2.5 Demonstrate your understanding of the ABCDEF, indicating how you would apply it in counselling.
The ‘ABC framework’ was created by Albert Ellis in the 1950’s and is mainly used by counsellors who use Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy (REBT) or Rational Emotive Therapy (RET). It is also used by some Cognitive or Cognitive Behavioural therapists. ABCDEF are acronyms for the sequential method of working through these types of brief psychotherapies. The ABC method of working with people can be used in a whole range of circumstances but better suits those people who are willing to consistently work on changing their irrational beliefs and who can cope with having their beliefs challenged (Mulhauser 2006). The ABCDEF method is a useful means of ‘explaining emotional response and distress’ (Benner & Hill 1999, p. 1002) or ‘to illustrate the role of thinking processes in emotional disturbances (Walen, DiGiuseppe & Wessler 1980, p. 13).
In the initial stages of using the ABC framework the counsellor takes on an ‘active-directive approach’ while also teaching the skills of the therapy to the client (Walker, Burnham & Borland 1994, p. 872). The acronym ‘A’ stands for the Activating event which can be either external or internal to the client. ‘B’ is the Beliefs (either rigid or flexible beliefs), that are held by the person. Rigid beliefs are usually made up of words such as should, must and absolutes and are called irrational (or unhealthy) beliefs. Flexible beliefs are named rational (or healthy) beliefs. In the ABC framework the ‘C’ describes the emotional and behavioural consequences of the beliefs about A. ‘D’ is the point where the counsellor will Dispute the unhealthy beliefs. These beliefs can be quite overt and the person may be clearly aware that they hold them, or they may be hidden below the surface and have to be exposed by the counsellor (Walen et al 1980, p. 13). The client will be taught this process as well and in time will be able to...
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