If you enjoyed the triune brain model, you will probably enjoy the A-B-C-D-E model as well.

I first learned about this model from Candeo Can, although they only called it A-B-C-D model. I later saw E added at various Internet resources, and thought that it fits well with our practice.

A-B-C-D-E Stands for:

  • A – Activating Event
  • B – Belief
  • C – Consequence
  • D – Dispute
  • E – Exercise and Evaluate

Essentially, this model is used to help us understand how our subconscious brain works.

A,B,C are completely automated processes, and take place without us ever being consciously aware of them.

© by Jim Epler

For example, let’s say you noticed somebody laughing, while looking in your direction. All of a sudden, you feel anger or concern that something is wrong with you.

What took place here was

A – Activating Event – People Laughing

B – Belief – If somebody is laughing, they probably are laughing at me

C – Consequence – Feeling of anger or concern

Like I said, these 3 steps are automated, and we have no control over them. We do, however, have control over what happens next.

D – Dispute (or Debate) – we can look at our automated belief, and resulting consequence, and dispute it. In our example above, we can notice that people were laughing at something else. Or even if they were laughing at us, we can remember that their opinions are irrelevant, and will not have any effect on our future.

E – Exercise – If we dispute our old belief once, it will make us feel better for that moment, but it will not replace our automated belief. In order to learn a new belief and make it part of our automated response, we need to PRACTICE it.

Let’s look at another example related to porn addiction. Let’s say you find yourself alone with a computer, and

alone in the dark

you suddenly feel strong excitement. You can step back and identify the following.

A – Activating Event – Being alone with computer

B – Belief – “There is so much exciting stuff to see there”

C – Consequence – A strong sense of excitement and desire

D – Dispute – The “exciting stuff” is actually a poison to my brain. It has caused nothing but pain and harm in my life. It was designed to keep me hooked and coming back for more. If I walk away, I will feel free and I will be proud of myself.

E – Exercise – That is where tools like ERP become so important. They provide us with a systematic approach to changing our negative beliefs to our positive ones.

Did you do your ERP practice today? Did you make sure to follow up with an act of self care?

A-B-C-D-E model plays a huge role in helping us overcome our addiction. As you will find out in your near future, there is probably a large number of false beliefs reinforced throughout your life that keep you trapped in your addiction.

In the next chapter, I am going to share some of my personal beliefs that kept me trapped.

I encourage you to pay attention to your own feelings and emotions for the rest of the day. Whenever you notice yourself experiencing an emotion or a feeling, try to step back and identify the A-B-C’s involved.

I hope you will find this exercise useful!

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