Thursday, 18 December 2014

Mental Health REBT Broccoli and Brussell Sprouts

'Broccoli is horrible it really sucks!' exclaimed the year 7 student. 'No it doesn't,' said another. I like it!' A quick survey of the class indicated that most didn't like broccoli however a few did. Similarly with brussell sprouts but fewer still liked them.

Substitute 'broccoli' with 'maths' or 'school' and you can do the same excercise and get similar results. Of course students will like or dislike whatever it is they like or dislike but the object of their approval or disapproval isn't the cause of this i.e. it's more about what they think about broccoli. Broccoli is just broccoli and isn't good or bad unless of course you believe it is! Same for maths, school, gerbils and elderberries. 

This is what REBT teaches students and if this is true then perhaps we can change how we feel about things if we change how we think about them. This is the mission of Rational Emotive Behaviour Education (REBE). Based on Albert Ellis' Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy REBE introduces to children his ABC Theory of Emotional Disturbance. This helps students understand that the thing or happening in question isn't entirely responsible for how he/she feels and acts i.e. that what happens (A) exclusively makes feelings and behaviours (C-emotional and behvaioural consequence). What he/she believes (B) plus the happening or thing (A) makes the actions and feelings experienced (C) i.e A+B=C!

So things like broccoli and brussell sprouts are neither good or bad unless you think they are. It would be helpful for students to reflect on the type of thinking which apportions blame exclusively to other things/events outside of the self e.g. 'it makes me mad when I have to pack up.' Better to rethink and ask ourselves 'what is happening that I believe shouldn't be happening? What am I getting that I don't want? ' Is 'it' making me angy or am I making me angry?' 

Broccoli and brussell sprouts - food for thought!



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