The A-B-C-D-E Therapeutic Approach

A (Activating Event)
  • Therapists often divide activating events into two parts: 
         1)what happened and
         2)what the patient perceived happened.
  • Typically, therapists focus only on a few activating events at a time. 
  • Sometimes previous consequences (C) become activating events. 

C (Consequences)

  • Sometimes it is difficult for therapists to distinguish between consequences and beliefs. 
  • Consequences tend to be feelings such as “I feel so stressed out.”
  • Feelings cannot be disputed, but beliefs that bring about feelings can. 
  • Changing beliefs (B) can alter consequences (C). 

B (Beliefs)

  • Irrational or self-defeating beliefs, rather than self-helping beliefs, are the focus of therapy. 
  • Changing irrational beliefs can change consequences. 

D (Disputing)
  • Disputing irrational beliefs is the major therapeutic technique in REBT.

E (Effective)
  • The following transcript features a therapist using disputation techniques within the A-B-C-D-E model.  

    Applying the A-B-C-D-E concept
    For instance:

    A  (Activating Event)

    Fahmi feel that this semester such sorrow and dark, burden with many assignments, he feel could not achieve the good result in this semester

    B (Irrational believe)

    He so lazy, much waste time, not reading the books

    C (Emotional)


    D (Disputation)

    He must aware that examination just around the corner, study smart

    E (Effective believe replacing irrational)

    trying to get good result more better then past semester