are controlling things, but any situation can change rapidly.

Remember the outline:

A. The Activating event which we see, feel, think, or experience.

B. What I Believe about this event. I can not control or change it so I will not put demands on it such as should or must, but will use preferences like wish, prefer, like, etc.

C. The consequence of what I believe, (disappointed, sad, concerned, etc. but not angry, depressed, anxious, etc,)

If you want to study this in more depth, We have a book on Amazon called Inner Space which goes into detail on how to walk in a peaceful and content journey of life. (click here for more information)

Thoughts for the Journey of Life

Over the last years, as a couple and as practicing therapists, we watched our journey take many different detours and adjustments, but as a couple we have tenaciously held on to our journey plan of loving each other and making the best of what we experienced.

The new book is a compilation of some thoughts and exercises from our journey, which we anticipate may help others as a roadmap or a GPS to keep them on course in order to reach their destinations.

For more information on how to order our book (click here).

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